Whananaki School - 03/12/2015

1 Context

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

Whananaki School is on Northland’s east coast, close to the Whananaki estuary. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 8 in three multi-level classrooms. Tuakana-teina relationships are highly evident between students of different ages and year levels.

A welcoming approach and a focus on student wellbeing continue to foster students’ sense of belonging. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga support the learning of all students in the inclusive culture of the school. More than two thirds of the students are Māori. Most of these students whakapapa to the local iwi, Ngātiwai.

The school is very well supported by its community. The principal and teachers are proactive in engaging with parents and have good knowledge of families’ aspirations and each child’s background and circumstances. Students and families are proud of the longstanding family connections with the school, with many generations of the same family attending as students. Local community events are very important to parents and the wider community continue to feature in school programmes.

A significant feature of the school is recent roll growth. The roll has doubled in the last year. An additional classroom and buildings upgrade are planned.

Whananaki School has a history of positive ERO reports. The school has responded positively to 2012 report suggestions relating to learning and curriculum areas. Areas of non-compliance in relation to reporting National Standards have been addressed.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement and achievement. Most students achieve at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. External professional development in writing is making a positive impact on teaching practice.

Assessment schedules ensure regular data is collected and used to inform teaching. Use of a variety of appropriate assessment tools and internal moderation helps determine reliable overall teacher judgements. The principal has identified that extending internal moderation into other curriculum areas and seeking ways of using external moderation could contribute to more reliable overall teacher judgements.

Students are highly engaged, motivated, confident and articulate. They are keen to learn and respond well to the clear routines for learning. Students are increasingly taking a lead role in talking about their learning goals, including during parent/teacher conferences. It is timely to extend students’ discussion about their next learning goals to help them improve their own learning.

Teachers have positive relationships with students and know their students well. They encourage all students to see themselves as confident and capable learners. Students experience individualised attention and support through differentiated classroom programmes. Students who are underachieving are well supported by teachers. Teacher aides in each class are used to provide additional support to promote learning for students.

Parents receive useful information about student progress and achievement. Appropriate next steps included in student reports provide useful information to help parents to support their child’s learning at home. The school is continuing to refine their reporting to parents, particularly for students in their first three years of school.

ERO suggests, and the principal agrees, it would be useful for the board of trustees to receive achievement information more regularly and to:

  • refine achievement targets and link them more clearly to the National Standards
  • evaluate all targets to show the impact of teaching on student progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes student learning. A holistic approach to learning enables students to participate in a rich variety of learning opportunities. The school provides a broad curriculum based on all areas of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Whananaki school values and the school’s vision “our children are able to progress with confidence", are evident in teacher practice and students learning. Key competencies underpin the school vision and connect to a broad integrated curriculum.

A school priority focus on promoting oral language supports student learning and achievement. Classroom environments provide rich prompts to extend students’ oral language. Classrooms are a learning community, focused on positive relationships, team work and cooperation. An emphasis on literacy and mathematics is evident in all classrooms.

Students have access to a wide range of resources and digital tools to support their learning. The principal is considering ways of using digital devices and e-learning in ways that further extend student learning.

The school’s community is reflected in curriculum documentation, content and resources. The language, culture and identity of students are celebrated. Sporting and cultural events provide opportunities for students to connect with wider communities. Parents appreciate the variety of diverse opportunities for learning outside the classroom.

Students benefit from multi-level classrooms, and opportunities to work with children of different ages. Leadership roles and responsibilities are shared among all students within the school. Students initiate and take responsibility for supporting and guiding teina. Māori students have many opportunities for leadership roles.

Appropriate planning is in place to support career planning and pathways for Year 7 and 8 students. Good processes are in place to assist Year 8 students’ transition to high school.

The school’s curriculum plan provides a useful framework to guide aspects of assessment and planning at different year levels. Staff and parents/whānau are effectively consulted about the curriculum. Teachers work collaboratively to share planning and classroom strategies to improve teaching practice.

ERO suggests, and the principal agrees, that next steps in curriculum development are to strengthen:

  • the coherence between curriculum expectations, planning and assessment practices
  • curriculum and planning evaluations to help identify the impact of teaching programmes on student learning.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori children as Māori effectively. They are well engaged in learning, in school activities, and are achieving and progressing well. Te ao Māori is naturally integrated into the curriculum. Continued partnership between the school and the Ngātiwai Education Trust Board is evident.

Māori students take pride in the recognition and acknowledgement of Māori values and value the opportunities to learn te reo Māori, participate in pōwhiri and proudly lead waiata and haka. The strong focus on successful kapa haka offers increased opportunities for Māori students to celebrate and enhance their language, culture and identity.

Tikanga is evident in school events and special occasions in ways that are well considered and suited to the school’s context. Home and school partnerships are strong and whānau feel well represented by the board of trustees within the school.

Leadership ensures that community and cultural resources are integrated into relevant aspects of the school curriculum. The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources and expertise to improve learning opportunities.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and to continue to improve its performance. The board is made up of experienced and newer trustees with a range of skills. Trustees are representative of the wider community, and effectively govern the school. Trustees support the principal’s future direction and work cohesively to contribute to the school’s vision. They have a commitment to improved learning outcomes for all students and they have trusting and positive working relationships with staff and the community.

The principal is highly accessible to staff, students and parents and models relational and responsive leadership. Professional development is targeted and strategically planned. Experienced staff have built community and whānau partnerships. A strong values-based culture, led by the principal, positively impacts on student engagement and learning.

Processes are in place to guide regular self review. Teacher appraisals have recently been reviewed with an increased focus on gathering evidence. The school is now in a good position to improve teachers’ evaluation of progress against their goals. The principal agrees to strengthen the appraisal process to encourage teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching on student learning.

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.

In order to improve practice the board should ensure in-committee processes are recorded in their meeting minutes.


Whananaki School caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are very evident in the school culture. The school’s mission and vision “our children are able to progress with confidence” places children at the centre of learning. Trustees are committed to improving learning outcomes for all students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 December 2015

About the School


Whananaki, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 37

Girls 29

Ethnic composition





Cook Island Māori






Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

3 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

November 2009

July 2006