Waiwera South School - 14/06/2018

School Context

Waiwera South School is a Years 1 to 8 school in rural South Otago. It has a roll of 39 children. A small number of children are learning English as a second language.

Since the last ERO review, a new principal led the school for two years. Following this, an acting principal was appointed for the final term of 2017, and a permanent principal began at the start of 2018. During this time there has been a complete change in teaching staff, and little change within the board of trustees.

The school states that its vision is for ‘Learning for Life’ and that Waiwera South School will be a safe, secure and stimulating environment that values individuals. The school’s values are that children will develop and show respect, responsibility and honesty.

The school’s stated goals are:

  • learning for life

  • to have ongoing engagement with its community

  • for children to be connected to their world

  • to maximise the learning opportunities provided by the environment.

Professional development priorities relate to strengthening student agency and building best practice to lift writing achievement.

The school is part of the Big River Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics

  • learning needs.

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?

Waiwera South School is effective in achieving good outcomes for most children. Over the last three years, close to 80% of students have achieved at or above expected levels in reading and writing. Mathematics was at a similar level but dropped in 2017 to 68%.

The end-of-year 2017 school information shows there is disparity for boys in reading and writing.

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

The school has had varied success in accelerating learning for those children who need extra support to succeed in their learning.

Children who need support are closely tracked and monitored in terms of achievement and progress at a class and school-wide level.

In 2017 the school had a target to accelerate the achievement of a group of children in mathematics. School data shows that all of the targeted students made progress, with only 20% making sufficient progress to enable them to reach expected levels.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

A significant focus on community involvement and engagement supports children to feel safe, valued and have a strong sense of belonging. Children’s wellbeing is supported by the positive relationships and the strong sense of family that is evident throughout the school. The principal and staff proactively identify and draw on community resources to enhance students’ opportunities to learn.

Children benefit from a broad, localised and integrated curriculum that is responsive to their needs, strengths and interests. Teachers collaborate to effectively plan and implement a curriculum that enacts the school vision for learning for life. The school’s curriculum is strongly connected to its local environment.

Children are given many positive ways to make connections with the school’s values of respect, responsibility and honesty. The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies have been usefully aligned with the school’s focus on children taking more responsibility for their own learning. Recent developments and significant resourcing in classroom environments and technology have given children more opportunity to make choices in their learning.

The new principal values collaboration and has a clear vision to ensure ongoing improvement and positive outcomes for children. Trustees have recently worked with the school community to redevelop the school’s vision and values. They have the progress, achievement and wellbeing of children at the centre of their decision making. Trustees work effectively together and regularly review board processes.

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

School targets to lift achievement need to be improved. These targets should have a stronger focus on children who are below expected levels. Refining targets, and reporting that is focused on rates of accelerated progress of target students, should enable trustees to better evaluate what works and what needs to change.

Curriculum areas, and new initiatives and strategies to raise achievement for all and accelerate the progress of target students, need to be more effectively evaluated. This should support teachers to better respond to the needs of these learners and to know what is making the most difference for their progress and achievement.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • positive and inclusive culture

  • broad and localised curriculum

  • strong commitment to community and parent engagement

  • cohesive and future-focused board of trustees.

Next steps

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

  • refining target setting so that targets focus more on children below expected levels

  • analysing more deeply the sufficiency of rates of progress for groups of children, especially target children
  • strengthening teachers’, leaders’ and trustees’ understanding and use of internal evaluation.

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

14 June 2018

About the school


South Otago

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female: 24

Male: 15

Ethnic composition

Pākehā: 37

Other: 2

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

14 June 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: March 2015

Education Review: November 2011