Waipahihi School - 12/07/2019

School Context

Waipahihi School is a contributing primary school located in Taupō, catering for students in Years 1 to 6. It has a roll of 432 students, 151 of whom identify as Māori.

The school’s vision is for students to be ‘Immersed in Learning’. Values are described as CORE: courage, ownership, respect, empathy.

The school’s strategic goals for 2019 include developing:

  • collaborative and professional teaching practices across the school that provide a foundation for the delivery of an enriching, connected and blended curriculum
  • multicultural appreciation and understanding.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the previous ERO report in 2015, there have been changes to the senior leadership team. A new principal began at the end of 2015 and a new deputy principal and assistant principal have since been appointed. Several new trustees have joined the board and the chair was new to the role in 2018. The school has also undergone significant classroom redesign and students are now learning in open-plan spaces.

The school is a member of the Taupō Community of Learning (CoL)|Kāhui Ako.

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?

The school is achieving excellent outcomes for most students but is not yet achieving equitable outcomes for all students.

The school’s achievement data for 2018 shows that most students achieved expected national curriculum levels in reading and writing, and the large majority of students achieved expected national curriculum levels in mathematics. These levels of achievement have been consistent over time.

The school’s data for 2016 to 2018 shows a pattern of significant disparity for Māori students who achieve at lower levels than their Pākehā peers in reading and mathematics. There is also disparity of achievement in writing for Māori students. The achievement level of boys and girls is comparable in mathematics. There is some disparity of achievement in reading where boys achieve less well than girls. Significant disparity of achievement remains for boys in writing; however, the level of disparity has reduced over time.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the learning of some students who need this.

The school’s achievement data from 2017 to 2018 shows that, in reading, the school accelerated the learning of approximately half of the students who needed this, including Māori students. In writing, just over one quarter of the students who needed to make accelerated progress did so. The school is yet to effectively accelerate the learning of at-risk students in mathematics.

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 learn in a collaborative and inclusive environment. The school’s CORE values are visible in classrooms. Students are co-operative and collaborate to support one another’s learning. Relationships between teachers and students are positive and respectful. There is an holistic approach to student wellbeing and initiatives such as the ‘Play, Eat, Learn’ timetable structure support students’ readiness for learning. Students with additional needs are well supported in class through targeted resourcing and a collaborative team of special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCO). Parents who spoke with ERO said that each child’s uniqueness is supported by the school.

The classroom environment is conducive to learning. Students are supported to participate and engage, and are encouraged to take risks in their learning and challenge themselves. The curriculum is responsive to students’ interests and they are supported to self-manage through clear routines and expectations. Teachers actively engage with and respond to students through differentiated learning activities and strategies to scaffold and support learning.

Leadership builds relational trust and effective school-wide collaboration. The school vision and values were reviewed and redeveloped following consultation with the school community. Leaders have fostered a transparent team culture that values accountability and professional reflection. There is a clear commitment to growing leadership capacity across the school and implementing systems and processes for coherent and sustainable practice.

The board is strongly focused on pursuing positive outcomes for learners. Trustees are committed to enabling the school vision and supportive of the direction of the leadership team. The board values and models aspects of tikanga Māori in their governance roles. Trustees are proactive in the pursuit of positive outcomes for students and have developed some innovative approaches to wellbeing and inclusion. The board regularly receives and scrutinises information on student achievement, curriculum implementation and teaching practices.

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

Leadership should continue to build collective capacity to:

  • understand the impact and effectiveness of initiatives and interventions through the development and implementation of robust school-wide internal evaluation processes
  • increase student agency with a focus on effective formative assessment practices and students being able to identify their learning needs and goals
  • reduce levels of disparity for Maori and boys in reading and mathematics.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 review there were three international students attending the school. Students are immersed fully in classes, with appropriate language support. An orientation programme is in place and students are encouraged to take part in all school and appropriate community activities.

4 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Waipahihi School’sperformance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative leadership that is focused on building a shared vision and consistent practices
  • a responsive and inclusive curriculum that provides a holistic approach to students’ learning and wellbeing
  • stewardship that is focused on improving outcomes for all students.

Next steps

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

  • effective internal evaluation for strategic improvement
  • a school-wide approach to building student agency to increase students’ understanding of their next steps in learning.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review policies and processes for bullying prevention and response to include gender diversity consistent with MoE guidelines
  • keep evidence of identity credential checks for all new employees.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

12 July 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing School (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 46% Female 54%

Ethnic composition

Māori 35%
NZ European/Pākehā 57%
Pacific 2%
Asian 3%
Other ethnic groups 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

12 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review May 2010
Education Review May 2007