Kaitaia Intermediate

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Education institution number:
School type:
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

45 North Road, Kaitaia

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School Context

Kaitaia Intermediate is in the township of Kaitaia and caters for students in Years 7 and 8. Māori students currently make up 84 percent of the 261 students on the school roll. The school has experienced roll growth in the last few years. Many staff, members of the board of trustees and whānau have longstanding associations with the school.

The school provides three bilingual classes to cater for students who wish to learn te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Aspects of tikanga and te reo Māori are offered throughout the school.

The school’s vision promotes students to be ‘confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect, responsibility and form positive relationships’. School values include students who will ‘stay safe, show respect, be responsible and strive for excellence’.

Current school targets focus on increasing the number of students achieving at or above the national curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the 2016 ERO review, the school has had three principals and changes in the teaching staff. A new principal was appointed in Term 1, 2019. Ongoing change has impacted on the sustainability of curriculum, assessment and assurance processes and systems. The next steps noted in ERO’s 2016 report have not been addressed and remain priorities for the school. These priorities relate to:

  • strengthening schoolwide achievement systems
  • teachers using effective teaching strategies to accelerate student progress and achievement
  • students using achievement data to enable them to identify their own next learning steps.

The school is a member of the Te Kāhui Tai Kura o Te Hiku | Community of Learning (CoL).

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 has not yet developed the capacity to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Over the last three years there has been a steady decline in literacy and mathematics achievement. The 2019 achievement data show that less than half of all students achieved at expectation in literacy and very few achieved in mathematics. New initiatives have been introduced to support leaders and teachers to better track and monitor student progress.

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

At the time of this review the school could not provide broad evidence of accelerated learning for those students who need this. Leaders have introduced a framework for identifying students at risk of not achieving. Some teachers have evidence to show accelerated progress for some students.

School achievement information needs to include further data for targeted children who need to make accelerated progress. Leaders and teachers need to systematically target this cohort of students and regularly monitor the expected rates of progress to lift achievement.

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?

The school has a strong focus on the pastoral care of students. Classrooms are settled, learning environments. Some teachers use effective teaching practices to support deep learning for students in their classes. Students, in these classrooms, talk about what helps them to learn, have a strong sense of belonging, and demonstrate the school values.

Students with additional learning needs are supported with an individual education plan. Learning assistants work alongside these students to further support their learning. External agencies are accessed when appropriate.

The development of learning-centred relationships that involve parents/whānau in their child’s learning has been successfully extended through the use of online platforms.

The principal is building positive relationships with staff, students and whānau. He is leading the development of a new school curriculum that interweaves the local context and is increasingly responsive to students’ Muriwhenua cultural identity.

School leaders are working more closely with local schools to ensure that students transition positively into and out of the school.

Trustees have a strong commitment to supporting the school and the principal through their governance role. Well-managed finances enable board resourcing to support programmes, teacher aides and additional teaching staff. It is timely for the board to receive more evaluative reports from school leaders about how well the resourcing of these initiatives is lifting student achievement.

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

School leaders and trustees acknowledge that curriculum initiatives are at a beginning stage, and further developments are needed to strengthen schoolwide processes and practices. They now need to develop an action plan focused on raising student achievement to achieve equity and accelerated learning for students.

To promote more equitable outcomes for students and to accelerate students’ learning, school leaders and teachers need to:

  • further develop coherent and coordinated leadership of teaching and learning

  • make better use of internal expertise to model teaching practices that accelerate students’ learning at all levels of the school

  • develop processes to ensure consistency of effective teaching practice across the school

  • systematically gather and use relevant student achievement information to identify trends and patterns related to ethnicity, gender and the accelerated progress of groups of students

  • provide regular evaluative reporting to the board, on target groups of students, to help trustees to scrutinise achievement data and determine what is making the biggest difference to the learning of these students.

Trustees need to:

  • strengthen the board’s evaluation capability

  • access training to increase understanding of their stewardship role and responsibilities in the areas of personnel and curriculum.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Kaitaia Intermediate’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • students participating and learning in caring and supportive environments
  • positive staff and student relationships based on manaakitanga and whanaungatanga
  • the principal building relational trust at all levels of the school and community.

Next steps

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

  • ensuring coherent and co-ordinated leadership of effective teaching and learning practices to enable students’ accelerated progress
  • building internal evaluation capability at all levels of the school that is focused on improving outcomes for students
  • trustees strengthening their understanding of the board’s roles and responsibilities.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees requires assurance that systems to ensure student safety and wellbeing comply with school policies. This includes:

  • implementing robust processes and procedures for student suspensions and stand downs

  • following appropriate processes for appointing staff.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education support the school in order to bring about improvements in:

  • raising student achievement
  • developing leadership of effective teaching and learning practice across the school
  • developing a school improvement plan that identifies specific actions needed to ensure greater equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning.

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association supports trustees with training regarding the board’s stewardship role.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

30 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.


Kaitaia Intermediate School engages its students positively in a curriculum that supports and promotes learning. Māori students and whānau are well connected to the school, and their language, culture and identity are affirmed. Experienced leadership and governance guide the school in a future-focused direction.

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

1 Context

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

Kaitaia Intermediate School is located in the township of Kaitaia in the Far North region. The school environment provides young learners with good quality facilities including extensive grounds, a swimming pool, a well-resourced library and all-weather netball and tennis courts. These facilities reflect the value the board places on engaging young people in learning. The school continues to be an important hub for the local community.

Students are taught in composite classes allowing tuakana teina to be an important part of the school’s learning culture. The school has a predominantly Māori roll. There are two bilingual classes for Māori learners whose whānau select this learning pathway. One classroom is attached to each of the two school syndicate teams. This structure is affirming the language, culture and identity of Māori children and whānau who have intergenerational connections with the school. 

The school has stable leadership and a committed teaching staff. It has a positive ERO reporting history and continues to offer students learning experiences that they participate in with enjoyment. The Ministry of Education supports the school through professional development for teachers that offers staff future-focused educational learning.

The school belongs to the Far North Community of Learning which has twenty-one schools working together to improve educational opportunity for the students in this region. The Kaitaia Intermediate School principal has been actively engaged in leading professional networks within the Far North area for some years. 

2 Learning

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

School achievement information in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics shows a good proportion of students are achieving well at Kaitaia Intermediate School. In 2015 National Standards data showed that 69 percent of students were at or above the standard in reading, 68 percent in mathematics and 61 percent in writing. Māori learners achieved at similar levels to the overall school achievement levels. Longitudinal data indicates an upward trend in student achievement in writing and mathematics.

The board of trustees set charter targets that are focused on accelerating the progress of students not meeting National Standards. Students with learning needs are well supported by class teachers and a capable team of teacher aides.

Teachers mainly use information from literacy and maths assessments to make judgements about students’ progress with National Standards. They collate and analyse this progress and achievement data to make decisions about enhancing the learning of specific groups of learners and individual students. It would be timely for teachers to bring in more assessment evidence from across the curriculum to make their overall judgements.

During the review, ERO and school leaders discussed the following next steps to advance student learning:

  • increasing the opportunity for students to work with their own data to enable them to take the next learning steps more independently
  • developing a school system to collate longitudinal data that identifies more clearly the students who are progressing at an accelerated rate
  • teacher inquiry into strategies that accelerate students’ learning and achievement to further develop their teaching practice.

Well planned professional development is currently supporting and building teaching practice. The Ministry of Education is involved with the school in a Change and Improvement Plan process facilitated by a Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner.

3 Curriculum

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

The Kaitaia Intermediate School curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Students are actively engaged in class programmes and activities.

The curriculum is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and is primarily designed to support literacy and mathematics as foundation skills. Students at risk of not achieving are a school-wide priority. All students benefit from the strong focus on building basic learning skills.

Other learning areas of the curriculum are drawn together under broad overarching themes over the year. These topics are focused on with deliberate teaching. Teachers and students are then able to inquire into their own areas of interest under each guiding concept.

School leaders and teachers also seek out a wide range of enriching learning experiences and activities to supplement the curriculum learning areas within the school. Students enjoy these opportunities to build up their social competencies and leadership skills.

The school’s vision and values are clearly defined and are now deeply embedded through the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative. Respect, responsibility and safety underpin all school operations and systems. These values are meaningful and purposeful in students’ learning and have brought gains to the school culture which is settled and positive.

A feature of the curriculum is the provision of specialist teachers for digital technology, food and nutrition and hard/soft materials. Strengthening the inquiry approach throughout all learning is an area for further development identified by school leaders and staff.

The learning areas of the curriculum are taught through an agreed two-year programme and monitored by school leaders for coverage.

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

Kaitaia Intermediate School is increasingly promoting success for Māori children as Māori. Māori students comprise 77 percent of the school roll and report to ERO that they have positive attitudes to learning and school life. They value the range of opportunities that are offered by the school including te reo, kapa haka, school waiata and cultural celebrations.  

Students in the two bilingual classes are engaging effectively with learning because of culturally responsive teaching approaches. Whānaungatanga, manaakitanga, ako and mahi tahi are evident in the culture of these classrooms. The kaiako in the bilingual team have expertise that should be shared more productively throughout the school to give this valuable learning to all Māori students.

The school continues to build supportive relationships with the Māori community. Whānau express confidence in the teaching staff to help their children reach their goals and aspirations.

During the review ERO and school leaders discussed the following next steps to advance Māori student success further:

  • use the expertise of the bilingual teachers in staff professional development
  • use the Measurable Gains Framework tool from the Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 strategy , the competencies from Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, and the NZ School Trustees Association tool Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees, to evaluate the school’s current effectiveness in promoting Māori success.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board of trustees has complementary skills and a sound knowledge of governance practice. The board has taken steps to ensure its stewardship succession is effective after the recent board elections.

School leaders work well with the board and inform them of the improving achievement outcomes for students. Trustees understand clearly their duty of care in regard to student wellbeing. The board values and acknowledges the work of teachers and support staff.

The principal’s responsive leadership continues to guide school improvement. The senior leaders bring different strengths to their team, including syndicate leadership skills, pastoral care, bilingual and technological expertise to help develop the school further.

Teachers are committed to strengthening their practice and are benefitting from the recently implemented appraisal system. Teaching as inquiry expectations will continue to develop reflective skills in teachers to improve their practice.

Relationships with whānau and the school community have sustained and strengthened further. Consultation occurs with the parents and the wider community to plan the next phases of school development.

All levels of school operations could benefit from an increased focus on the evaluative component in school review.

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.


Kaitaia Intermediate School engages its students positively in a curriculum that supports and promotes learning. Māori students and whānau are well connected to the school, and their language, culture and identity are affirmed. Experienced leadership and governance guide the school in a future-focused direction.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 August 2016

About the School 


Kaitaia, Far North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50%
Girls 50%

Ethnic composition



Special Features

Two Māori bilingual classes

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

15 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2013
June 2010
May 2007