Waituna West School - 07/06/2018

School Context

Waituna West School, in the rural Feilding-Manawatu district, caters for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of this review the roll is 61, with 11 students identifying as Māori. Students learn in multi-level classes.

The school’s mission statement is, “Not for school but for life we are learning”.

The principal was appointed in 2018 and joins an established teaching team. The principal is currently revisiting school priorities.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about achievement outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school is a member of the Feilding Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

School reported data for 2017, shows that almost all students achieve at and above the school’s expectations in writing and most students achieve at and above expectations in reading and mathematics.

A small disparity for boys in writing remains.The data shows disparity for Māori in reading, writing and mathematics. Disparity for boys in reading and mathematics was addressed by 2017.

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

The school has yet to consistently accelerate the rate of progress of students identified at risk of not achieving.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Leaders and trustees have a strategic approach to enhance teacher capability and promote collaboration in teaching and learning.

Teachers know the students well. They provide a positive learning environment and celebrate student success. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and behaviour.

The school community actively participates in a range of school activities and events that contribute positively to the school.

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

ERO has identified and school leaders agree that it is an urgent priority to developan overarching, local curriculum framework, in consultation with staff and community. It needs toinclude school defined values, key competencies and principles ofThe New Zealand Curriculum.This shouldguide planning and lead to a consistent schoolwide approach to learning. Expectations for the inclusion of te ao Māori and culturally responsive practice must be key aspects of the curriculum.Expectations for teaching practice, teacher inquiry and appraisal should be clearly stated.

The school uses a suitable range of assessment tools to identify students’ progress and levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Further work is needed to ensure the reliability of student achievement information. This must include data that is consistently collected, collated and analysed schoolwide. Appropriate annual charter targets are based on identification of students at risk of underachievement.

No appraisal process occurred in 2017. The new principal has introduced a system in 2018 that provides robustness and has potential to support teacher capability and improved practice. Appraisal needs to be rigorously implemented and thoroughly reviewed at the end of the appraisal cycle.

ERO and school leaders agree that key priorities for ongoing development include:

  • developing and implementing effective processes for collating, analysing, tracking and monitoring student achievement
  • explicitly stating expectations and processes for the use of student achievement information by teachers to enhance teaching and learning
  • regularly reporting to the board on student progress and the impact of teaching initiatives
  • improving and strengthening policies and procedures, particularly those related to student safety and teacher performance.

3 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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Trustees access support as they work to clarify and develop their stewardship responsibilities. They employ an independent assessor to review aspects of health and safety in relation to the outdoor environment. Since the onsite stage of the review, the school has implemented policies and processes to strengthen some practices. These include: discussing aspects of school operation where confidentiality is concerned; expressing concerns; cyber safety; teacher performance, including appraisal; personnel management; and bullying prevention and response.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a positive learning environment that encourages students to take responsibility for their learning and behaviour

  • productive community participation that supports students’ engagement in a range of experiences outside the classroom.

Next steps

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

  • documenting and implementing a localised curriculum that promotes student engagement and achievement

  • developing and implementing effective assessment processes to better identify and respond to student needs

  • strengthening teacher appraisal expectations that focus on improved outcomes for students

  • developing trustee’s knowledge and capacity to ensure effective stewardship across all aspects of the school’s operation

  • strengthening internal evaluation to show the impact of planned actions on improving equity and excellence for all learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

7 June 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 34, Male 27

Ethnic composition

Māori 11

Pākehā 49

Other ethnic groups 1

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

7 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review July 2010
Education Review May 2007