Waikouaiti School - 29/10/2018

School Context

Waikouaiti School is a rural school which provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. There are 96 students on the roll. Students learn in four multilevel classes. Since the last ERO review in 2015, a new principal has been appointed and there have been some staff changes.

The vision for Waikouaiti School is ‘Kia tiakina te taiao, kia atawhaitia tētahi ki tētahi’ (together we will treat each other and our environment with care and respect) ‘mā runga i tō tātou hīkoi whai mātauranga mutunga kore’ (in our journey as lifelong learners). The school values are matatutanga (personal excellence), manaakitangata (care and respect), tūtikatanga (responsibility) and mohiotanga (resourcefulness). To support these valued outcomes, the school’s current strategic goals centre on students learning from a full, balanced and responsive curriculum, preparing them to be lifelong learners.

The principal regularly reports to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • student engagement including attendance

  • student wellbeing

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • accelerated progress for those students who had not reached curriculum level expectations.

The new principal and board have addressed all the recommendations in the 2015 ERO report.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Waikouaiti School is working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all its students. Over the past three years, there has been an upward trend in achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. At the end of 2017, around 80% of children achieved at or above the school’s expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Students’ achievement in mathematics and reading is higher than for writing.

Historically, boys and Māori students have not achieved as well as other students. Disparity for Māori students and for boys in writing and reading remains. There has been a significant improvement in achievement for Māori in mathematics addressing previous disparity.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

Waikouaiti School is accelerating the progress for students who need extra support with their learning. At the end of 2017, of the thirteen students who needed extra support to succeed in writing, the school had effectively accelerated the progress of three. Of the fourteen students who needed support in reading, five made accelerated progress, and of the seven that needed support in mathematics, two made accelerated progress. All others needing extra support made expected progress.

The board currently receives progress reports for students targeted to have their learning accelerated. These reports can be improved by including specific targets for Māori students, and consideration given to setting targets for other groups of students whose learning needs acceleration. More useful and detailed actions plans that show what the school will do to achieve these targets will help ensure they are met.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students are highly engaged and learn in a caring and inclusive school environment. They are positive about the school and learn in tuakana-teina (more confident students supporting students who are not as confident) and ako (where the learner is sometimes the teacher and the teacher is sometimes the learner) relationships. Leaders, teachers and the board work well together to create a positive learning environment.

Students are very well supported in their learning. The strengths and needs of students are clearly identified, and deliberate teaching strategies and adaptation of programmes ensure that students’ learning needs are met. Learning for students is at the right pace and at the appropriate level of challenge. All focus-group students are carefully tracked and effectively monitored. Teachers work closely with experienced teacher aides to best support children.

Waikouaiti School has developed and is continuing to develop a responsive and integrated curriculum. There has been an intentional and research-informed shift towards more student-driven learning, and a more coherent pathway, from early childhood education through to play-based (junior school) to inquiry-based (senior school) learning. The curriculum makes good use of the local environment and authentic contexts to engage students. It could be strengthened further by the meaningful inclusion of te ao Māori.

The principal and teachers are reflective and improvement focussed and have the learning of students at the centre of what they do. Teachers work collaboratively as a team and with the principal. Individual teachers inquire into how they can best support learners who are at risk, and students needing extension. Teachers now have a robust and improvement-focus appraisal process and are better supported in their professional development.

Leadership at Waikouaiti School has effectively managed significant change within, and beyond the school. This has included rebuilding a positive culture and relationships within the school and between the school and the community. There is now better communication between the school and home, and there is more involvement of parents in school and their children’s learning. Staff feel valued and well supported. The principal ensures the board are well informed.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school has identified and ERO agrees, that the board, principal and teachers need to:

  • further refine strategic and annual plans to better reflect current priorities

  • continue to review their curriculum approaches and guidelines

  • build board and staff understanding of effective internal evaluation.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • finance

  • asset management.

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)

  • physical safety of students

  • teacher registration and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • caring, respectful relationships between teachers and students

  • the provision of a broad curriculum

  • gathering and responding to student voice.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • internal evaluation

  • strategic planning

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning

  • strengthening te ao Māori and the use of te reo Māori in day-to-day learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

29 October 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 49

Girls: 47

Ethnic composition

Māori: 9

Pākehā 77

Other: 10

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

29 October 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: October 2015

Education Review: April 2012

Education Review: March 2011