Waipawa School - 15/07/2016

1 Context

Waipawa School is a full primary school located in the township of Waipawa, in Central Hawke's Bay. An attached Years 7 and 8 technology unit caters for students from other local schools. There has been a significant role increase since the September 2012 ERO review. Twenty nine percent of students identify as Māori.

The school has adopted a 'student ownership of learning' (SOL) philosophy to support accelerated progress. This approach to teaching and learning was developed to build students' knowledge of their learning and next steps.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are reflected in the philosophy 'for children to own their learning to create lifelong learners'. The mission is to grow and inspire the next generation. The vision seeks to support students leaving Waipawa School being prepared for their continuing education in the 21st century. These are underpinned by the 'Waipawa Way' values of caring about ourselves, our learning, our environment, and each other.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students achieve at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori student achievement is similar to that of all students at the school. Reported data at the end of 2015 shows some acceleration in mathematics. The school has targeted a group of boys in reading and all Māori students to support accelerated progress.

While many Māori students achieve well, leaders recognise that others make less than expected progress. Accelerating Māori students' and boys' achievement are school priorities. Action plans have been developed to support these learners. Effectiveness of these actions, programmes and initiatives are yet to be measured.

School leaders participate in a cluster writing initiative to improve moderation practices. Leaders have identified a next step to strengthen assessment practices including, the use of assessment tools, moderation and overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics to ensure reported student achievement data is reliable and valid.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has continued to focus on cluster development in writing, professional learning and development (PLD) in reading and growing student knowledge and understanding of their learning. Trustees, school leaders and teachers have responded well to the areas for review and development identified in the previous ERO report. They have aligned many of their systems and processes to the newly implemented SOL philosophy and continue to strengthen others.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school gathers and collates information about students' achievement and progress. Assessment data is analysed, to establish trends and patterns and to identify students who need support to reach equitable outcomes.

The school acknowledges that over the last three years student achievement has not improved as expected. Trustees, leaders and teachers recognise the need to accelerate achievement in reading, writing and mathematics to meet the Ministry of Education goal of 85% of primary school students meeting National Standards in 2017. Teachers are supporting and growing student engagement and involvement in their learning through the SOL philosophy.

Accelerated improvement in reading, writing and mathematics is required to enable Waipawa School to meet the Ministry of Education goal of 85% of primary school students meeting National Standards in 2017.

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

The school clearly identifies specific students, who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

Students are supported to set goals based on their identified next learning steps. They collect evidence towards meeting these before resetting new goals when needed.

Through increased collaboration, teachers in each teaching hub support and monitor students' learning. They acknowledge the need for a continuing and more deliberate focus on students who are not meeting the National Standards expectations. Teachers are participating in ongoing PLD to accelerate student learning in reading.

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 board is student and community-focused. There is clear alignment between the board's strategic aims, annual goals and achievement targets. Trustees recognise the importance of increasing their knowledge and gaining a shared understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Trustees are beginning to use the resource from New Zealand School Trustees Association, Hautū - Māori cultural responsiveness self review tool for boards of trustees, to assist this development.

The school is reviewing its curriculum. Work has been done to ensure the curriculum reflects local context and histories. The review also includes:

  • refining guidelines for effective teaching and assessment practices to incorporate new learnings
  • developing expectations for culturally responsive practices.

While the school has an appraisal policy in place there was no recorded procedure. This was developed by leaders during this ERO 2016 review. Teachers are trialling online recording systems to more effectively track progress with their inquiries and archiving evidence against the Practising Teacher Criteria. Developing a robust, structured framework to guide appraisal should better support ongoing teacher growth and development.

Parents, whānau and the wider community engage in school projects to enhance learning experiences. With the support of Māori whānau, the school has strengthened links with local marae and increased te ao Māori learning experiences. Learning-centred relationships have increased through an initiative focused on building student's ownership of their learning.

Senior leaders are collaborative and student-focused. They are innovative in trying new systems and strategies to increase student and parent engagement in learning. Staff are reflective and have increased ways to communicate and share teaching practice with each other.

The school has a process to guide regular review of key initiatives. Student and parent voices are gathered regularly to inform this. To sustain ongoing improvement the school should strengthen its understanding and use of effective internal evaluation. Leaders agree that further development of inquiry and evaluation processes are key next steps. They acknowledge the need to continue to develop initiatives to support learners and measure the effectiveness of what the school does to improve student outcomes. This should include:

  • using success indicators to guide evaluation
  • measuring the impact of programmes, initiatives and actions, in relation to outcomes for students
  • improving assessment processes to enhance reliability and usefulness of achievement information
  • strengthening policy review to ensure policies reflect current practice.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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 trustees, leaders and teachers should further strengthen school systems and processes, including curriculum, assessment practices and internal evaluation, to accelerate the progress of learners at risk of underachievement. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 July 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Special Features

Central Hawke's Bay Technology Centre

Resource Teacher: Literacy

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

15 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2012

September 2009

May 2008