Waikirikiri School

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

7 Pickering Street, Kaiti, Gisborne

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School Context

Waikirikiri School, also known as Te Kura Reo Rua o Waikirikiri, is located in Gisborne and provides education for 194 students in Years 1 to 8. Almost all students have direct lineage to local iwi. Education is provided through total immersion/te reo rumaki (whānau reo Māori) and te reo Māori enriched programmes within English medium classes, (whānau reo rua).

The school’s overarching vision is ‘Waikirikiri toa – kei runga noa atu’ (‘Waikirikiri winners – growing for tomorrow’). This is supported by the mission statement based on the whakatauaki ‘E Tipu e Rea’ and the tenets of Sir Apirana Ngata. The school promotes the values and principles of whānaungatanga, mahi ngātahi kotahitanga, honotanga, aroha and kaitiakitanga.

The school’s strategic goals are to implement a culturally responsive, innovative curriculum that cultivates learner agency, grows leadership capacity in all staff and develops purposeful partnership and relationships with whānau, iwi, hapū and businesses.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • achievement in te reo Māori in relation to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa
  • outcomes related to engagement and wellbeing.

The school has a long-serving principal and since the February 2017 ERO report, significant staff changes include a newly appointed deputy principal, syndicate leaders and teachers.

The school is a member of the newly established Porou Ariki 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 can show an improvement in overall achievement in literacy and mathematics and across both mediums of instruction between 2018 and 2019. Equitable outcomes for boys are yet to be achieved in reading and writing.

School information for the past three years shows that most students were at or above expectations in reading and the majority in writing and mathematics. In 2019, a significant lift in mathematics achievement schoolwide was evident, with growing parity for boys and girls in whānau reo rua.

Proportionally more whānau reo Māori children met expectations than their whānau reo rua peers in mathematics. In writing more whānau reo rua children met expectation that their peers in whānau reo. Boys are not achieving as well as girls in reading and writing in both whānau reo and whānau reo rua.

The school attests noticeable improvement in the wellbeing and engagement of students.

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

The school accelerates the learning of those students who need this. The school’s 2019 data shows that most students identified as needing to have their learning accelerated in mathematics and reading made appropriate progress.

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 experience a curriculum that is highly responsive to whānau whānui aspirations, celebrating their place and their community. Its design and enactment clearly reflect Te Kura Reo Rua o Waikirikiri. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are well established and evident in practice. Students have a wide range of authentic opportunities to learn, progress and achieve in a kaupapa Māori setting. They have many opportunities to lead in a wide range of significant contexts such as speaking on the paepae and other schoolwide initiatives and programmes.

Students and their whānau have a strong sense of belonging and connection to the kura. Learners are well known by their teachers and relationships are positive and respectful. Teachers use a wide range of effective strategies that consider and extend students’ interests to support learning.

The school has well-developed systems and processes to promote a consistent approach to meet student needs and whānau wellbeing. Staff have effective systems to identify, track and monitor children who need additional learning support. The school uses a wide range of external pastoral care services, that complement the support the staff give to the school community.

School leaders provide culturally-responsive leadership. There is strong coherence within the school’s long and short-term planning. Professional development and teachers’ appraisals and inquiries are well aligned to the school’s strategic direction. Classroom programmes are well linked to the school’s identified valued outcomes. Schoolwide alignment gives strength to the school’s direction in meeting the strategic priorities.

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

School leaders and trustees need to further develop effective processes and practices to know about the impact of school programmes, interventions and teaching practice on learner outcomes. Knowledge about the impact, in conjunction with achievement information, should better support the setting of meaningful targets to accelerate students’ learning and decision making for ongoing improvement and sustainability of practice. Staff need to continue to work on gathering, using and reporting data in both whānau reo and whānau reo rua to better know how effectively they accelerate learning.

Including specific targets to accelerate students’ learning in strategic planning, and reporting on these to the board, should support the school in achieving further positive learning outcomes for children.

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 Waikirikiri 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:

  • a curriculum that shows what knowledge, skills and attributes the community want their children to develop and achieve
  • an approach to students’ learning that extends beyond the classroom
  • schoolwide alignment with the school’s direction so that valued outcomes and strategic priorities are met.

Next steps

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

  • using school achievement information to focus school targets
  • setting strategic and meaningful targets to accelerate the progress and achievement for all learners who need this and monitor these
  • using internal evaluation to know the impact and effectiveness of initiatives and interventions and what is making the biggest difference to students’ learning.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

18 June 2020

About the school

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

1 Context

Waikirikiri School in Gisborne, on the East Coast, provides education for children in Years 1 to 8. The school continues to provide education through the medium of te reo Māori in three te reo rumaki modalities (shared learning spaces), and four reo-rua modalities that provide a te reo Maori enrichment programme within an English medium context. All children attending the school whakapapa to Ngāti Porou. The school's vision, values and curriculum are strongly underpinned by te reo me nga tikanga o Ngāti Porou.

Since the 2013 ERO review, an operations manual for the board has been developed to provide clear expectations for trustee roles and responsibilities. Teachers have participated in ongoing professional learning and development related to leadership, innovative learning environments and assessment of children's learning. While the school is waiting for new buildings, there are challenges for teachers and students as current learning spaces are not designed for the purpose of teaching in an innovative learning environment. The new leadership team has been participating in ongoing coaching and mentoring to build leadership capacity across the school.

The passing away of three valued, senior school leaders in 2016 was a sad loss for the school's community. Haere e te aumangea ki te iti kahurangi.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are expressed in a vision statement from Sir Apirana Ngata:

E tipu e rea mō ngā rā o tō ao

Ko tō ringa ki ngā rākau a te Pākehā

Hei ara mō te tinana

Ko tō ngākau ki ngā tāonga a ō tīpuna Māori Hei tikitiki mō tō māhuna,

Ko tō wairua ki tō atua, Nānā nei ngā mea katoa.

The vision is underpinned by the values Mana Ahua Ake, Whatumanawa, Mauri, Hinengaro, Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho, Te Taha Tinana, Whanaungatanga.

The school’s achievement information shows that over the last three years the vast majority of children achieved at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics. In writing, results show almost all children achieved at or above the National Standard.

In relation to Ngā Whanaketanga the school's achievement information shows that the vast majority of children achieve at or above expected standards in pānui pukapuka. The numbers of children achieving continue to increase over time. In tuhituhi, the number of children achieving at or above expected standards has increased to include the vast majority. In kōrero and pāngarau a significant number of children achieve at or above expected standards.

Teachers gather a range of useful assessment data to make overall teacher judgements (OTJs) about children's progress and achievement. These OTJs are currently moderated internally by teachers and senior leaders.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has embedded teaching as inquiry to promote teacher reflections on innovative learning practices.

The school has also:

continued to implement and refine marau-ā-kura, a place-based curriculum, Te Papatipu o Horouta, which affirms that being Māori is an asset, includes Ngāti Poroutanga language, culture and identity and these initiatives are leading to Māori achieving success

  • reorganised learning spaces in preparation for an expected school upgrade to innovative learning environments
  • implemented teaching practices appropriate for innovative learning environments
  • implemented a range of initiatives that strengthen whānau engagement as informed partners in children's learning
  • continued to provide effective interventions that respond to children with special learning needs.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds effectively to children whose learning and achievement needs accelerating with comprehensive support systems. All children at Waikirikiri School identify as Maori.

Trustees receive regular reports about student achievement and use this information to support decision-making and strategic planning. Leaders analyse data to track and monitor groups and individual children's progress. This data is used well to inform decision making about next steps for professional learning and development. Teachers use achievement information well to identify the names, numbers and learning needs of all children. Many teachers use achievement data and learning progressions well to inform planning that responds to individual student learning needs.

Important next steps are to:

  • develop a consistent approach to implementing daily and weekly collaborative planning. This is likely to promote further clarity for teachers as they reflect on how effectively they respond to the learning needs of children whose achievement needs accelerating
  • strengthen the processes for making OTJs. Leaders and teachers should review assessment tools and processes to include appropriate norm-referenced tools. In addition, teachers should consider moderating assessment with other schools. This is likely to improve the dependability of the school's achievement information.

A particular feature of the school is the comprehensive range of initiatives to promote success for children and whānau. This holistic approach is promoting equitable conditions for learning and participation and a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing for children and whānau. Strengths that contribute to accelerated learning for students requiring support are:

  • the integration of meaningful, authentic local contexts for learning
  • planned interventions with specialist teachers and teacher aides, and individual in-class learning opportunities with teachers
  • strong and informed partnerships with whānau that support children's learning at home
  • effective use of digital technology to motivate children and consolidate their learning
  • individual education plans for targeted children and effective strategies that increasingly promote children's ability to manage their own learning.

Culturally responsive practices are strongly evident at all levels of the life of the school.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum, including the vision and values, are effectively promoting equity and excellence for children. Teachers work as one whānau across both the Whānau Reo-Rua and Whānau Rumaki. This collaborative approach to reciprocal learning is benefitting children. Particular features of the school's curriculum are:

  • a place-based curriculum, Te Papatipu o Horouta, that affirms children's language, culture and identity
  • well known school kawa (values) that promote a positive and responsive culture where children are ready for learning
  • the collective participation of students, teachers and whanau in the development of the curriculum that includes an appropriate focus on literacy, mathematics, pāngarau and te reo matatini
  • rich oral language learning opportunities
  • the integration of learning dispositions that support children as powerful learners.

Transitions into the school are well planned and include familiar learning environments for new entrant children and their whānau. Children who transition to intermediate and high school return to Waikirikiri School as inspirational role models. Priority learners have many opportunities to be leaders through tuakana-teina relationships. Children and whānau benefit from a wide range of opportunities to experience success in sporting, artistic, cultural and environmental activities.

Teachers are developing their skills as reflective practitioners. They have identified a shared philosophy of teaching linked to innovative learning practice. Student achievement information and strategies that promote success for individuals and groups of children are shared at regular meetings. There are examples of well-planned, individualised programmes for children whose learning needs acceleration. They promote caring and positive relationships amongst children. A settled and positive tone in well-presented and well-resourced classrooms is promoting high levels of engagement and enthusiasm for learning.

The priority placed on increasing student agency has resulted in the introduction of:

  • a graduate profile with clearly identified outcomes
  • increased opportunities for children to follow their own interests for learning within inquiry topics
  • accessing learning anywhere, anytime
  • use of strategies that support students to take more responsibility for their own learning.

School leaders should ensure that these good practices are implemented consistently across all modalities. Teachers should continue to extend on and explore strategies such as the use of individualised learning progressions that enable students to identify their own learning needs and next steps.

The principal and senior leaders continue to provide strong, culturally responsive leadership. They promote the school's vision for equity and excellence through clear, high expectations and reflective practice. Leaders place high value on consultation, and actively seek and respond to whānau perspectives and aspirations. New initiatives are carefully researched, and aligned to Waikirikiri values and beliefs. The principal makes a positive contribution to the wider educational and social community. She holds high expectations for the ongoing professional development of all staff, has implemented an appropriate appraisal system, and fosters emergent leadership amongst the teaching team. Māori children experience meaningful opportunities to build their understanding of the advantages and significance of their cultural heritage.

Trustees work in a positive partnership with school leaders to provide effective governance. They are strongly representative of the school's community and bring a range of useful skills and expertise to benefit the school. New trustees are well supported by experienced trustees and attend trustee training for aspects of their roles and responsibilities. They receive regular reports about progress towards meeting the strategic aims. Good use is made of internal evaluation processes to review strategic plans, policies, and aspects of health and safety. Trustees seek external support for the annual appraisal of the principal, as well as advice and guidance for aspects of governance. There are action plans with clearly documented outcomes aligned to strategic aims. Good stewardship places the school in a strong position to sustain positive outcomes for children and promote their success.

It is important to set clear and specific targets in the school's charter related to the children whose learning requires acceleration. Principal's reports to the board should directly and overtly report on progress in relation to these targets. In addition, teacher inquiries should be clearly aligned to charter targets with a focus on the children whose learning requires acceleration. This alignment is likely to support the school to respond with greater clarity to the specific strengths and learning needs

5 Going forward

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

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Factors contributing to acceleration and achievement are:

  • effective governance
  • collaborative professional leadership
  • comprehensive frameworks and documentation for tracking and monitoring the aims and goals of the Charter to promote equitable outcomes for all children
  • a collaboratively developed local curriculum that maintains and enhances children's identity as Māori and Ngāti Porou
  • an holistic approach to empowering whānau and enhancing children's readiness for learning
  • a strategic and proactive approach to researching and implementing innovative learning practices that enhance learning.

Leaders should give further consideration to:

  • building consistency for planning and teaching practices, including daily and weekly planning
  • exploring strategies that enable students to identify their own learning needs and next steps
  • strengthening the dependability of overall teacher judgements
  • more explicitly focusing achievement targets on children whose learning needs accelerating and aligning these to internal evaluation and teacher inquiries
  • a strategic and ongoing approach to training for trustees.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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

Trustees and leaders should make more effective use of achievement information, school wide:

  • to further inform and enable deliberate teaching
  • to set specific annual targets related to students whose progress needs accelerating.

These actions should support a targeted approach to meeting children's learning needs and ensure teachers regularly reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching. 

Lynda Pura-Watson Deputy Chief Review Officer

23 February 2017

About the school 


Kaiti, Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 59% Boys 41%

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

December 2016

Date of this report

23 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

July 2013

August 2010

April 2005