Waitotara School - 06/04/2017


Waitotara School is a small rural school in South Taranaki. At the time of this review the school caters for 16 children from Years 1 to 8. Eight students identify as Māori. Students are enrolled from the Waitotara village, valley and surrounding districts.

The current principal was appointed in 2015. The board of trustees comprises of newly appointed members and experienced trustees.

Areas for improvement from the May 2014 ERO report have been addressed. School conditions and practices to promote equity and excellence have been further strengthened.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Students whose learning requires acceleration are well supported and they make good progress.

School processes that promote equity and excellence include:

  • board and staff focus on improving achievement
  • the recent curriculum review
  • strengthening positive learning partnerships between families and staff
  • the ongoing relationship with local iwi
  • a shared understanding of internal evaluation for ongoing improvement.

The school and ERO agree that recently introduced initiatives should be evaluated to determine effectiveness on accelerating student progress.

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

Accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics is evident for the majority of students, including those who identify as Māori. Teachers and teacher aides monitor Māori students as a group and this informs decisions and actions about teaching and learning.

Progress of students with specific learning needs is closely tracked and monitored using carefully, considered assessment tasks. Appropriate programmes are in place to meet students’ needs and these are collaboratively actioned by staff and families.

Most students achieve at and above expectations in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Some achieve well above their age level expectations.

Achievement information is moderated for accuracy and consistency within the school and through discussion with cluster and neighbouring schools.

All children have an individual learning plan with goals that are regularly discussed with the student, family and teacher. There is celebration when goals are achieved. In 2017, goal setting has been strengthened through better understanding of school values by students. Goals are age-appropriate and progress is measured against the values of DRIVE, Determination, Respect, Initiative, Virtue, and Empathy.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Sound processes effectively guide school operation. These are reviewed by the board and staff to remain relevant and useful for teachers and the current group of students.

Leadership pursues the school’s goals, vision and targets to promote equity and support excellence for all. Curriculum review has resulted in greater clarity about the mission statement and values. Extensive consultation with families and the community supported this process.

The principal and Ngaa Rauru iwi, in partnership, support students who identify as Māori to better know their location, language, culture and identity.

Partnerships that promote learning are highly valued and supported. Families are well informed about student progress and achievement during the year through a range of communication systems.

Attention to health and safety and student wellbeing is key to ongoing success for all children. Students learn in a positive, well-resourced environment that is conducive to learning and wellbeing.

Trustees are building their capability and strengthening understanding of their roles and responsibilities as stewards of the school. They have high expectations of successful outcomes for students. It is evident they give priority to accelerating learners’ progress through appropriate, allocated resourcing.

Internal evaluation is a well understood process for ongoing improvement. It has been successfully used to modify change and improve practices that positively impact on children’s learning.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Continuing to embed and refine existing and recently developed practices, focused on improving outcomes for students, should support and sustain equity and excellence.

The newly developed performance management process aligns to school priorities and has the potential to further build teachers’ capability and effectiveness.

BOT and staff should continue to evaluate how well strategies and developments impact on students’ accelerated progress.

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

  • 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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Going forward

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

The school is well placed to improve and sustain equity and excellence.

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • embed and further extend the newly implemented strategies and processes that impact on excellence and equity of learning for children.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

6 April 2017

About the school


Waitotara, Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 - 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 11, Female 5

Ethnic composition

Māori 8

Pākehā 5

Other ethnic groups 3

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

6 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, May 2014

Education Review, May 2011

Education Review, June 2008