Waiotira School

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

Ararua Road, Waiotira, Northland

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Waiotira School - 02/08/2018

School Context

Waiotira School in Northland caters for 35 students in Years 1 to 6. Māori students make up one third of the roll. The school roll has doubled in recent years.

The board’s vision aims ‘to create lifelong learners who care and have pride.’ Participation, respect, innovation, diligence and empathy are the school values and the basis of the learning culture. The school values children being self-aware and having the skills to thrive and contribute positively to the wider community.

Current achievement targets are supported by improving teaching and learning strategies to better meet the needs of all learners in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers in the senior room provide learning programmes that incorporate digital technologies. Play-based approaches to learning have recently been introduced in the junior room.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • engagement and wellbeing for student success

  • outcomes relating to identity, culture and language as a result of a schoolwide focus on strengthening the use of te reo and tikanga Māori.

Since the last ERO review there have been changes in staffing.

The school is part of the Whangarei Kahui Ako (Group 4).

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 is developing its capacity to better understand the progress and achievement of its students.

Due to the small number of students, the roll increase in recent years and the transient nature of some students, achievement data trends are difficult to identify. In 2017 the school reported that the majority of students achieved well in reading and writing. Most students achieved well in mathematics. School leaders have identified disparities in achievement between Māori and other students, and between boys and girls.

The valued outcomes for students are highly evident within the school culture. Parents report that the school’s inclusive environment is highly responsive to students’ social and learning needs.

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

The school is building its capability to accelerate the learning of those students who need to make accelerated progress.

The school has identified specific targets in reading, writing and mathematics for 2018. This could help the school to better track and monitor student achievement. Teachers are trialling new teaching approaches for mathematics to meet students’ identified learning needs.

The board has a deliberate focus on maintaining low numbers in the junior room so these students make a strong start to their early learning years. A teacher aide provides additional support for individuals and groups of students.

The school continues to build on existing assessment practices and processes. This work helps teachers to increase their knowledge and understanding of effective strategies that are likely to accelerate student progress and 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?

Trustees, staff and parents share a strong commitment to the school and are clearly focused on students’ wellbeing and success. Trustees and staff recognise students as capable and competent learners.

Students engage in a variety of innovative learning experiences. These learning opportunities help to develop the skills and attitudes that are likely to serve them well in their future education and in life. Tuakana/teina learning partnerships are a strength of the school.

Staff know students and their whānau well. They are proactive in identifying and responding to students’ learning needs. Students are increasingly encouraged to build on their personal interests and passions. Parents report that they have positive learning partnerships with the school.

Trustees and staff are improvement focused. Staff seek and trial approaches that are likely to support children to be successful. The school has responded positively to the 2015 ERO report. In particular, very good progress has been made in affirming the identity of Māori students and supporting their success as Māori. Bicultural practice has been significantly strengthened for all students and the community.

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

Staff regularly reflect on their teaching practices together. However, to strengthen the school’s internal evaluation, it would be helpful to formalise systems for determining the effectiveness of initiatives, interventions and processes.

The board must ensure that all policies, procedures and practices are kept up-to-date and meet the current statutory requirements. It could be useful to use ERO’s Board Assurance Statement guidelines to support these reviews.

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.

Appraisal audit

During the course of the review, ERO audited the process for the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates undertaken within the last 12 months. The process in place at the time of the endorsement did not meet Education Council requirements. Recent improvements to the appraisal process indicate that it is now likely to meet requirements.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the emphasis on students’ success and wellbeing

  • strong community commitment that focuses on outcomes for children

  • relationships supporting children’s learning and wellbeing

  • responsive leadership and governance that promotes improvement.

Next steps

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

  • building teachers’ capability to better analyse, interpret and use achievement data to accelerate students’ progress
  • reviewing the curriculum to reflect the current direction and innovations in teaching and learning
  • increasing student understanding of their learning to promote self-managing learners
  • strengthening internal evaluation to determine the effectiveness of initiatives, interventions and processes for school improvement
  • reviewing policies, procedures and practices to meet all current statutory requirements.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

2 August 2018

About the school


Waiotira, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 23, Boys 12

Ethnic composition

Māori 12

Pākehā 23

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

2 August 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review July 2012 
Supplementary Review June 2010

Waiotira School - 23/03/2015

1 Context

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

Waiotira School is a small rural school located south west of Whangarei that caters for Years 1 to 6 students. The school has an historic association with the local community and is seen as a central hub for the farming district. Generations of student's families have attended the school. The school has 50 per cent Māori and New Zealand European/Pākehā students respectively.

Since the 2012 ERO report a new board has been elected and a new principal appointed. These both occurred in 2013. The principal is forging positive connections with staff, students, parents and the wider community. The board, principal and staff have redefined the school charter, vision and values.

The school vision ‘to create lifelong learners who care and have pride’ is beginning to be enacted throughout the school. This statement underpins the school’s values of participation, respect, innovation, diligence and empathy.

A new policy framework has also been developed. Compliance issues reported in the ERO 2012 report have been addressed.

A significant feature of the school is the strategic decision by the school board to sustain the school growth through innovative school and community programmes. Community support is sought and valued. Events such as Agriculture Day, an annual community BBQ and swimming classes are an important part of the school calendar and attract prospective families.

The school is attractive and well maintained. The board has approved the development of a school orchard and has a neighbouring paddock available for future expansion. Students have access to good quality facilities and resources that enhance their learning.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of achievement information to make positive changes for learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. High levels of student achievement in relation to the National Standards are evident. Achievement in reading, writing and mathematics compares favourably with other schools locally and nationally. Well analysed student achievement information is reported to the board and used to make effective resourcing decisions.

Student progress and achievement is well monitored and tracked throughout the year levels. Teachers set appropriate targets that support student learning. As a result students improve and make accelerated progress through these targeted initiatives and planned interventions.

An overall positive school culture and tone supports learning. Teachers genuinely value and care for students, their learning and their social and emotional wellbeing. The school’s philosophy of high expectations is being achieved through high quality practice that supports all learners. As a result, students’ self belief is a key factor in attainment and has contributed to raising student confidence and achievement.

Parents are given good opportunities to discuss the engagement, learning and progress their children are making in relation to the National Standards. Student reports are a useful record of learning and progress over time and give students and parents a clear indication of how students are progressing and achieving.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It aligns well to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) principles and reflects the school vision and values. Literacy and numeracy are the learning foundations of the school’s curriculum. Embedded in the school culture is the importance of reading. This has developed as a strength of the school programme and students achieve success in this area.

Students are supported in their learning through an integrated approach where teachers and students work together to inquire into their learning. The programme design is increasingly responsive to the interests of students and to the local community. Students benefit from community projects and the opportunity to work alongside outside organisations.

Teachers have successfully developed a pre-school transition to school programme. This is helping children to adjust smoothly into the school and is ensuring relationships between early childhood services, the local community and families continue to grow. The principal and teachers acknowledge the importance of looking for ways to further support student transitions to the next stage in their schooling.

Teachers are committed to strengthening their practice. Professional learning, development and teacher reflections have raised teacher awareness and capability to deliver the curriculum effectively to all learners.

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

The school is becoming effective in promoting educational success for Māori as Māori. The principal and teachers are committed to supporting and enhancing Māori student’s success as Māori. Students are affirmed and achieve well across all areas of the curriculum. They benefit from respectful relationships and good levels of te reo and tikanga Māori are being introduced into the programme.

Teachers and students are embarking on a genuine bicultural journey. Students begin each day with karakia, mihi and waiata. There is a sense of ako, that everyone is on a learning journey together and tuakana teina relationships support this.

The board and principal acknowledge the importance of sustaining past initiatives that support bicultural practices. They are in the process of finding ways to strengthen relationships with local Māori families and to research the local Māori history of the area. To further strengthen their strategic direction for promoting Māori success they plan to incorporate Tātaiako, the cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners into teacher appraisals. The board could also consider establishing a Māori advisor position to the board of trustees to better support Māori students’ language, culture and identity.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Waiotira School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The new principal is committed to strengthening good relationships with trustees, staff, students and parents. She is implementing a considered approach to development that supports a new positive identity for the school.

A professional and supportive working culture is evident among teachers. Self-review processes and teacher reflection are purposeful and promote ongoing improvement. Professional learning opportunities contribute to teachers working collaboratively. There is evidence of growing leadership among teachers to sustain growth in teaching and curriculum development.

The new trustees bring a variety of complementary skills to the position. They are committed and prepared to be innovative in order to strengthen and maintain the school. Trustees value the external Ministry of Education support they have received to help them with their new role. They have established a planned approach to their governance role in a short time, enabling good communication and working relationships to develop.

In order to further build its governance capacity and maintain a strategic focus, the board should now continue to:

  • sustain quality practice around planning for the future direction of the school
  • progress with the implementation of authentic and meaningful bicultural approaches
  • connect with community networks to enrich the local curriculum for the students.

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.

The board acknowledges that in order to improve health and safety practices, the self review and documentation around Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) programmes and processes needs strengthening.


Waiotira School provides good quality education for Years 1-6 students. They benefit from well maintained facilities and resources that enhance their learning. Students are supported to achieve well and are confident, capable learners. The school culture fosters students' self belief, encourages community involvement and promotes opportunities to be innovative.

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

Dale Bailey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

About the School


Waiotira, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       15
Boys        7

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

23 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Supplementary Review
Education Review

July 2012
June 2010
June 2009