Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura

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On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

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

Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura is a small Catholic school located in Waitaruke, Northland. Kura whānau consist of Ngā Hapū o Whangaroa, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi, the church parish and the wider community.

All students are Māori. The school provides education for Years 1 to 8 and has a roll of 21 students. Students learn in both Māori and English medium settings in junior and senior multi-level classrooms.  

Since ERO’s December 2017 education review a new principal has been appointed. There have been changes in the teaching staff, the board of trustees and classroom organisation. During 2018, the board managed several challenging matters.

ERO’s February 2018 report identified several areas for improvement. These included the use of student achievement information, documenting a school curriculum, building professional capability, and aspects of stewardship. Good progress has been made in most of these areas.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities for school review and development identified in 2018 included:

  • designing a strategic plan in consultation, with kura whānau
  • reviewing and implementing a responsive curriculum
  • improving student achievement with a greater focus on accelerating progress
  • building the professional capability and collective capacity of the teaching team
  • ensuring internal evaluation processes are robust and systematic, particularly with regard to health and safety policies and procedures.
Responsive Curriculum

The principal and teachers have made good use of external support to document a new Te Marau ā Kura (school curriculum) that reflects the local area. It is underpinned by a Kupu Whakataki (philosophy), Ngā Uara (school values) and identified approaches aimed at enhancing student engagement.

The curriculum aligns well to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and is based on consultation with whānau. Parents and local experts contribute to authentic learning within the local environment. The curriculum includes:

  • education within the Catholic faith and te reo Māori me ōna tikanga
  • scaffolded teaching and learning approaches for ākonga including play-based learning, a process for multiple learning styles and project-based learning
  • many opportunities to engage in a localised curriculum promoting sustainability education and the performing arts.

Te Marau ā Kura and the teaching team provide a strong focus on advancing te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Ākonga are proud to succeed as Māori and learn the culture of Whangaroa. Te Reo wananga is a daily immersion learning experience that gives all ākonga a safe space to have fun, learn and develop their oral language skills in te reo Māori.

Positive relationships and interactions are evident in classrooms. Ākonga have a strong sense of belonging and know each other well. They are settled, purposefully engaged and focused on learning. They have good access to digital technology. There is a deliberate focus on personalising learning to better meet individual ākonga learning potential.

The recently introduced Te Āhua o te Ākonga (graduate profile) is underpinned by Aotearoa New Zealand research. It focuses on leadership opportunities for all and helps teachers to support all ākonga to achieve well in relation to these valued student outcomes.

Assessment processes and achievement practices

Te Marau ā Kura identifies ngā aromatawai (assessment) processes. Teachers use both Maori and English medium assessment tools to help them identify ākonga progress and achievement.

The principal and teachers engage in external professional learning to improve their teaching practice. New Maori medium assessment tools in tuhituhi (writing) and pānui (reading) are being trialled. These tools are designed to identify for teachers, deliberate acts of teaching to help accelerate student progress.

An intensive teaching approach in pāngarau (mathematics) is being used. A key next step is reporting to students, whānau and the board, the impact of this approach to lift student achievement in pāngarau.

Due to the small number of students it is difficult to identify trends and patterns in achievement data. The principal identifies a next step is for ākonga to continue to take a more active role in their learning and confidently share their achievement, progress and next learning steps.  

Achievement reports to the board, that were shared with ERO, show careful analysis of students’ levels of achievement in relation to curriculum levels. The reports identify the number of target students and teaching strategies to support learning. This information informs the board’s decision making about resourcing for ongoing improvements.

Teachers prioritise developing positive relationships with parents and whānau. This occurs through  school events, regular whānau hui and parent, student, teacher interviews. Project-based learning provides an opportunity for kura/kainga learning partnerships. The principal is planning to continue strengthening learning partnerships, especially with parents and whānau of those children at risk of not achieving.

The principal and teachers have completed a comprehensive review of performance management systems. A new collaborative process has been developed aligned to teacher inquiry conversations about practice.

Key next steps

Key next steps that support ongoing improvement include:

  • strengthening assessment processes by ensuring information collected is reliable and shared with students and whānau as the school transitions to Māori medium
  • improving the monitoring of progress and achievement in order to report regularly to ākonga, whānau and the board
  • reporting student progress information to the board in relation to the school’s valued student outcomes  
  • embedding ‘teaching as inquiry’ processes so teaching practices are more deliberate particularly for those students at risk of not achieving.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is developing processes and systems to continue to improve and review its performance.

Since the beginning of 2019, a new teacher was appointed.  The teaching team has both Māori and English medium teaching experience. Teachers continue to work with external providers to ensure a renewed focus on student engagement. They have developed purposeful teaching approaches and provide a range of opportunities to learn in a multi-level classroom.

Leaders seek out the perspectives and aspirations of whānau and incorporate these in the school’s vision, values, goals and targets. Regular school events and whānau hui enable information sharing and consultation. Leadership opportunities are well promoted as ākonga confidently lead hui, karakia and waiata.

The board has relevant long-term plans that support sustainability, including a refreshed charter and strategic plans. These plans provide clear alignment to school goals, priorities and are guiding the school’s new direction. Progress toward these goals are reported to the board. Other action plans, such as the property plan, are used to support operational matters.

The board represents and serves the school well in its stewardship role. Trustees have a longstanding commitment to the community. They make good use of external support such as the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA). It would be timely for the board to access further NZSTA support to review school policies and procedures to ensure the board is meeting their legal obligations.

A key next step is developing the collective capacity of the board and teachers to do and use evaluation and inquiry to sustain improvement and innovation.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.


On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)

Northern Region - Te Tai Raki

23 December 2020

About the school

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

School Context

Te Kura o Hato Hohepa Te Kamura is a small Catholic primary school located in Waitaruke, Northland. It caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll has increased to 30 students since ERO’s 2014 report. The children are Māori and mainly of Ngāti Kahu or Ngāpuhi descent.

The school’s vision and mission are shaped by the Catholic character and Marist values of aroha, manaaki and kindness. In consultation with iwi and whānau of the Waitaruke community, the principal and teachers promote the fundamental principles of Te Tapu o te Atua, Te Tapu o te Tangata, Te Tapu o te Whenua and Te Tapu o te Kaitiakitanga in students’ learning. These principles underpin students’ view of their learning and their world.

Since the ERO review in 2014, one classroom has become Te Rumaki Reo for Year 0 to 8 students, and has te reo Māori as the main language medium for teaching and learning. The second room is Te Puna Tautoko which has bilingual learning in both te reo and English for students in Years 0 to 8.

The school’s principal regularly reports to the board of trustees about the outcomes for all students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against the expected standard, in both Māori and English medium
  • progress and achievement in relation to the school’s charter targets
  • outcomes in relation to attendance and student engagement.

Staff are participating in professional development related to the use of digital technologies to enhance learning and in an initiative to strengthen science in the school’s curriculum. In addition, the school is involved in a Ministry of Education programme that fosters a positive school culture through values-based learning.

Since the 2014 ERO review there have been considerable changes in school personnel. A new principal has worked in the school from 2015 to the end of 2017, alongside two new teachers. There is a new board chairperson and a Bishop’s representative.

The school has very recently become a part of the Whaingaroa Kāhui Ako (Community of Learning).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The majority of children achieve equitable outcomes in relation to expected standards in reading.

While some students have made progress in writing and mathematics, others remain below or well below expectations.

Over the last two years teachers have begun to track and monitor assessment information about reading, writing and mathematics (for both English and Māori medium learning). Close monitoring and personalised interventions from teachers have resulted in positive learning outcomes for some children. However, more accelerated progress is necessary for the majority of learners.

Students achieve well in relation to other valued school outcomes. Most students, including students with special learning needs:

  • are growing in their understanding of Christianity
  • are learning within the context of te ao Māori in their own rohe
  • are experiencing positive outcomes relating to Māori identity, language and culture
  • relate well to others, and are becoming more self-managing
  • are beginning to connect digitally through local and global learning experiences.

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

A more specific focus on acceleration requirements for identified learners is necessary. Teachers have responded, to some extent, to those students whose learning and achievement needs improvement. However, they need to use more targeted acceleration strategies and approaches to improve student progress in both writing and mathematics.

For the past three years, the majority of children have not achieved expected standards in writing. A small positive shift in achievement at the end of 2017 showed children making expected progress rather than having their progress accelerated.

In order to further explore the school’s acceleration challenges, the principal and teachers should continue with ‘teaching as inquiry’, and targeted action planning for each student who needs to make accelerated progress.

The next steps to help teachers accelerate children’s progress are to:

  • refine charter targets to focus on the group(s) requiring acceleration
  • identify the specific learning needs of each individual student who requires acceleration
  • create targeted action plans for groups and individuals who need acceleration
  • monitor targeted action plans regularly through each term to track children’s progress and acceleration
  • create data sets to show the extent and rate of acceleration for the target cohort.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

There is increasing evidence that powerful connections with whānau are enabling most children to strengthen and consolidate their learning at home. This improvement has come about since the current principal made this one of the school’s strategic goals in 2015. Whānau are welcomed and included in the school’s learning culture at every opportunity.

Many children are entering the school from a local kohanga reo. This has fostered and promoted the significance of whānau in early learning and the acquisition of te reo from a young age.

The school’s curriculum is very responsive to children’s language, culture and identity. All children are experiencing authentic learning in relation to their Ngāti Kahu and Ngāpuhi heritage within the local area. Opportunities are plentiful for children to learn through the local natural bush environment. Other learning areas are integrated into this curriculum focus, particularly literacy and mathematics.

The principal’s leadership has created learning conditions where the school’s positive social climate has become more defined and meaningful. This has supported a focus on equity and excellence in the school’s development. A clearly structured student management system is helping to build and consolidate children’s wellbeing for learning.

The board of trustees is highly focused on meeting and addressing challenges in the school to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for learners. Trustees have relevant professional expertise and the stewardship skills needed to seek out and recruit new staff. They now need to create, with their community, a more focused strategic plan to benefit all future learners.

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

Currently, teacher capacity and capability is being challenged by the inclusion of Years 1 to 8 in each of the composite classes, Te Rumaki Reo and Te Puna Tautoko.

The board of trustees and principal should urgently consider whether the school’s current classroom organisation is working to promote equity and excellence and the best interests of children. The board has identified that this matter will be an issue for discussion when recruiting the next principal.

The school’s curriculum requires substantial review and development. A decision needs to be made on whether the school’s curriculum is to be based on the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, or both. The curriculum learning areas in each case need more depth and breadth of coverage to ensure children are learning from a full and rich curriculum. This is essential to support children’s successful transitioning to secondary school.

The principal and teachers should collaboratively develop and improve the school’s assessment practices. In particular they should increase the extent to which the information they collate gives them a picture of shifts in student progress towards acceleration. Such a picture would assist them to better focus their teaching approaches and interventions on making a difference for targeted children within shorter timeframes.

Teachers could:

  • trial and share professional practice that makes a difference for each student
  • access more external professional learning to extend their skills and knowledge about teaching writing and mathematics.

Responsibility for achieving accelerated progress for learners should be shared by the board, principal and teachers.

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. 

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure internal evaluation processes are robust and systematic across all school operations, particularly with regard to health and safety policies, procedures and guidelines, and that policies are in alignment with the new Health and Safety Regulations and the Vulnerable Children Act 2014
  • ensure there is consultation, every two years, with the parent community about the school’s health programme. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • powerful connections with whānau and the school’s wider community
  • a curriculum that is culturally responsive to te reo Māori, tikanga and identity
  • a more sustainable school learning culture based on positive student outcomes
  • stewardship skills in the board of trustees.

Next steps

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

  • achieving better educational outcomes for children
  • targeted planning for children whose progress requires acceleration
  • curriculum leadership and review
  • strategic stewardship by the board to set a clear direction for future school organisation
  • building and strengthening internal evaluation processes and practices.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • overall student achievement in literacy and mathematics
  • curriculum development. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in one to two years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

22 February 2018

About the school 


Waitaruke, Kaeo

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       16
Boys      14

Ethnic composition


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 2017

Date of this report

22 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

 September 2014
 December 2011
 August 2008