Waimate Centennial School - 17/02/2017

1 Context

Waimate Centennial is a Year 1-6 school with a growing roll. A new principal was appointed in 2015 and two new teachers in 2016. Otherwise there has been little staff change. The board consists of new and experienced trustees.

Since 2013 the school has been involved in several Ministry of Education (MOE) initiatives. Recently it joined with local schools to form the Waimate Community of Learning. Along with two other schools, it has employed a Community Liaison Officer to build closer relationships with families in order to better support children's learning. Since the 2013 ERO review, the junior school has been modernised, creating flexible learning areas.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that they become confident, connected and lifelong learners. The school's values are about children having respect for themselves, others, property and the environment.

The school’s achievement information shows that from 2013 to 2015 between 80 - 85% of children achieved at or above the National Standards. Māori achievement through this time was similar to their peers. Boys are achieving slightly lower than girls in reading and writing.

Considerable work has been undertaken to assist teachers make well-informed judgements about children's progress and achievement in literacy and mathematics. Teachers use a wide range of assessment practices and tools. To confirm judgements, teachers consult with each other, specialist teachers and/or school leaders.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:


  • been part of a MOE initiative to increase children's engagement in their learning and build a positive school culture
  • been part of two MOE initiatives to lift student achievement in literacy and mathematics
  • improved staff appraisal so that it focuses more on making a difference for at-risk learners
  • introduced several models to help teachers reflect more deeply on the effectiveness of their work with children
  • adapted approaches to teaching and learning in the junior school.


The school has made good progress against the recommendations in the 2013 ERO report.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has effective practices to support Māori children who need extra support to succeed in literacy and mathematics. 

There are good systems in place to identify, support and monitor children whose learning requires acceleration. Support has occurred within and out of class. A small group of Māori children received intensive reading and numeracy support as part of the MOE interventions. About half have made accelerated progress as a result of this.

Leaders have implemented deliberate strategies to empower all teachers to make a difference for children whose learning is at risk. Strategies include:

  • teachers meeting regularly to discuss particular children and how best to support them
  • teachers inquiring more deeply into the effectiveness of their actions in lifting achievement
  • teachers taking 'best practice' ideas from the MOE intervention and making these expected classroom practice.

Recent school achievement information shows that the number of Māori children needing extra help to succeed has increased. The school needs to set a target to lift the achievement of these children and plan specific actions to achieve this target.

The principal talks individually with parents of Māori children about how the school can best support their child. The next step is to document parents' ideas about how the school can best support their children. Planned actions should be shared with the board and with Māori parents.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school effectively supports other groups of children whose achievement need acceleration. The systems to identify, support and monitor Māori children's progress and achievement, and positive initiatives listed above, apply to all children whose progress and achievement is at risk.

As a result of professional development and staff discussion, teachers have taken specific steps to better engage boys in their learning and lift the literacy achievement of boys. Some have made accelerated progress as a result.

Children who shift schools during the school year continue to be identified as needing additional help. A specific procedure as to how to best support new arrivals is necessary.

Processes for setting targets and reporting on progress and achievement to the board need to be improved. To ensure in-school disparities in achievement are addressed, leaders need to:

  • set more specific targets to lift the achievement of at children whose learning is at risk
  • improve the quality and frequency of reporting on progress towards meeting these targets
  • provide more timely and useful reports on school-wide progress towards meeting the National Standards.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are effectively supporting children's learning. Leaders and teachers are focussed on eliminating disparity and are responding to individuals and groups who are not achieving as well as their peers.

The school has a supportive learning culture. Leaders and teachers have built an inclusive and caring environment and provide strong pastoral care for children. Children learn in settled classrooms, where the school's values are evident. They enjoy a wide range of learning experiences within and beyond the school. New entrants are well supported in their transition to school.

Children have increasing choice and opportunities to take responsibility in their learning. They play an active role in reporting to their parents on their progress, achievement and next learning steps. Leaders have identified strengthening children's involvement and responsibility in the learning process as an ongoing priority.

School leaders and ERO have identified that the school needs to further review and update its curriculum guidelines. These need to better reflect the school's current priorities for learning, desired approaches and expected learning progressions. Provision of Māori culture and language for all children needs to be strengthened. This includes exploring how to best support Māori children to stand proud as Māori.

School leaders have used a variety of worthwhile practices to build teachers' professional capability. Initiatives include targeted professional development and a strengthened appraisal process. Developments are focused on making a difference for children's learning.

The principal is intentionally building a culture of reflection, evaluation and collaboration. The outcomes of different evaluations are increasingly informing improvement in the school. A range of perspectives is sought. To strengthen these developments, leaders need to ensure that evaluation:

  • is manageable (less but better)
  • shows deeper analysis of class, school-wide and other data
  • aligns with what the school sees as most important (i.e. its strategic priorities and vision for children's learning).

The board is focused on raising children's achievement and providing the best for them. They make well-considered resourcing and strategic decisions. After wide consultation they and school leaders have reviewed the school's charter and strategic plan. This plan could be further simplified so that it focuses more on key priorities. This will help make developments manageable and well aligned.

The board, principal and ERO agree that the key priorities for ongoing improvement are to:

  • simplify the strategic plan
  • ensure clear alignment between school priorities and professional learning, appraisal and evaluation
  • ensure that the progress and achievement of any learner whose learning is at risk are reported to the board in a clear and timely manner
  • continue to strengthen internal evaluation.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Recent initiatives in the school have focused on improving teaching and learning in literacy and mathematics. Leaders and teachers can show that they have taken specific steps to lift the achievement of students who are below the National Standards. There is a growing culture of evaluation and this has led to some well-planned changes.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school addresses the next steps within this report.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

17 February 2017

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls: 52% Boys: 48%

Ethnic composition




Latin American







Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

17 February 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

August 2013

October 2009

October 2006