Matakohe School

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1 Context

Matakohe School is located in the Kaipara district of Northland. Established in 1878, it has a long proud history, strong intergenerational connections and significant links with the community. The school shares its extensive grounds and facilities with the community. The school roll has declined in recent years reflecting the area's changing demographics. A new principal was appointed in 2015. She works collaboratively with the board of trustees and staff to promote ongoing improvement and positive learning outcomes for all children.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to develop resourceful self-managing learners who can contribute to sustainable communities. There is a focus on excellence, and high expectations together with building children's resilience, integrity, respect and curiosity. The school also aims to grow children's understanding and appreciation of diversity, community and sustainability. In addition, the principles of 'participation', 'protection', and 'partnership' are actively promoted. There is good alignment between the school's vision, values and principles, its strategic and curriculum plans and The New Zealand Curriculum.

The school’s achievement information shows that just over half of all children achieve at or above the National Standard in reading, writing, and mathematics. The cohort of Māori children is achieving at similar levels to the rest of the school in reading and writing and slightly better than their non-Māori peers in mathematics. There are some gender-based differences in achievement. The overall achievement of girls exceeds that of boys in writing. The board and school staff are focused on developing a range of interventions and programmes to address achievement disparities and to support children whose learning progress needs accelerating.

The school's moderation processes have been strengthened to ensure that teachers are making reliable overall teacher judgements about achievement in relation to National Standards. The principal is currently exploring how the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) could help to further develop and strengthen the school's moderation processes.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation the school has:

  • appointed a new principal
  • used community consultation to review the school curriculum plan
  • accessed relevant literacy professional learning development for teachers
  • developed a 'graduate profile' that defines the proficiencies and expectations for children when they leave at the end of Year 8
  • used staff expertise to develop a sequential te reo Māori programme.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has a focus on responding to children's achievement through a range of well-planned interventions and strategies. The board of trustees, principal and teachers are all aware that it is urgent to accelerate the achievement of children who are achieving below the National Standards. The principal and teachers have a clearly documented definition and understanding of acceleration.

In 2016, leaders and teachers developed and continue to refine plans and systems to identify and prioritise support for children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. Ongoing evaluation of these plans should further promote and enhance school-wide, collective responsibility for accelerating achievement. It should also help to build a stronger professional teaching and learning community.

The Board of Trustees has set achievement targets to accelerate the progress and achievement of identified children in reading and writing. ERO affirms the school's intention to refine these targets to include children at all year levels who are not yet at the required National Standard.

Recent professional development has helped teachers to make increasingly good use of achievement data to plan more effectively targeted classroom literacy and mathematics programmes. Some teachers are very clearly documenting the initiatives and different approaches they are using to accelerate children's learning progress.

Leaders and teachers know the children and their whānau well. They also have clear and coherent systems and procedures to record and respond to children's individual strengths and learning goals. Children benefit from teachers' detailed knowledge of them as individual learners.

The principal ensures that children with additional learning needs receive tailored learning support. The school accesses appropriate support for children from external agencies. Individual learning plans are now being prepared for a wider range of children who need to make accelerated progress. Maintaining and monitoring records of these children's achievement will help the school ensure that the progress they make is sustained over time.

The school recognises that raising teacher and learner expectations is integral to improving children's achievement. The principal and teachers are continuing to build a culture of high expectations and collective responsibility for the progress and achievement of children.

Children in all classes set reading, writing and maths learning goals, and share these with their parents. Helping children to set appropriate learning goals and understand their achievement levels and next learning steps should further contribute to improved learner outcomes.

The school has numerous strategies and interventions to accelerate children's achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. These initiatives include classroom-based interventions with class teachers and support programmes delivered by teacher aides, who provide effective additional learning support for literacy and mathematics. Children's engagement with their learning is supported and enhanced by these strategies.

The school provides specialist reading recovery programmes and implements a school-wide buddy reading programme. The planned refinement and further development of these programmes has the potential to increase their effectiveness and further improve children's reading.

The school's analysis of mid-year interim school achievement information for 2016 shows that some children are making accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. It would now be useful to evaluate the effectiveness of the various acceleration programmes and practices and consider the impact they are having on children's progress and achievement.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Matakohe School's curriculum and organisational processes are effective.

Since the 2013 ERO report the school has aligned the school's vision, values and principles through the charter, annual plan and curriculum plan. The curriculum plan has been reviewed and reflects The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It appropriately prioritises reading, writing and mathematics as the foundations of learning. It provides a strong platform to guide further teaching and learning developments. The inclusion of a graduate profile in the curriculum is a useful initiative that should help children in senior classes to further develop a sense of owning their learning. The school appropriately plans to further develop the curriculum to include a school-wide inquiry model to give children greater opportunities to shape and lead their learning.

Children benefit from a curriculum that places an emphasis on community involvement, education outside the classroom (EOTC) and water skills. Key features of the programme include:

  • children from the age of five all experience an annual overnight camp
  • a summer community afternoon swimming programme
  • a Friday afternoon options programme for all children led by teachers and parent/ community volunteers

Children are confident, friendly, respectful and caring of each other. They have a strong sense of belonging and tuakana/teina relationships. Children who spoke with ERO value the choices available in the options programme, have a real pride in their school and appreciate the recent increase in leadership opportunities for them.

The school recognises the positive impact that bicultural practices, curriculum content and the use of te reo Māori have on Māori students. The school has appropriately allocated time for a teacher who speaks te reo Māori to develop a sequential programme for te reo me ōna tikanga Māori. This programme is designed so that all teachers can implement it with their classes. This initiative is likely to build both the children's and teachers' knowledge and capability and help affirm and promote Māori students' pride in their language, culture and identity.

Strong connections between home and school contribute to children's sense of belonging, emotional security, and engagement in learning. The school promotes a welcoming and inclusive environment for children and their whānau. Parents who spoke with ERO greatly value the staff and the knowledge and understanding they have of their children. Parents value the open and honest learning conversations they have with staff. They feel well informed and receive useful written reports about their child's learning.

The leadership of the school is effective. The principal is very deliberate in her role as the 'leader of learning'. She has a clear focus on raising expectations and achievement, and maintains a line of sight across all children's progress and achievement. Good systems have been developed to identify, track, and monitor the progress of children who need to make accelerated progress. The board of trustees receive comprehensive reports about children's overall progress and achievement.

Some teachers are using effective systems and teaching practices to help students to monitor and track their own progress and achievement, and identify their next learning steps. Making these systems and practices more consistently evident across all classes would build on the school's language of learning and graduate profile strategies.

Building the professional capacity of staff and their collective responsibility for raising children's achievement, continues to be the focus of professional development initiatives. The appraisal process has been strengthened, and with further refinement and embedding it should enhance the professional capability of teachers.

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Matakoke School is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The board is representative of the school's community and has very good educational networks to access when required. Trustees have a trusting, positive and effective working relationship with the principal and have the "child at the heart" of their thinking. They have a clear understanding of student progress, achievement and acceleration. They share the principal's sense of urgency in relation to accelerating children's progress, and a strong commitment to improved learning and equitable outcomes for children.

Trustees make good use of achievement information to make strategic resourcing decisions. The board is responsive to the needs of the community and facilitates active participation in the life of school on the part of parents, whānau and the wider community.

Children's learning and wellbeing are central to all decision making. There is a strong sense of a collective commitment to raising children's achievement. Processes for identifying and monitoring overall achievement, and that of specific children, are continually being refined. This is likely to help leaders and teachers achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The School and ERO have identified relevant priorities and plans for ongoing development that include:

  • continuing to refine the school's raising achievement plans to accelerate the progress of all children in reading, writing and maths
  • using internal evaluation to identify strategies that are successfully accelerating children's progress
  • using educational networks and external expertise to research and consider other possible acceleration programmes and strategies
  • using the appraisal process and practicing teacher criteria to further improve the quality and consistency of teaching and learning across the school
  • building on the school's curriculum plan and 'language of learning' strategies to develop a school-wide inquiry model for children.

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

6 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 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to respond to the challenges identified in the school's raising achievement plan, to accelerate the progress of children in reading, writing and maths.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

21 October 2016

About the school


Matakohe, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 30 Boys 35

Ethnic composition

Māori Pākehā

20 45

Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

21 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

November 2010

September 2007

1 Context

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

Matakohe School in the Kaipara District continues to enjoy enduring and positive relationships with its community. It provides a welcoming and inclusive environment for all its students. Of the 76 students, 24 identify as Māori. There are currently no Pacific students at the school. Students are confident and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. They enjoy their learning and participation in activities in whānau groups, with combinations of different year levels.

ERO’s 2010 report recommended improvements to assessment practices and to the school curriculum, including the development of te reo and tikanga Māori. The principal and board of trustees have responded positively to these areas.

Over the past 15 months, the school has accessed external support to develop a new school curriculum based on the school’s vision, values and agreed competencies. The school’s vision is to develop resourceful, self-managing learners who contribute to sustainable communities. The Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function (SAF) team is providing professional development to build teachers’ understanding and use of student achievement data.

Since ERO’s 2010 review, changing demographics have contributed to a decrease in the school roll. The principal and board are working through future implications for staffing.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing capacity to use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

Students engage well in the learning process. They are enthusiastic participants in classroom programmes. They settle easily into independent and group tasks, and help each other with their learning. To support the school’s vision of creating independent and self-managing learners, teachers could consider ways to analyse and discuss achievement information with students. This approach would actively involve students in making decisions about how to improve their work.

School achievement information indicates that approximately two thirds of the students are achieving at or above National Standards in writing and mathematics. Slightly more students are achieving at the National Standards in reading. In general, boys are over represented in underachievement data. Māori students are not achieving as well as the school population in writing and maths, but their achievement is similar to rest of school in reading. Students with special learning needs are well supported through individualised learning plans.

The school provides parents with effective opportunities to be informed about their child’s progress and achievement, through conferencing and written reports. Parents of students in Years 4 to 8 could be given more useful information about their child’s achievement in relation to National Standards at the end of the school year. This would complement the progress reports they receive in March and July. The board would also be able to use the end of year information to make decisions about resourcing and the effectiveness of teaching and learning.

There is evidence that teachers are beginning to develop confidence in the use of achievement information to guide their teaching practice and programmes. They are becoming familiar with useful and appropriate tools to support their programme decisions. School leaders use achievement information to identify students who are achieving below expectations in relation to National Standards. A variety of withdrawal intervention programmes are used to support these students. These students are making accelerated progress during the year, and their success is celebrated.

To continue to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement, school leaders and teachers could now further develop their use of student achievement information by:

  • identifying more useful, improvement focused achievement targets in the annual charter that focus on specific cohorts who are underachieving
  • tracking students’ progress over their time at the school to show how their progress is being sustained over time
  • identifying and transferring successful teaching strategies used in withdrawal programmes to become part of teaching and learning in the classroom.

The school’s involvement with the SAF should help leaders and teachers to effectively implement these identified next steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning, and is well aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum.

Over the past 15 months, high levels of consultation with students, teachers and the community have resulted in a shared ownership of the newly developed school curriculum. Significant elements of curriculum design that enrich learning in all classes include:

  • eight identified school competencies to develop independent and resourceful, self-managing learners
  • real-life contexts for learning that are relevant to learners and their community
  • the value placed on students’ experiences and ideas
  • a shared language for learning.

A clearly documented and shared vision of the ‘Matakohe School graduate’ focuses on these elements.

The school has recently introduced a te reo Māori programme across Years 1 to 8. Teachers are being supported to grow their confidence and capacity in te reo Māori by a teacher with expertise in this area. To support the sustainability of this positive initiative, school-wide planning documents should show a progressive te reo Māori strategy that identifies expectations at each year level. Teachers could further explore ways to include bicultural perspectives across all learning areas.

Teachers plan and implement the curriculum well. They welcome student contributions to guide the direction of learning. Teaching as inquiry is a strong element of the school curriculum. Teachers are beginning to reflect on their teaching practice to measure how they are meeting their students’ diverse learning needs.

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

The school shows commitment to educational success for Māori, as Māori. Māori students engage well in the learning process. They value the opportunities the school curriculum offers them to hear, use and lead te reo Māori, and enhance their learning about their culture. Māori students take leadership roles in pōwhiri and kapa haka. Their learning is supported by the tuakana-teina relationships that are embedded in the school. Māori culture is valued and students display a pride in their identity as Māori.

Whānau are made welcome in the school. School leaders engage with Māori families on an individual basis. This contributes to high levels of involvement in their children’s learning. Māori students’ transition to secondary school is supported by a liaison person from a local high school.

The board could raise student achievement by developing specific improvement targets and action plans, especially in writing and mathematics, to further support Māori student achievement. Monitoring progress against these targets would be helpful to evaluate the effectiveness of school programmes for Māori students.

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 school has effective, professional leadership. The principal has accessed external support for the school’s successful review of its curriculum. This review has led to a school-wide learning culture that focuses on effective learning behaviours. Leadership is collaborative and inclusive so that staff have an ownership of school decision making and direction. People’s skills are valued, and both teachers and students confidently take leadership roles across the school.

The board and management of the school have a unity of purpose and good working relationships. The board effectively engages the community in the life of the school.

In order to sustain and improve school performance, the principal and board need to:

  • continue to prioritise curriculum development and the effective use of student achievement data to improve outcomes for all students
  • develop and document an effective process for robust self review to sustain school initiatives and support ongoing improvement
  • review policies to align with current school practices and legislative requirements
  • continue to use external support to guide strategic planning.

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.

To support student safety, the board must:

  • put effective systems in place to ensure that all non-teaching staff have current police vets [Education Act 1989, s120].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

20 November 2013

About the School


Matakohe, Kaipara District

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 46

Girls 30

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

20 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

September 2007

October 2004