Whangaruru School - 22/06/2017


Whangaruru School is in the heart of the Ngāti Wai tribal area and has a roll of 43 children, mostly of Ngāti Wai descent. The elected board of trustees consists of experienced and new members. They have good levels of capability and have accessed training to support them in their governance roles.

The school has a first-time principal, who descends from Ngāti Wai. He has been in the school for approximately two years and has built positive relationships with children, staff and the community.

School information shows a positive trend in achievement since ERO’s 2014 report. In 2016 more than half of the children achieved the National Standards in reading and writing, and 63 percent achieved the Standard in mathematics.

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

The school is not yet responding effectively to all children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. School processes for achieving equity and excellence for children are partially effective.

The school leaders will need external support to:

  • develop a curriculum that reflects their vision and strategic direction

  • help teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their practices, moderate their judgements about achievement, and accelerate children’s learning

  • assist the principal to strengthen his leadership capacity and capability

  • implement a systematic and robust appraisal process for all staff

  • enable the board to develop internal evaluation and strategic planning to guide forward direction.

Equity and excellence

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

Whangaruru School is in the early stages of developing effective responses to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. At the end of 2016 approximately 52 percent of children achieved the National Standard in writing, 55 percent in reading, and 63 percent in mathematics. There is little disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement in literacy and mathematics achievement.

The principal recognises the need to improve assessment and moderation practices to improve the dependability of teacher judgements about achievement.

Children are confident in their culture, language and identity. Children are effective communicators and are supportive of each other’s learning.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

School processes for achieving equity and excellence for children are partially effective.

Children have a strong sense of belonging and connection to their whānau, hapū and iwi. They are confident in their cultural identity. Children demonstrate tuakana/teina concepts of care, respect, wairuatanga, manaakitanga and whānaungatanga.

Classroom environments and routines support children’s engagement in learning. Teachers consistently share learning intentions with children, and use achievement data and formative assessment practices to progress learning. Te reo Māori me ōna tikanga are becoming more integrated in learning programmes. Some children know how well they are progressing, and support each other well.

The principal is committed to establishing a collaborative and collegial learning culture at the school that focuses on improvement. At the beginning of his tenure, the principal focused on building trusting relationships with teachers, children and the community. The principal and teachers will need support to lead the improvements required to accelerate student achievement.

The board has strong connections and relationships with staff and the local community. Trustees fully support the principal and the direction in which the school is progressing. To help promote learning centred relationships, the board has consulted with whānau about the future direction of learning for their children. Trustees have specific responsibilities and are committed to ensuring their children are receiving a quality education.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The school will need external support, and professional development for teachers to improve systems and processes to achieve equity and excellence for children.

Despite the commitment of the principal, staff and community there are a number of school conditions that are not sufficiently effective to achieve equity and excellence for all children. Areas that require considerable development include:


  • developing a coherent and responsive curriculum that ensures appropriate coverage of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and aligns with the school’s vision

  • developing a shared understanding of teaching practices that accelerate children’s learning

  • strengthening children’s role in the learning process

  • implementing a robust appraisal system that aligns with the requirements of the Education Council of NZ

  • developing effective assessment and moderation practices.


  • developing and implementing coherent plans to guide the school’s strategic direction and support success for children

  • developing robust processes for monitoring progress towards strategic goals and evaluating the effectiveness of policies and initiatives for promoting equity and excellence.


  • building leadership capacity and capability to lead improvements

  • promoting a sense of urgency for accelerating the progress of all children at risk of not achieving

  • ensuring that the principal’s written reports to the board are evaluative and include information about the impact, quality and effectiveness of programmes and initiatives on children’s learning.

Developing a more strategic approach to leadership and stewardship, that ensures a coherent focus on children whose learning and achievement need acceleration, should contribute to greater equity and excellence.

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.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to staff performance appraisal and policy review. In order to address this the board must:

  1. ensure the principal implements a robust and systematic appraisal process for all staff
    National Administration Guidelines 3
  2. ensure that policies, plans and programmes are evaluated on a regular basis
    National Administration Guidelines 2b.

Going forward

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

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are to:

  • support teachers to accelerate student achievement and moderate judgements about achievement

  • develop a curriculum that reflects the aspirations and vision of the community

  • establish a coherent system of improvement focused internal evaluation across all school systems and practices

  • develop leadership capacity and capability

  • implement a systematic and robust appraisal process for staff.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated

  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement

  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

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


ERO recommends that the school seek further support from the Ministry of Education to bring about the sustainable improvements in:

  • accelerating student achievement in relation to the National Standards
  • moderation of judgements about achievement and teachers’ inquiry into the effectiveness of their practice
  • curriculum development
  • strengthening leadership capacity and capability
  • implementing a systematic and robust appraisal process for all staff.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 June 2017

About the school 


Whangaruru, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 20

Ethnic composition



Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

22 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2014
May 2011
April 2010