Rawhitiroa School

Rawhitiroa School - 25/02/2020

School Context

Rawhitiroa School, for students in Years 1 to 8, is located east of Eltham. The current roll is 48 and six students identify as Māori.

The school’s mission statement is ‘Preparing our children for their future. Children preparing themselves for their future’. The expressed vision is ‘for all students who rode in the Rawhitiroa Waka, to have developed learner qualities and show the traits of whanaungatanga, aroha, kaitiakitanga and ahuatanga; students will demonstrate respect for people and for property and the environment, think of others, themselves and the surroundings by acting sensibly, safely and appropriately’.

Annual achievement objectives for 2019, seek to increase the number of students achieving at or above the relevant curriculum level in reading, writing and mathematics. Alongside this, a specific target focuses on accelerating the progress of learners in the junior school below expectation in reading.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • attendance.

There have been some changes to teaching staff and trustees since the July 2016 ERO report. During 2019, school personnel have participated in professional development in Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and student-led learning. Teachers also undertook professional learning to improve the quality of teaching and learning in mathematics.

The school actively participates in the Central Taranaki Kāhui Ako.

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’s reported achievement data overtime shows equitable outcomes for students are achieved. At the end 2019, school achievement information shows most students achieved at or above expectations for their year level in reading, writing and mathematics. Trends since 2017 for Year 8 leavers show nearly all achieve at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

School reported attendance data shows high levels of attendance for most students.

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

Teachers are purposeful in their approach to accelerate the progress and achievement of those students who require this.

Data from the end of 2018 to the end of 2019 shows an increase in the numbers of students achieving at curriculum expectations. Many of the 2019 identified students achieved accelerated progress and learning in reading, writing or mathematics.

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?

Students actively participate in a range of well-considered learning experiences within the school and local community aligned to the school’s evolving localised curriculum. Children are supported to develop attributes and skills conducive to self-led learning across the breath of curriculum experiences provided.

Students’ wellbeing, sense of belonging and academic progress are enhanced in an inclusive learning environment. The school’s ‘WAKA’ values are taught and enacted. Respectful reciprocal relationships promote a positive school culture. Senior students have plentiful opportunities to undertake leadership roles, which further enrich the culture of the school.

Students requiring their progress accelerated receive appropriate support. Tracking and monitoring processes are thorough, promoting a timely response to the learning and engagement needs of individuals. Effective strategies are in place that enable parents and whānau to be involved in their child’s learning, including support for learning at home. Transition to school is well managed. The developing partnerships with early learning services support this. Significant resourcing by trustees, including the allocation of additional personnel, impacts positively on student outcomes.

Together, leaders and the school’s community have reaffirmed the school’s strategic vision and values. Trustees and staff work collaboratively to enact their shared expectations for learner success. Practices that promote partnership meaningfully involve families and whānau in decision making in relation to curriculum innovations. Strategic and annual plans suitably reflect relevant priorities and guide developments that contribute to improved outcomes for students.

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

The school continues to implement a range of innovations to strengthen curriculum delivery, build teacher capability and meaningfully include culturally responsive practice. As these actions progress, leaders should continue to support teachers to inquire into their teaching practice and use evaluation to establish how effectively improvement planning achieve the schools’ vision and valued outcomes for learners.

Changes have occurred to the teaching team. It is timely to strengthen the collective capability of teachers to:

  • use effective teaching strategies aligned to curriculum innovations

  • build assessment practice to comprehensively plan for accelerated progress and promote student-led learning.

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

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.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • students participating in a rich curriculum that is responsive to their needs and interests
  • the inclusive culture of the school that is based on respectful, reciprocal relationships within the school and community
  • the collaboration of school leaders and teachers to achieve the school’s vision for learners.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to build the capability of individual teachers to support student-led learning and the desired outcomes of the evolving curriculum
  • using teacher inquiry and effective evaluation practice to know how well innovations improve teaching and learning.

Darcy Te Hau

Director Review and Improvement Services Central (Acting)

Central Region

25 February 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 26, Female 22

Ethnic composition

Māori 6

NZ European/ Pākehā 42

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

25 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Evaluation July 2016

Education Review January 2013

Education Review December 2009

Rawhitiroa School - 12/07/2016

1 Context

Rawhitiroa School, located on the outskirts of Eltham in South Taranaki, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this evaluation, 40 students from the wider Eltham, area were enrolled, with 16 identifying as Māori.

The school is involved with a community-led project that provides a pest-free sanctuary for birdlife at the nearby Lake Rotokare. Students contribute well to their local community and learn about environmental responsibility in an authentic context.

Since ERO's January 2013 review there have been a number of changes in staffing and board personnel.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children were developed after parent community consultation. They include a desire for students to be self-motivated learners who are confident, respectful, culturally aware and versatile and flexible thinkers. There is an expectation that they will show an awareness and understanding of the environment. These values are evident in practice.

The school’s achievement information shows that most students, including Māori, achieve at the National Standard expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Girls achieve better than boys, particularly in reading and writing. The next step is for teachers to accelerate boy's progress and those learners not yet achieving at the National Standard.

The board has identified mathematics as an area for attention and has set a target and strategies to improve student achievement. Teachers have focused their professional development on mathematics and are inquiring into how their teaching practice is enabling accelerated progress for students at risk of not achieving the National Standard.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has strengthened its processes for assessment, analysis, recording and using achievement information. This has enabled better tracking and reporting of student progress throughout the year.

Teachers use a range of information to inform their assessment judgements. They now have a carefully considered approach to moderation to facilitate consistent assessment judgements. The process includes working with similar schools in the region.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The needs of the small number of Māori learners at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes are identified. Strengthened action plans are monitored termly by teachers and progress is evaluated. The board has resourced strategies to support accelerated progress and initial data suggest these strategies are having a positive impact.

Te ao Māori is evident in the school curriculum through structured opportunities for students and teachers to become familiar with the local environment and its history.

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

Students at risk of not yet achieving the National Standards expectations have individual action plans and additional strategies which are well monitored.

Apart from well-trained teacher aides, the board has provided additional resourcing to facilitate more individual teacher-student interaction.

Profiles, 'Road to Success', report student achievement to parents in plain language. They give detailed information that shows skills and knowledge achieved. Parents are supported to help their child at home with next learning steps.

School achievement information indicates most students' progress is accelerated.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The school's well-developed curriculum, processes and policies effectively reflect the school's vision, values and goals. There is clear alignment between the board's strategic goals, relevant annual achievement targets, performance appraisal, and teaching and learning.

The strategic and annual goals have been developed in relation to the school’s mission statement: 'Preparing children for their future. Children preparing themselves for their future'. This includes encouraging and challenging students to achieve to a high level and giving them the necessary skills. Teaching the skills of reading, writing and mathematics is a priority. The curriculum has a focus on science and environmental studies.

A positive school tone is apparent. Classrooms are settled, learning-focused environments. Relationships between teachers and students, and the students themselves, are respectful and supportive. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning within an inclusive classroom culture where their views are valued. Senior students have a number of opportunities to develop and practise their leadership skills.

The principal works collaboratively with teachers and board and has built sound relationships with the community. She has established appropriate school systems and leads professional development and teacher practice.

Rawhitiroa School is improvement focused. The board regularly reviews procedures and monitors all governance practices, including student achievement. Teachers regularly reflect on and review curriculum strategies and initiatives. The next step is to continue to develop and document internal evaluation processes to guide school practices.

Considerable consultation occurs with the community as part of regular review and evaluation. The responses are well-considered and contribute to ongoing improvement.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Students at risk of not yet achieving National Standards are well supported and many are making accelerated progress. More consideration can now be given to the majority of students who are at the National Standards and could be in the above expectation category.

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

6 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 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

  • Processes for appointing staff

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • Attendance

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

The board, school leaders and teachers should continue to:

  • update the documented procedures for internal evaluation to be consistent with current practice
  • further improve teacher planning to clearly show what deliberate strategies are in place for identified students at risk of not achieving National Standards. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

12 July 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 26, Female 14

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

12 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2013

December 2009

June 2006