Te Waotu School

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Summary

Te Waotu School is located approximately 18km south west of Putaruru, and caters for children in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 121 includes 12 Māori students. The school prides itself on its long history and recognises Rongowhitiao Arekatera Te Wera a Te Puni, a Waotu Māori chief who played an important part in establishing the first place of learning at Te Waotu.

At the end of 2015 a new principal was appointed. The deputy principal and junior school leader were new to their roles in 2017. Internal evaluation information has shown a need to update the school’s local curriculum and this is underway in consultation with the community. The board of trustees understand their governance roles and are committed to improving learner outcomes for all children.

School-wide data shows most children are achieving National Standards in reading and mathematics. Children do not achieve as well in writing with girls achieving at higher rates than boys. School leadership have recognised this trend and have taken a well-managed approach to professional growth for teachers, particularly in writing, to address children’s achievement levels.

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

The school is responding effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Processes related to governance, leadership, teaching capability and partnerships with parents, are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices. Further development is needed in aspects of school operations and teaching and learning practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • complete the review of the school’s local curriculum to reflect agreed expectations for teaching and learning and community aspirations

  • strengthen the bicultural dimension across the school

  • develop school-wide achievement targets that include all children at risk and report to trustees about how effectively progress is being accelerated throughout the year

  • ensure performance management systems meet the Education Council NZ guidelines.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school is responding effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Data gathered and reported by the school, in relation to National Standards shows that a significant number of children, including Maori are achieving at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics. In writing children’s achievement is well below that of reading and mathematics with girls out performing boys. Leaders are making a positive response to this through targeted professional development about effective teaching practice in writing, and extra group teaching initiatives. The school accesses specialist services for children that have particular high learning or behaviour needs. Their progress is closely monitored and reported to parents.

The school gathers achievement information using a range of appropriate tests and strategies. They use this data, along with information gathered during teaching, to make judgements about each child’s achievement in relation to National Standards. The recent school-wide focus on moderation processes is contributing to dependable teacher judgements.

Since the last review the school has joined a Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL) to work collaboratively with other education providers in the area. The CoL is currently developing an achievement challenge to improve outcomes for children whose learning needs acceleration.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

Processes related to governance, leadership, teaching capability and parent partnerships are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

Trustees are governing the school effectively and work closely with the principal. They have accessed appropriate training and clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. Trustees closely scrutinise achievement information to track children’s learning and progress. There is a strong focus on improving learning outcomes for children whose progress requires acceleration.

The principal is providing clear direction about teaching and learning. He is focused on building teacher capability through improving school processes and providing professional learning opportunities for teachers that target at risk students. Leaders understand the importance of internal evaluation and are strategically prioritising next steps. Teachers are well supported by leaders to improve their practice and strong collaborative relationships are evident amongst staff. Good-quality leadership is contributing to positive learning outcomes for children.

Teachers work collaboratively in the best interests of children. They plan effectively and respond to children’s needs in positive learning environments. Children whose learning is at risk are clearly identified, well monitored and deliberate teaching strategies are implemented to accelerate their learning. The special education needs coordinator accesses specialist services for children with additional learning or behaviour needs. Progress for these children is closely monitored and reported to parents. Teaching practices effectively promote children’s knowledge and understanding of their learning and children can speak with confidence about their learning and progress.

Strong learning partnerships between the school, parents and families have been established. Parents are well informed about the achievement and progress of their children. They are actively involved in their children’s learning through a range of school initiatives. Children benefit from close learning focused partnerships between the school and families.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

Further development is needed in aspects of school operations and teaching and learning practices.

Performance management systems do not meet the Education Council guidelines. The school needs to develop and consistently implement agreed processes for teacher inquiry, evidence gathering and goal-setting in relation to the practicing teacher criteria.

The school’s approach to targeting and monitoring the achievement and progress of at risk learners is an area for development. There is a need to develop school-wide achievement targets that include all children identified at risk, and report to trustees how effectively their progress is being accelerated throughout the year.

The school has begun to review the local curriculum. This needs to be completed so the curriculum reflects community aspirations and agreed expectations for teaching and learning.

Leaders and teachers need to ensure consistency of practice that reflects New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. The school charter clearly outlines ways to value culture, language and identity and this needs to be fully implemented. This was signalled in the previous ERO report in 2014 and now needs to become a priority.

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.

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the implementation of performance management systems. In order to address this the board must:

  1. Develop and implement policies and procedures for appraisal of staff.
    [s 77(c) State Sector Act 1988]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • Ensure that processes relating to the endorsement of teachers’ practicing certificates meet the requirements of the Education Council NZ.

Going forward

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

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices. Agreed next steps are to:

  • review and define the school’s local curriculum to reflect agreed expectations for teaching and learning and community aspirations

  • strengthen the bicultural dimension across the school

School leaders recognise the need to

  • develop school-wide achievement targets that include all identified children at risk and report to trustees how effectively progress is being accelerated throughout the year for individuals and groups of children.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

12 October 2017

About the school

Location

South West of Putaruru

Ministry of Education profile number

2025

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

121

Gender composition

Girls 44% Boys 56%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 79%
Māori 10%
South East Asian 4%
Other 7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

12 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2014
Education Review November 2009
Education Review August 2006

1 Context

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

Te Waotu School, located 18 km south west of Putaruru, provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review the school roll of 116 included 15 students who identified as Māori. The school continues to operate a Ministry of Education approved enrolment scheme to manage roll growth. In 2011 the school celebrated its 125 years jubilee.

Since the 2009 ERO review the school’s roll has remained constant. Leadership of the school has remained the same and there have been only two changes in the teaching team. Two new trustees were elected at the 2013 board elections. The board has undertaken significant refurbishment of many classrooms. Teachers have undertaken extensive professional learning and development in the areas of literacy and mathematics.

Students and teachers benefit from learning and teaching in spacious, well-presented and resourced learning environments. The 'Waotu Way' defines clear expectations for student behaviour in the school. These are well understood by students and contribute to a culture that supports learning within the school.

Te Waotu School has a very positive ERO reporting history and has responded well to the area for review and development in the previous ERO report about strengthening the reporting of student achievement information.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of student achievement information to support student learning.

School leaders have developed an assessment schedule that provides a detailed framework for teachers to collect an appropriate range of achievement information, especially in literacy and mathematics. They analyse school-wide achievement information to report to the board of trustees and wider community. This information is also used to identify priorities for teacher professional development and performance management processes.

The board of trustees is well informed about student achievement and progress, and makes good use of this information to inform decision making and resource allocation. Trustees set appropriate targets in the school charter focussed on raising achievement levels, including those who are 'at risk' of not reaching expected levels.

Teachers make effective use of achievement information to group students for instruction and to plan to meet their different learning needs. They provide parents with comprehensive information about their children’s achievement and progress, including information in relation to the National Standards. Written reports include useful information about how parents can support their children’s learning at home.

Student achievement information from 2013 shows that achievement levels in writing and mathematics are above national comparisons, while reading levels were similar. Maori students achieved at similar levels to their non-Māori peers at the school in mathematics, and slightly lower in reading and writing. The school is continuing to develop processes to support teachers to make robust judgements in relation to National Standards.

The school makes a sustained and conscious effort to recognise and celebrate student success in all areas of endeavour, both within and beyond the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

A particular strength of the school is the shared commitment to the school’s values and the 'Waotu Way' that support children’s sense of identity, pride and wellbeing.

Important features of the school’s curriculum are the:

  • use of learning contexts that are real and meaningful for students
  • high priority given to teaching and learning of literacy and mathematics
  • integration of local history and landmarks
  • active contribution of parents and members of the wider community to enhance learning opportunities for students
  • long standing participation in the enviro-schools programme, including gaining green-gold status in 2013.

Teachers have developed affirming and respectful relationships with students that contribute to settled and engaged learning environments. They use a variety of appropriate teaching strategies that promote positive learning outcomes for students.

A recent school-wide initiative has been to build teacher’s professional practice through regular reflection and critical discussion with their colleagues about key aspects of their teaching. This initiative could be further enhanced by linking these discussions to the achievement and progress of students who are 'at risk' of not reaching expected levels as identified in the school targets.

Students have benefited from increased access to portable computer devices to support their classroom learning.

Teachers and school leaders are continuing to investigate how to make the most effective use of these resources to improve learning outcomes. There are an extensive range of opportunities for students to experience success in sporting, cultural, academic, leadership and traditional rural events and activities.

ERO and school leaders agree that the curriculum could be enhanced by developing:

  • an agreed understanding of teaching strategies that empower students to take greater responsibility for their learning
  • shared expectations for teaching and learning in each curriculum area.

This development is necessary to guide the work of teachers and bring about greater school-wide consistency.

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

Māori students’ identity and sense of belonging is enhanced through:

  • the productive partnerships that are being established with whānau and local hapu
  • opportunities to participate in school-wide kapa haka and traditional Māori games
  • full school visits to local marae
  • valuing local Māori history in learning programmes
  • participation in programmes to enhance the local environment including propagating and planting trees at Pikitu marae.

ERO and the principal agree that priority should be given to:

  • developing and implementing a school-wide, sequential te reo Māori programme
  • further incorporating school protocols that reflect Māori perspectives.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Te Waotu School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the board is supportive of the principal and teaching team, and is providing effective governance for the school
  • the experienced and knowledgeable principal has a reflective approach to leadership and is focussed on school improvement
  • there are high levels of community support for the school
  • teachers work collegially and are committed to ongoing professional learning and development
  • self-review processes are well established and contribute to school improvement.
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.

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

31 March 2014

About the School

Location

South west of Putaruru

Ministry of Education profile number

2025

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

116

Gender composition

Boys 54%

Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other

82%

13%

5%

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

31 March 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

August 2006