Whataroa School

Whataroa School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within six months of the Education Review Office and Whataroa School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website. www.ero.govt.nz


Whataroa School is a small Year 0 to 8 school situated in South Westland. The school draws its learners from throughout the local region. Its mission is “to gift our children the passion to be the best they can be in all areas of learning.”

Whataroa School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are to:

  • sustain a future focused, local and culturally responsive curriculum
  • empower learners to make powerful and positive choices about their future
  • foster a strengths-based reciprocal relationship between school, whānau and the wider community.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Whataroa School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate the impact of the school’s localised curriculum on developing learners’ key competencies and foundational skills.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • learners and whānau have identified the values and attributes the school should develop for its learners to thrive in a future focused world
  • to build these competencies, together with foundational literacy and numeracy skills, through the context of Aotearoa New Zealand histories.

The school expects to see:

  • an increase in learners’ knowledge of both local and national histories, as well as the development of inquiry skills
  • further development of productive partnerships with parents, whānau and the community to contribute to children’s learning and improved achievement in foundational literacy and numeracy skills.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to evaluate the impact of its localised curriculum on developing learners’ key competencies and foundational skills:

  • Commitment to strengthen learners’ connections to local tāhuhu kōrero and whenua / history and place.
  • Enthusiasm to build on learners’ curiosity in and engagement with learning through an Aotearoa New Zealand histories lens.
  • High levels of confidence and support from the school community.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • developing success indicators that highlight growth in learner confidence, competencies and foundational skills, which enable the school to evaluate the impact of their localised curriculum
  • developing teacher capability and collective capacity in embedding an integrated approach to building learners’ competencies and foundational skills through Aotearoa New Zealand histories contexts.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

13 March 2024

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.  educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Whataroa School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2023 to 2026

As of June 2023, the Whataroa School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Whataroa School, School Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

13 March 2024

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Whataroa School - 13/08/2019

School Context

Whataroa School is a small rural primary school for students in Years 1-8, in South Westland. It has a current roll of 35 students from a diverse range of ethnicities. Students learn in two multi-level classrooms.

The school’s vision is to ‘Educate for the 21st Century’. Its mission is ‘To gift our children the passion to be the best they can be in all areas of learning’. This mission statement is underpinned by the values of Manaakitanga|Respect, Ako|Study and Advise, Titiro whakamua|Looking forward, and Ahuareka|Celebration.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the school’s expectations
  • wellbeing for success.

Since the 2014 ERO review the school has had several changes in teaching staff. The principal teaches full time. The board has had a number of changes through this period of time.

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?

Overtime the school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for many of its students

The school is effective in achieving positive outcomes in relation to school expectations for most students in reading and for the large majority of its students in writing and mathematics. There has been sustained improvement over time in reading and writing with a downward trend in overall achievement in mathematics. The school has developed a range of targeted responses to raise achievement in mathematics.

Disparity for boys in literacy from 2016 to 2017, has been eliminated in 2018.

The school is achieving equitable outcomes in the areas of student wellbeing for success.

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

The school is effective in accelerating the progress of those students who are achieving below school expectations. All students who need to make progress in their learning are identified, planned for and closely monitored within their class and by the principal.

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?

The principal builds relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community to the achieve the school’s valued outcomes.

The principal ensures:

  • an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing
  • that community and cultural resources are integrated into relevant aspects of the school curriculum
  • that the school’s teaching programme is structured so that all students have maximum opportunity to learn and achieve at or above the appropriate standard.

The board actively serves and represents the school and community. The board’s relationship with the principal is positive and productive; this collaborative approach ensures that identified priorities are effectively resourced.

The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources and expertise to increase learning opportunities and enhance student achievement and wellbeing. Curriculum design and enactment is responsive to the aspirations of students, parents and whānau. Leaders and teachers recognise the importance of student and community voice and use it as a key resource when deciding priorities for inquiry and improvement. Opportunities are provided for students to participate in and experience learning opportunities outside their local community.

Students participate and learn in a strong, caring, collaborative, and inclusive learning community. The learning environment is managed in ways that support student participation, engagement and engagement in learning. Teachers and students construct challenging but realistic goals and success criteria. The school provides parents and whānau with information that encourages family participation in learning opportunities and enables them to constructively support their children’s learning.

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

The school has identified and ERO’s evaluation confirms, that the school’s internal evaluation processes should be strengthened. Specifically analysing school-wide and group achievement and progress information should enable leaders and teachers to better know the impact of learning programmes and specific actions to raise achievement and accelerate students’ progress.

The school should continue to develop culturally responsive practices that increase school-wide understanding of te ao Māori, with particular reference to the use of tikanga and te reo Māori.

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 Whataroa 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:

  • a broad, localised curriculum that effectively uses the resources of the community
  • a strong collaborative and collegial culture and positive learning environment that supports students’ wellbeing and engagement.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening the rigour of internal evaluation to better know what is working and what is not
  • analysing and using student achievement and progress information to better know the impact of learning programmes and targeted actions to raise achievement
  • increasing school-wide understanding of te ao Māori and use of tikanga and te reo Māori.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

13 August 2019

About the school

Ministry of Education profile number3592
School typeFull Primary (Years 1-8)
School roll35
Gender compositionBoys 16, Girls 19
Ethnic composition

Māori 5

NZ European/Pākehā 27

Other ethnicities 3

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)No
Provision of Māori medium educationNo
Review team on siteMay 2019
Date of this report13 August 2019
Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2014

Education Review November 2011