Whangara School - 20/12/2018

School Context

Whangara School is a rural school located on the East Coast, north of Gisborne. There has been significant roll growth since the ERO review in 2015. The school caters for 80 students in Years 1 to 8 of whom 75% are Māori. An increasing number of students from the local rural community attend the school. The board partially funds a bus from Gisborne to provide transport for students who whakapapa to the area, particularly those from Ngati Konohi. Paikea kindergarten is situated on the same site and many of these children transition to the school.

The school’s vision is “for tamariki to have a strong identity and connection to people, places and the land, to develop a love of learning with their unique talents and skills to make a difference in their lives and in the world”. The vision is regularly reviewed with whānau to ensure that all aspects of the school are underpinned by the fundamental values of turangawaewae, ako, mohiotanga and whakatinana.

Since the previous 2015 ERO review the school has strengthened Te Puāwaitanga - the graduate profile that reflects the knowledge, skills and dispositions of their tipuna, Paikea Ariki. Paikea embodied the values and beliefs of tino rangatiratanga, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, tukaha and akonga. The whānau aspirations are for their tamariki to acquire the skills and attributes of Paikea during their time at Whangara School.

Te Puna a Tinirau is an initiative introduced in mid-2017 for akonga in Years 1 to 8. This initiative is the result of whānau aspirations for students to learn te reo o Whangara me ōna tikanga katoa. The focus during this foundation stage has been on language acquisition particularly those learning te reo for the first time. The school is establishing and defining what personalised achievement and acceleration looks like for each student in this immersion setting.

A significant focus since the previous ERO review has been on the development of processes to support the acceleration of at-risk learners. The school uses the term ‘Kauika’ for those identified learners requiring support. Kauika is a pod of whales that support each other to travel and this is aligned with their kaupapa in promoting the positive potential of students.

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

  • turangawaewae, ako, whanaungatanga and whakatinana

  • reading writing and mathematics

  • Te Puna a Tinirau korero-a-waha/whakarongo

  • progress and achievement of kauika learners.

The school has been involved in a range of professional learning and development opportunities focussed on improving teacher capability. These include Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALiM), Mathematics Support Teacher (MST), literacy learning, developing active learners, effective collaborative teaching, and resource support and development in Māori medium.

Since the last ERO review the principal, assistant principal and team leaders continue in their leadership of learning roles. There have been new appointments to the teaching and support staff due to the growing roll. The board is led by an experienced chairperson and includes both new and experienced trustees, who have a range of skill sets and intergenerational links to the school.

The school is part of the Ngati Porou Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

The school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students. School data indicates that in 2018 the majority of students are achieving at expected or above curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

Over the last three years there has been no noticeable pattern of disparity between the achievement of boys and girls. Boys and girls have enjoyed similar levels of success in reading writing and mathematics.

Almost all students leaving the school at Year 8 are achieving at or above expected levels in reading writing and mathematics, and demonstrate the skills and attributes of their tipuna, Paikea. Other valued student outcomes as defined by the school are the core values defined in Te Puāwaitanga. Students across the school articulate, demonstrate and exemplify these principles and beliefs and stand with a strong sense of confidence and pride in their cultural identity.

Students with moderate to high learning needs have made significant progress, achieving well towards their learning goals and in their ability to verbally communicate, socially interact and display the attributes defined in Te Puāwaitanga.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school can show effective acceleration for Māori and other kauika learners who need it, in reading, writing and mathematics. The positive acceleration outcomes for Māori and other learners are the result of the school’s systematic approach to the identification, tracking, monitoring and response to kauika learners.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

Akonga benefit from a rich, authentic, culturally connected curriculum. The whakataukī ‘ko Whāngarā te pūtahitanga o te korero, te pārekereke o te tangata’ guides the development and enactment of the curriculum. Students are immersed in deep meaningful learning about the stories, knowledge, understandings and history of their ancestors. The programme makes active use of all aspects of the local environment including the marae to promote students’ understanding of the connectedness to tipuna, whenua, moana, and Atua. The curriculum is holistic and places strong emphasis on students’ understanding their role as kaitiaki and promoting sustainability and social justice. These culturally embedded practices are reinforcing students’ sense of belonging -turangawaewae, and their identity as Whangara and Ngāti Konohi.

Highly effective leadership has built a strong sense of whanaungatanga amongst the school community and a collaborative culture for learning. With the support of trustees, leaders have taken a strategic approach to building teacher capability through targeted professional learning informed by high-quality internal reflections and evaluation. A methodical and systematic approach to improving the collective capability of teachers has resulted in examples of effective acceleration for groups of learners ensuring more equitable outcomes for all.

Teaching practice is underpinned by a strong sense of ako and manaakitanga for students and their whānau. Teachers have established effective systems and processes to accelerate the learning of kauika learners through and provision of high-quality in-class support programmes. Support staff and teachers work in partnership with parents and whānau. For students with high additional learning needs, teachers and the Special Education Needs Coordinators develop individualised education plans and work collaboratively with external specialist agencies. There is a strong culture of inclusion and support that promotes equity for all students.

Trustees, leaders, teachers and whānau have developed an effective framework and system for internal evaluation to drive ongoing improvement. There is a clear, shared understanding of acceleration. Leaders and teachers regularly review and refine teacher practice, interventions and support programmes that target kauika learners. The aims, aspirations and contributions of whānau and students are regularly sought and ensure shared ownership and collective commitment to ongoing improvement. Regular consultation and reflection is enabling equity, excellence and acceleration for all students.

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers now need to ensure annual targets are specific and measurable and align with the learning needs of students who require acceleration.

The process for teaching as inquiry needs further refinement to focus more specifically on at-risk learners in each class to build on students’ interests, needs and strengths.

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:

  • a contextually rich curriculum that promotes students’ strong cultural identity

  • a culture of collaboration among leaders, teachers, parents and whānau, that maintains high expectations for teaching and learning throughout the school

  • an inclusive school culture that promotes equity and excellence for all students

  • internal evaluation that drives ongoing improvement.

Next steps

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

  • setting achievement targets that are specific, measurable and aligned with kauika students

  • refining the teaching as inquiry process to focus specifically on students requiring acceleration.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

20 December 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 38 Girls 42

Ethnic composition

Māori 66
Pākehā 14

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME

Number of students in Level 2 MME

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

20 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review June 2010
Education Review June 2006