Waipahihi School - 08/05/2015


Waipahihi School continues to provide high-quality educational opportunities for students in an inclusive and caring environment. Highly effective leadership and teaching practice are features of the school. A strong culture of ongoing improvement contributes to a curriculum that is responsive to the changing needs, strengths and interests of students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Waipahihi School caters for a large and increasingly diverse student population. The roll is 475 students including a small number of international students. The teaching staff has remained constant with low staff turnover resulting in a high level of consistency of teaching and learning for students. There is a strong focus on enhancing teaching practice through targeted professional learning and development, and providing students with rich and meaningful learning experiences. The school continues to place significant emphasis on promoting values of high expectations for learning, students achieving their personal best, and respect for others and the environment.

Students benefit from a strong sense of purpose and direction for the ongoing development of teaching and learning by the principal and deputy principal. New appointments to the senior and wider leadership team, including a new assistant principal, have further enriched the knowledge, skills and expertise amongst school leaders. The board of trustees are strongly supportive of the school and are fully committed to ensuring students succeed and achieve. A family-oriented environment is promoted through warm, caring and respectful relationships at all levels in the school.

Waipahihi School has had a very positive reporting history with the Education Review Office. Notable features of the school highlighted in the 2010 ERO report were strong and effective leadership and governance, high levels of student achievement including for Māori students, and inclusive and supportive relationships with parents and whānau.

2. Learning

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

The school makes highly effective use of student achievement information to promote student progress and achievement.

A broad and holistic view of student success and achievement is taken by the principal and staff. A wide range of assessment tools and approaches are used to identify students’ interests and strengths and to measure their progress and achievement.

Data from 2014 shows that the significant majority of students were achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Assessment data continues to show that there is a consistent pattern of improving achievement as students move through the school. By the time they complete Year 6, a significant majority of students are achieving at and above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students use achievement information well to monitor their progress and to set learning goals.

Teachers use assessment information very well to identify and address the specific learning needs of individuals and groups of students. Students who require targeted learning support are quickly identified. These students benefit from in-class teacher support, provision of learning buddies, specialist programmes and assistance from teacher aides. School data shows a significant number of these students make very good progress.

Schools leaders effectively analyse student achievement information to identify trends and patterns of achievement for groups of students including by gender and ethnicity. This information is well used to inform team discussions, enhance teacher practice and guide decisions about their professional learning and development. The data is also effectively used to set appropriate achievement targets, set future direction and to report to the community. The board is very well informed about student achievement and effectively uses this information to make resourcing decisions.

3. Curriculum

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

The school has a well-developed and documented curriculum that is highly responsive to the needs, strengths and interests of its students. It clearly reflects the unique local context and the values, aims and aspirations that are important to the school community. Particular features of the curriculum include:

  • the Waipahihi Kakariki project with a focus on ‘Greening Taupo’ that integrates curriculum areas into meaningful learning contexts about conservation and environmental sustainability
  • students’ active participation in a wide range of rich experiences including sports, cultural events, e-learning, kapa haka and education outside of the classroom. A strength is the high level of enthusiasm and enjoyment that students demonstrate in their mathematics learning
  • students’ transition to school, which is strongly supported by an innovative and thoughtfully planned programme, where teachers work together to provide familiar learning experiences for new entrant children
  • students’ strong ownership and management of their learning. They have established highly respectful learning relationships with each other and their teachers
  • parents who are well informed and invited to be actively engaged in their child’s learning.

Highly effective teaching practices are evident across the school. Teaching practice is informed by current research and teachers enthusiastically participate in ongoing school-wide professional learning and development. There is a well-established process of ‘teaching as inquiry’ where teachers are critically reflecting on their classroom practice to improve outcomes for students. A professional culture of ongoing sharing and discussion about effective strategies is promoting student engagement and achievement.

School leaders plan to continue to enhance the curriculum by ensuring students experience a depth of coverage in all essential learning areas.

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

School achievement data shows that many Māori students are achieving well and experiencing success. National Standards data for 2014 shows that Māori students overall were achieving similarly to other students in mathematics but below other students in reading and slightly below in writing.

Māori students have a strong presence in the school in ways that recognise their cultural distinctiveness. Teachers have increased their cultural awareness and have used Ministry of Education documents such as Tataiako and Ka Hikitia to enhance their understanding and responsiveness to Māori learners. A school-wide te reo Māori programme has been developed by a teacher with appropriate skills and knowledge, and two teachers are participating in a te reo course.

Whānau hui are well supported and attended and provide a useful forum for parents to share and discuss their views, aims and aspirations for their children.

A next step for the school is to fully integrate and document the stories, culture and understandings of Māori, particularly Ngāti Tūwharetoa into the school curriculum. This approach would further enhance and broaden students’ knowledge and appreciation of the unique history and knowledge of Māori in the Taupo and wider region. Consideration should also be given to ensuring the te reo programme is sustained and embedded by teachers within normal classroom programmes.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the principal, ably supported by the deputy principal, continues to provide high-quality and distributive professional leadership to the school and its community. The leadership team bring a range of complementary skills and expertise to their roles and have a shared understanding and agreement about school priorities and decision making
  • robust and rigorous self review lead to improved outcomes for students
  • there is a climate and team culture of collegiality, collaboration, innovation and professional growth and building leadership capability
  • students continue to experience a supportive culture that has a holistic approach to their learning and development. Warm and positive relationships among staff and students are underpinned by the school’s emphasis on key competencies and virtues that promote values for successful living and learning
  • trustees bring a range of skills, experience and expertise to their roles and responsibilities. They are committed and highly focused on improving student learning, wellbeing and progress and achievement.
  • the curriculum is well developed and documented and provides clear guidelines and expectations for ongoing review and teacher practice.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this ERO review there were 2 international students attending the school.

The school attests that it provides a high level of provision of pastoral care, quality of education, student involvement and integration into the school community. It also states that there are good monitoring systems to ensure the effective provision of education and support for international students. Evidence of these attestations was seen by ERO.

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.


Waipahihi School continues to provide high-quality educational opportunities for students in an inclusive and caring environment. Highly effective leadership and teaching practice are features of the school. A strong culture of ongoing improvement contributes to a curriculum that is responsive to the changing needs, strengths and interests of students.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 May 2015

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 56%

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

8 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

May 2007

June 2004