Ngunguru School

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Ngunguru School is situated on the Tutukaka Coast. The school has a roll of 268 students, mainly Pākehā, with 47 of these learners identifying as Māori. Significant roll growth has occurred since the 2014 ERO review resulting in a planned new building project.

School leaders have focused on high quality teaching and learning practice that makes a difference for children who are at risk of not achieving National Standards. Positive learning outcomes have been fostered by initiatives such as targeted strategic planning, learning partnerships with local iwi, effective professional development for teachers to embed acceleration approaches and the increasingly open inclusion of parents and whānau in children’s learning.

The previous 2014 ERO report identified that children’s ownership and responsibility for their learning required further development. Subsequently school leaders have continued to focus on embedding and sustaining meaningful student agency around learning. This has seen the development of effective collaborative approaches to learning where children learn effectively with their peers.

The school is a member of Ngā Kura Mo Te Ako o Whangarei|Kāhui Ako (CoL), one of eight schools across the Whangarei area. The CoL is at the very early stage of forming its ideas as a group.

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

The school is effectively achieving equitable outcomes for Māori, Pacific and other children. All students are experiencing the opportunities offered in the school’s localised curriculum for authentic and purposeful learning. By Year 6 the majority of children, including Māori learners, achieve at or above National Standards.

The board of trustees, principal and staff prioritise and resource individual learners who may be at risk of not achieving and view them as priority learners. The school has developed the capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children.

Children are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school has successfully addressed in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school responds effectively for Māori and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Well-tailored and targeted professional learning for staff has supported teaching approaches that are making a significant difference for those children at risk of not achieving.

National Standards outcomes have been improving for priority learners over the past three years. Approximately 80 percent of all students achieve at or above the standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Parity for Māori learners’ achievement has been increasing rapidly and there is a sustained upward trajectory evident.

Teachers place value on knowing their learners, their families and whānau. This has led to responsive and positive learning relationships to support children and their engagement with learning.

Staff are increasingly skilful in sharing and refining acceleration strategies and approaches that make a difference for children’s individual learning success. Target students and groups are identified quickly both at the beginning of and throughout the year.

School leaders and teachers analyse and evaluate progress and achievement data which focuses on pockets of disparity across the different year groups. Teachers go on to evaluate their planning and outcomes around these priority learners through their own teaching as inquiry focus.

Assessment and moderation processes are sound. Systems have been refined frequently through good evaluation practice both at teacher level and from school leaders.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school’s processes that enable achievement of equity and excellence are highly effective.

Learners are connected to the curriculum programmes that are inclusive and designed to enable all children to participate and contribute. Focus on individual children’s strengths and needs deepens the learning further. Learning activities are often “outside the four walls” of the classroom and at risk learners frequently engage more positively in these experiences in meaningful ways. All learners experience the curriculum through collaborative inquiry learning that is inclusive and challenging.

The Ngunguru school curriculum is highly aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum document. The foundation of the curriculum is literacy and mathematics that is increasingly integrated with the other learning areas.

The school’s curriculum is localised within the coastal environment and effectively connected to Ngati Wai perspectives in te ao Māori. Specialist bicultural teaching blends environmental science and te reo me ōna tikanga. Children’s learning moves from this local context to regional, national and global understandings. There are many specialist government, industry and local business partners involved in the curriculum who work with children in authentic contexts such as mapping the depletion of shellfish beds.

School leadership is distributed across the school where all teachers are viewed as leaders. This is promoting the continuing development of a collaborative teaching culture that is future-focused. The digital environment in the school supports and enhances engagement with learning for all students. Parents are becoming increasingly involved in learning through digital platforms that give them access to their children’s learning in real time.

The board of trustees is focused on rigorous evaluation of their stewardship processes and the strengthening of school systems to bring about parity for all learners. The school has a commitment to bicultural learning and Te Tiriti ō Waitangi`.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

There is evidence in the school of evaluative practice at all levels that has a relentless focus on the reduction of disparity. As a result school processes are modified, changed or put in place to overcome barriers to achieving equity and excellence for all learners.

ERO and school leaders agree that the growing open, collaborative learning environment has improved and encouraged higher levels of community confidence in the school.

The embedding of environmental and bicultural knowledge into the practice of all teachers, as well as specialist staff, is a priority for the school.

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.

Going forward

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

Children are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school has successfully addressed in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

7 September 2017

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 64%

Māori 17%

Pasifika 4%

other European 9%

others 6%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

7 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014

Education Review June 2012

Education Review June 2010


1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Ngunguru School is located close to a beach on the Tutukaka coast. It caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Students have frequent valuable opportunities to learn about the local coastal environment.

The school has experienced difficulties in the recent past. In 2012 ERO reported concerns about school governance, leadership, and the quality of self review. ERO also noted a breakdown in the relationship between the school and a section of the school/parent community. Because of these concerns, ERO decided to continue to monitor the school’s progress through a longitudinal review process.

In May 2012, the board requested support from the Ministry of Education (MoE) to help it improve community confidence in the school. A Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) was appointed. He helped the board review and develop its governance systems and strengthen its communication processes. The LSM continued to support the new board of trustees, which was elected in 2013. By December 2013, the board's capacity to govern the school effectively had improved sufficiently for the MoE to withdraw the LSM.

During 2013 the board, in consultation with Ngāti Wai and local whānau, set up Ngā Pii Manu, a bilingual class for Māori students in Years 1 to 4. The board employed an experienced teacher and teacher aide for the class. Both are fluent speakers of Māori. This class is still at an early stage of its development. ERO and the board agree that it will be necessary for clear protocols to be established for working in partnership with Ngā Pii Manu whānau. At a broader level, it is important to build a shared understanding of the valued place that Māori students and their whānau have across the school.

Since June 2012, ERO has worked with the school to evaluate the school’s progress. This report summarises ERO’s findings.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Following the 2012 ERO report, the board and ERO developed three overarching goals to improve the school. These were to:

  • improve community engagement in the school through better communication
  • strengthen the school’s educational leadership, governance and management
  • establish and implement effective school self review.

Trustees, leaders and teachers have worked collaboratively and have made positive progress in relation to the three identified goals.

Community confidence in the school has improved and a good level of parent and community engagement is evident. The board has improved systems for communicating and consulting with the community. Plans to extend board representation for Māori whānau are likely to contribute to wider engagement of whānau with the school.

Prior to the 2012 ERO review, school leaders had organised for external facilitators to begin supporting school leaders and teachers to improve the teaching of literacy, and to strengthen selfreview processes. This work has had a positive impact on staff and the school's professional learning culture. Teachers frequently reflect on and discuss their practice and are sharing and learning from educational research. As a result, literacy teaching and learning has improved across the school. In 2014 teachers plan to use a similar approach to enhance student learning in mathematics.

The literacy initiative has helped teachers to better address students’ literacy learning needs. Teachers are increasingly involving students in assessing their own progress. Leaders and teachers have strengthened their analysis and use of achievement data to promote student learning. As a result, programmes are better targeted to accelerate the progress of students who are at risk of not achieving. Teachers are using data to more clearly identify the impact their teaching is having on students’ learning.

School self-review processes have been strengthened and self review is evident at all levels of school operations. The board now more systematically reviews its policies. The school’s framework for self review is more coherent and is supported by the reflective approach that teachers are taking to professional learning. The views of staff, trustees, parents and students are included as part of self review. Improved self review has helped trustees and leaders to confirm the school’s strengths and identify relevant priorities for development.

Aligning self review more directly to strategic planning is an important next step. Clearer alignment would help to ensure the board is up to date and better informed about the progress it is making towards achieving its charter, strategic and annual goals.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The board, principal and staff are in a position to continue to improve the school’s performance. Their work with the LSM and professional development facilitators has helped them increase their capability.

The board and school leaders are committed to continue improving the governance and management of the school and the quality of teaching. Trustees and staff have a greater appreciation of the value of deliberate inquiry into how effectively new initiatives and practices are improving learning outcomes for students.

Trustees have benefited from LSM support and other board training. They are now more strategic and knowledgeable about their governance roles. Regular processes for communication, consultation and networking are assisting trustees, leaders and teachers to gain insight into community perspectives and better gauge parent opinion about the operation of the school.

A distributive approach to leadership and professional learning is helping teachers to sustain and build on curriculum improvements. Teachers have responded positively to professional learning and development and have increased their understanding of effective teaching and learning practices. Capable curriculum leaders and better appraisal processes are supporting teachers to improve students’ learning experiences and outcomes. In order to continue growing the educational leadership of the principal and senior managers, ERO recommends that the board continue using external input into the performance appraisal of the principal and senior leadership team.

Key areas for further development

ERO endorses the school’s identified priorities for development. These include:

  • further promoting students’ self efficacy by helping them to understand strategies for learning
  • continuing to build an inclusive, open school culture that seeks and welcomes the community's perspectives and reflections on school practices, initiatives and developments
  • involving the parent community, including Māori whānau, in the board’s 2014 review of the school charter
  • implementing the action plan the board has developed to support the ongoing development of Ngā Pii Manu.

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.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the board seek Ministry of Education advice to help trustees establish protocols and build collaboration between whānau of Ngā Pii Manu, the board and the school.

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

18 June 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



other European








Special Features

Ngā Pii Manu bilingual class

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

18 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2012

June 2010

May 2007