Waipu School - 11/06/2013

1 Context

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

Waipu School is located in Waipu, Bream Bay, near Whangarei and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school is a focal point for its community which is proud of its Māori and Scottish heritages. Māori students comprise 29 percent of the roll. Well-maintained grounds and buildings contribute to an attractively presented learning environment. The 2010 ERO report identified many areas of good performance. These included:

  • teachers’ high expectations for student achievement
  • students who were engaged in, and enjoying, their learning experiences
  • effective planning for differentiated learning needs within class programmes
  • provision for students requiring learning support and extension for those requiring extra challenge
  • celebration of students’ efforts, progress and good quality work
  • a broad curriculum with many opportunities to experience education outside the classroom
  • specialist teachers providing opportunities to gain skills in te reo Māori and the arts
  • expansive grounds enabling children to experience a variety of safe physical challenges and sports opportunities
  • strong support from parents and the local community
  • effective professional leadership provided by the principal and senior leaders.

This 2013 ERO review finds that these positive features have been maintained and are continuing to be enhanced. The board and staff have also responded positively and systematically to the areas for further review and development identified in the 2010 report.

Senior leaders and teachers place strong emphasis on explicitly promoting school values and key competencies which are reflected in students’ cooperative and constructive attitudes and behaviour. Many families have intergenerational links with the school and an alumni trust has recently been established. Strong community support for the school is reflected in the continuing success of such events as Calf Club days and a recent pageant celebrating the town’s history. New families are welcome and valued. Positive relationships with local early childhood education services and secondary schools contribute to smooth and responsive transitions to and from the school. A settled and purposeful tone is evident throughout the school.

2 Learning

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

Students are very well engaged in learning. Senior leaders and teachers analyse National Standards results in reading, writing and mathematics to identify students who need to make accelerated progress and those who require extra challenges. Target groups of students who are at risk of underachieving are identified in all classes and these groups are comprehensively monitored by teachers and senior leaders. There are appropriate processes for identifying students requiring gifted and talented education (GATE) and some of these students attend a local One Day School in Terms 2, 3 and 4 to extend their learning. GATE students also receive extra challenge within class programmes.

Teachers are developing useful guidelines for determining and moderating judgements about achievement in relation to National Standards. They make very good use of a range of assessments to group students for differentiated instruction and provide specific verbal and written feedback to students with next steps for learning. Recent professional development has led to school-wide processes for assessment against negotiated success criteria. Students are increasingly involved in the assessment of their own learning and related goal-setting. Individual student portfolios provide useful information to support conferences with parents about progress through the year. Reports to parents give clear judgements about achievement in relation to National Standards.

The board receives useful achievement information that guides target setting to raise achievement and make decisions about resources. Midyear school-wide achievement reports demonstrate progress through the year.

ERO and senior leaders agree that next steps are to:

  • develop indicators that will further support teachers, students and parents in determining progress and next steps in relation to National Standards achievement
  • further involve students in self and peer assessment related to National Standards
  • ensure that there are always clear links between assessment and planning for individual students, particularly in writing
  • confirm school-wide expectations for reporting to parents about achievement in junior classes.

3 Curriculum

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

Waipu School’s curriculum appropriately emphasises literacy, mathematics, science and the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum, including thinking skills. Students also have regular learning experiences in the arts, physical education and education outside the classroom. They have opportunities for accepting leadership in a range of contexts.

Very effective teaching practices are evident in all classes: Those observed by ERO include:

  • high expectations for learning and behaviour
  • positive teacher/student relationships
  • continual affirmation and celebration of high-quality work
  • meaningful contexts for learning
  • effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a tool for teaching and learning
  • stimulating, creatively presented class environments.

The school’s curriculum is regularly reviewed in consultation with staff and external advisers. There is a strategic approach to continuing review and development, which should now be extended to include the school’s response to the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

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

Waipu School effectively promotes educational success for Māori. Many Māori students at Waipu School achieve at and above National Standards. As a group, their achievement patterns are similar to non-Māori. There is targeted support for those who are not yet achieving year-level standards. Māori culture and heritage is promoted through the curriculum, which incorporates visits to local marae. Kapa haka and te reo Māori are continually promoted. Bicultural perspectives are increasing throughout the school.

The board has co-opted two representatives of the Māori community to assist in the promotion of Māori success and ascertaining the aspirations of Māori parents for their children. The board also employs a part-time teacher who teaches te reo and tikanga Māori in every class each week. There is an expectation that teachers will also use these classes to improve their competence and confidence in using Māori language. Senior leaders plan to introduce Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, to support teacher appraisal and reflection.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Waipu School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • Governance is very effective. Established and regular self-review processes for school planning are focused on continuous improvement
  • The board has high quality strategic and annual planning processes informed by useful school-wide achievement data
  • The principal and deputy principals continue to provide very effective professional leadership.

Appraisal procedures are rigorous, constructive and related to school-wide development to improve outcomes for students

Teachers have established a staff culture that is collaborative, reflective and improvement focused. The impact of school-wide professional development is reflected in all classes

Parents and the community are regularly involved in school activities. They provide assistance with fund-raising to support the curriculum and volunteers help with teaching programmes.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

11 June 2013

About the School


Waipu, Whangarei District

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European Pākehā


Other groups




Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

11 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

August 2003