Waikaretu School - 04/06/2013

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Waikaretu School is located in an isolated west coast setting in North Waikato. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8, and currently has 13 students enrolled, of whom 10 are identified as Māori.

The school has two classrooms, a community space and school library. Parents and community members contribute to working bees that developed a nature area, vegetable gardens, murals and made improvements to the rugby fields. The community and board provide additional funding to support learning programmes, and also for the school bus. Children come mostly from sheep stations, and from two local marae, Pukerewa and Weraroa. These marae are closely associated with the school, and there is a strong affinity between school and community.

Waikaretu School belongs to the Huntly West cluster group of schools. Children meet for sporting, cultural and learning activities, and teachers meet for professional learning. In 2013, the cluster focus is te ao, te reo, and tikanga Māori, and students will also join in celebrations at Turangawaewae in September. The principal has been involved in professional development as a first time principal, and staff have also engaged in professional learning about mathematics.

The 2010 ERO review identified a need to encourage students to be more involved in their learning. Students are now being strongly encouraged to take responsibility for their learning, and to contribute to the culture of respect that is highly valued in the school.

There have been changes in governance and leadership since the last ERO review. The current board, principal, and staff bring relevant knowledge and wide experience to their roles. They work together to realise the school vision of ‘striving for excellence, to challenge and support our students to be the best they can be: Ki te taki, ki te tautoko i o tātou tamariki, kia tae raatou ki o raatou nā paingia.’

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school makes very good use of achievement information to promote children’s learning. The principal uses this information to identify school targets and priorities for improvement, monitor student progress throughout the year, and adjust teaching programmes in response to diverse learning needs. The vast majority of students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading and writing, and a clear majority are achieving at or above the National Standards in mathematics.

Māori students are progressing well and achieve similarly to other students. Students with additional learning needs are progressing appropriately according to their individual needs. Students make good progress as they move through the school.

Student achievement information is reported to the board of trustees, and used to assist their decision making about learning resources. Currently a skilled teacher aide is employed to deliver focused literacy programmes. Parents receive useful reports about their children’s progress and achievement which include suggestions for supporting learning at home.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Each student experiences a programme that is tuned to their specific development and learning. Students are highly motivated, settle quickly to their individual tasks, know what they are expected to achieve and take pride in their work. They can talk about their learning and next steps. During group times, they show interest and respond by sharing and discussing ideas with each other and the teacher. Older children support and provide leadership for younger children.

The school curriculum has been developed in consultation with parents, and recognises the context of the school and the resources of the community. It is aligned to the vision, principles, and values of The New Zealand Curriculum. The principal has developed statements to guide teaching and learning in most curriculum areas. The next step is to develop similar guidelines for the remaining areas, which are taught in a more theme-based approach. It would also be useful to review how key skills and attitudes for life-long learning are included in school programmes.

Teachers engage in professional learning and development that supports their knowledge of teaching theory and practice, and promotes effective teaching. Their knowledge of the students, and strong partnerships with parents, is evident in practice. Teachers’ high-quality teaching is responsive to parent aspirations and students’ individual learning characteristics. Students are motivated by the wide variety of learning opportunities that are offered in and beyond the classroom, and take interest in exploring and researching the ideas they encounter. The local community and cluster schools are a rich resource that expands and supports learning programmes.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Teachers include programme perspectives that reflect the experiences and identity of Māori students and the bicultural nature of New Zealand society. Te reo Māori is included incidentally in the programme. The school has visited the local marae, and students are being involved in welcoming visitors using a simply structured powhiri that respects Māori protocol. Parents of Māori students appreciate the information they receive about their children’s learning, and are pleased with their progress.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to improve its performance. Contributing factors are:

  • the thoughtful commitment of trustees, who are focused on school improvement in the best interest of students
  • strong, professional, high-quality leadership by the principal
  • a focus on effective self review that guides decision making and monitors school operation in terms of successful outcomes for students
  • the influence of relationships among the board, staff and community, which promote an inclusive, welcoming and distinctive school culture.

The school community is well engaged in supporting success for their Māori students. It is important that te reo and tikanga Māori, together with Māori values and priorities, continue to be a priority for inclusion in the life of the school.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

4 June 2013

About the School


North Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 7 Boys 6

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

4 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

May 2006