Lake Rerewhakaaitu School

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School - 26/08/2019

School Context

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School is located approximately 40km south east of Rotorua and provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The school’s current roll of 70 includes 36 Māori students.

Since the 2015 ERO review, flexible learning environments have been created and there have been some changes to the teaching team. New trustees have been appointed including the board chairperson.

The school’s mission focuses on ‘preparing the students of today for the possibilities of tomorrow.’ Priority is placed on empowering students to reach their potential, stand tall in their cultures and make a positive contribution to society. Promoting the values of excellence and innovation, diversity and respect, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, wellbeing/hauora and perseverance.

The school’s strategic goals are based on providing rich learning opportunities and developing skills for life-long learning. There is also a focus on developing student agency through inquiry-based learning, supported through the use of digital technology.

Teachers have undertaken a range of professional learning and development in oral language, writing and mathematics, culturally responsive practices and dyslexia. The school is a member of the Te Kāhui Ako o Reporoa/Community of Learning (CoL) and the principal is the CoL leader. Some trustees have participated in Treaty of Waitangi workshops.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 achieving excellent outcomes for most students and working towards equity for all.

The school’s data from 2018 shows that almost all students are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics, and most are achieving in writing.

Māori students are working at comparable levels to their Pākehā peers in reading and mathematics, while some disparity remains in writing. Girls are performing highly in all areas. Boys are working at slightly lower levels than girls in reading and mathematics. Boys’ achievement in writing remains an area to improve. Data over the last two years shows significant improvement for Māori in all areas of the curriculum.

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

The school is accelerating learning for Māori and other students that need it. Recently analysed achievement information shows effective acceleration for at-risk students in reading, writing and mathematics. Students with additional learning needs are making appropriate progress in relation to their individual goals.

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?

Strong professional leadership guides all aspects of school development. Leaders set high expectations and have a clear vision for continuous improvement. They promote and participate in professional learning and development to build and sustain teacher and staff capability. Clear guidelines have been implemented to promote effective teaching and learning across the school. A strong focus on processes that guide teachers to reflect on their practice are evident. Leaders implement a comprehensive approach to teachers’ induction, coaching and mentoring.

Teachers effectively use deliberate strategies to enhance learning. Students benefit from warm and affirming relationships in a calm and settled environment. Teachers provide clear intentions and goals for learning. Students have access to digital technology to enhance and support learning. Planning is differentiated to support individual student achievement and their progress is monitored through appropriate assessment information. Teachers view parents and whānau as valued partners in learning.

The school has a highly inclusive culture for learning. Students with additional needs are well catered for through individualised planning. There is a strategic approach to supporting learning through targeted programmes and interventions. Leaders effectively liaise with a wide range of outside agencies to support student learning and behaviour.

Effective, culturally responsive practices support student learning. Whānau relationships are supporting the learning of te reo Māori across the school. Liaison with iwi is strengthening the teaching and learning of local history. Kapa haka is valued and promoted within the school and all students participate in the wider community’s annual cultural festival. Māori students are affirmed in their language, culture and identity.

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

Teachers should give priority to implementing practices that support students to have greater understanding of their current achievement and next learning steps. While some students are aware of their next steps this is not yet consistent across the school, particularly for at-risk students. This would support teachers to provide more specific feedback to students about their progress.

There is a need to refine the school’s targeted approach to accelerating the achievement of at-risk students. Leaders gather information on individual student achievement and report this regularly to the board of trustees. Leaders and trustees should implement a more aligned approach to accelerating achievement including:

  • setting charter targets that identify the number of students that require acceleration
  • closely monitoring the accelerated progress of targeted students and reporting this to the board
  • linking accelerated progress of targeted students to teachers’ reflective inquiries
  • regularly reporting to the board the effectiveness of school-wide initiatives for at-risk students.

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 Lake Rerewhakaaitu School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • leadership for learning that is focused on improving outcomes for all
  • an inclusive culture that supports the individual needs of students
  • integration of te ao Māori that contributes to high levels of student engagement and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • aspects of student agency to grow fully independent learners
  • the management and use of achievement data to support effective internal evaluation.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review and strengthen crisis management and pandemic planning.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

26 August 2019

About the school


Rerewhakaaitu, Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 38 Female 32

Ethnic composition

Māori 34
NZ European/Pākahā 36

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

26 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015
Education Review December 2011
Education Review December 2008

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School - 24/02/2015


Lake Rerewhakaaitu School provides high-quality, inclusive education in a learning-focused environment. Good systems are in place to promote student safety and wellbeing, and there are supportive educational partnerships among students, parents and staff. Students achieve very well, and targeted programmes respond to those achieving below expected levels.

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

1 Context

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

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School is a full primary school that caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The school is located in close proximity to Mount Tarawera and Lake Rerewhakaaitu, and within the tribal boundaries of Ngāti Rangitihi. It is 40 kilometres south east of Rotorua. The school has a roll of 86 students who learn in 4 multi-year-level classrooms. There are 39 students who identify as Māori and whakapapa to iwi throughout Aotearoa.

The school is actively involved, alongside other primary schools, as well as the local college and kindergarten, in the Reporoa cluster. This involvement includes professional learning and sharing among teachers, inter-schools sports and kapa haka festivals. The Learning Change Network (LCN), a Ministry of Education initiative is providing a forum for these schools to respond to achievement challenges.

The board, principal and staff have remained constant in recent years, providing positive continuity for school direction, and ongoing development and relationships with families, whānau and the community. Concepts of whanaungatanga (family/belonging) and manaakitanga (caring) underpin the school’s safe and inclusive culture.

Since ERO’s last review in 2011, school priorities for development have included the creation of modern learning environments and digital learning. In addition, there is a strong focus on promoting teacher and student agency. This focus emphasises the importance of students having a say in what and how they are learning, and knowing how they are going. In response to this, teachers are able to decide what to teach and how to teach it.

2 Learning

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

The school has highly effective processes for gathering, analysing and using student achievement information to make positive changes to outcomes for all learners.

Overall, students are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics and enjoy success in a broad range of other curriculum areas. The school’s 2013 public achievement information shows that in writing and mathematics, most students achieved at or above National Standards, and well above national and regional comparisons. In reading, a significant majority achieved at or above National Standards. For Māori students the information shows similar levels of achievement to others in the school in writing and mathematics, and that they are slightly below their peers for reading. These results also show that Māori students in this school achieve very well in relation to regional and national comparisons.

School achievement information also shows that while some students enter school below expected levels, most make good progress or exceed expectations as they progress through the school.

The school has developed clear expectations for assessment practice and teachers use an appropriate range of assessment tools to inform planning and teaching, monitor progress and achievement, and report to students and their parents. Teachers are skilled at using and interpreting this information. They identify groups, differentiate and modify programmes and teaching strategies in an ongoing way, and identify appropriate support or extension for students at risk of underachieving.

There are well-established moderation processes that enable teachers to make reliable overall judgements about student’s progress and achievement. This in turn enables the principal to collate and deeply analyse school-wide data to make decisions and report patterns and trends in achievement to trustees and school community. The board is well informed about student progress and achievement in relation to appropriate and responsive school goals and targets. They use this information well to resource programmes and initiatives that enhance outcomes for students.

The principal, teachers and the board regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of the school curriculum, including interventions and initiatives designed to support or extend priority learners and accelerate their progress.

The school has an increasingly deliberate focus on involving parents as partners in their children’s learning. The school and ERO agree that this is an important and ongoing priority for enhancing educational outcomes for all students.

3 Curriculum

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

The Lake Rerewhakaaitu School curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The curriculum is well designed and reflects the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. It also strongly reflects local priorities and is highly responsive to students’ diverse interests, strengths and learning needs across all year levels.

Features and strengths of the school's rich and broad curriculum include:

  • an emphasis on literacy and mathematics, while promoting a balance of visual and performing arts, science, technology, social sciences, health and physical education
  • inquiry learning where students engage in research that adds depth and complexity to their thinking, knowledge and learning
  • well-organised and effectively resourced modern classrooms that support and contribute to collaborative learning among teachers and students
  • the purposeful and integrated use of digital tools that engage students and complement more traditional approaches to teaching and learning.

Close and supportive relationships are highly evident between students and staff. These relationships are underpinned by a strong sense of community and mutual respect, and the belief that ‘we are all learners and capable of learning’.

Teachers are knowledgable and reflective about current approaches to teaching and learning, and willingly implement new ideas and innovative practices. ERO observed highly effective classroom practices where teachers:

  • empower students to take increasing responsibility for setting their own goals and managing their learning
  • listen to students, respond to individual learning styles, and value their ideas about learning contexts and teachers’ practice
  • promote tuakana/teina (peer) relationships that enable students to learn from one another within classrooms and across the school.

In order to further promote student and teacher agency there would be benefit in continuing to identify, develop and use strategies that extend collaborative teaching and learning practices across the school.

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

There is a strong commitment throughout the school to value the place of Māori as tangata whenua and promote Māori language, culture and identity. This commitment is underpinned by the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi and recognises the inherent capability and potential of Māori learners.

Many Māori students experience high levels of academic success. Māori students stand tall as Māori and make significant contributions to the life of the school. Other opportunities for Māori students to succeed as Māori include:

  • school protocols that enable them to participate as tangata whenua
  • kapa haka within the school and wider community
  • learning contexts that promote Māori language, knowledge and culture
  • mentoring and leadership programmes provided by specialist tutors from within the school and wider community
  • the strong presence of Māori parents and whānau in school activities, classroom programmes, learning conversations and school consultation.

These initiatives are well supported by staff who acknowledge the importance of continuing to build their knowledge, skill and confidence in implementing culturally responsive teaching and learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Lake Rerewhakaaitu is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • The board chair is knowledgeable, experienced, and is providing highly effective leadership for school governance. Trustees contribute complementary skills and experience and maintain an unrelenting focus on improving outcomes for all learners. The board engages in self review that includes parent and community ideas and aspirations for shaping school improvement and strategic direction.
  • The principal is a knowledgeable and well-respected educational leader for the school and community. She is an innovative and highly skilled facilitator of learning and curriculum development for this school and the wider education community.
  • Teachers are reflective practitioners who work collaboratively and effectively to promote and extend positive outcomes for all students. There is a culture of high expectations for behaviour and learning. These expectations are valued and promoted at all levels within the school and parent community. There is also a strong commitment for sustaining and improving the school's achievement levels for Māori 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.


Lake Rerewhakaaitu School provides high-quality, inclusive education in a learning-focused environment. Good systems are in place to promote student safety and wellbeing, and there are supportive educational partnerships among students, parents and staff. Students achieve very well, and targeted programmes respond to those achieving below expected levels.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 February 2015

About the School


Lake Rerewhakaaitu

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 45

Boys 41

Ethnic composition




Other European





Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

24 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

December 2008

October 2005