Our Learning

Classroom Programmes

We have a strong emphasis of numeracy and literacy and ensure this is given time every day in the classroom programme. We believe that students need to be taught the basics and taught them well so they have a good grounding to develop and build on throughout their education at Tomarata School. Small class sizes ensure all students are given plenty of support to develop their basics and also to encourage and support their extension in areas of strength. Play based learning, Inquiry based learning and Passion Projects, Physical Education, Art, and Te Reo Maori are taught through each week to give the students a wide range of opportunities to show their potential and to develop the whole student in all areas of the curriculum. We also aim to use as many external supports and curriculum providers as possible to help teach our students new skills and for staff to up skill their pedagogy in sports, music, arts and other curriculum areas.

Computers  |  Use of Internet

Each classroom is equipped with chromebooks connected to the school network for students to use and develop their computer literacy.Senior rooms have access to one on one Chromebooks to support their learning. We use Google Classroom as part of our learning programmes. They are supervised at all times when on the “Net” and are not allowed access to MSM Messenger or chat rooms.

Students are responsible for good behaviour on school computers just as they are in the classroom, school grounds, library, or in attendance at a school function of any kind. Therefore, general school rules for behaviour and responsible communications apply to all use of the computer network.

Ultimately, parents and guardians are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using media and information sources. Therefore, the school supports and respects each family’s right to decide whether or not their child will be allowed access. Accordingly an agreement to be signed and sent back to school giving permission for internet use is used.

Enviro Programme

Tomarata School is an environmentally aware school. Our programme aims to empower and enable students, families and schools to work together to create a healthy, peaceful and sustainable community. We aim to build strong connections and trusting relationships, as well as as fostering a culture of creativity and sharing. Our programme is designed to:

  • Encourage positive change and action

  • Enable the development of skills, knowledge, confidence and experience to contribute to their community

  • Integrate Māori perspectives

  • Encourage awareness and understanding of the ecosystems that we are all part of

  • Connect children and young people/tamariki and rangatahi to contribute to their communities

  • Promote respect for the diversity of people and cultures in our communities and world

At Tomarata School we try to think and act in an environmentally friendly way where we can but are only at the beginning of a new Enviro programme process. We are currently developing a plan/vision of where and how we would like to develop our school further in an environmental and sustainable way and we will use this to drive our learning programmes and develop our school environment over the years to come.

Education outside the Classroom

Throughout the year individual classes, syndicates and sometimes the whole school, go on educational trips to support major learning themes. All charges for trips are now covered by the school. Parental involvement is greatly appreciated. Senior classes usually have a camp towards the end of the year.


After a hard day’s work at school we believe that our students need the opportunity to relax and refresh. They then need to engage in activities such as hobbies and other interests. These activities allow them to think and move in different ways where they use other intelligence’s, learn different skills and work with other people. These are all important in developing a range of alternatives for later life. Equally important is time for family activities and conversation. Homework is given on a regular basis to all students, however this is a revision activity and supports the learning in the classroom.

For homework we expect children to read (depending on age) for a least 10 minutes every night. There may be a need to learn spelling words and basic mathematical facts (tables). Also, there will be work completion tasks from time to time. In the Junior class work comes home in a book bag. In some cases there may be research, special tasks and/or worksheet activities. Activities you can work together on include telling the time, using measurement, shopping and money activities, letter and diary writing, drawing, and newspaper and TV events. Encourage cooperative reading activities and continue reading to them right up to Year Eight. Learning must be fun. If there are any difficulties at all, do contact the class teacher concerned.

Music Lessons

Music Lessons are taken by Martin and Stephen who teach ukulele, guitar, keyboard, drums and piano. This is a user pays scheme not affiliated to school funding.


We are a ‘Positive Behaviour For Learning’ school. We focus on desired, positive behaviours that link strongly to our Values. Every week we have a new focus for each class to discuss, unpacking what it ‘looks like’ for that group of students. We hold short assemblies each week that are led by Miss McGuinness to further build positive expectations.

The Perceptual Motor Programme (PMP) at Tomarata School

Is a language based, developmental programme catering towards the needs of year 1 and 2 children
It is also a remedial programme for Year’s 3-5 children

This programme develops areas of motor skills like:

  • Fitness

  • Balance

  • Eye/Foot Coordination

  • Locomotion

  • Eye/Hand Coordination

  • Perceptions like body image and control

  • Rhythm

  • Directionality

  • Space awareness and liberality

Some of the skills being developed are:

  • Problem solving

  • Language

  • Confidence

  • Memory

  • P.E. skills

  • Social skills

It develops, through movement, motor skills that are related to the child’s own needs, in the areas of eye/hand, eye/foot coordination, locomotion and balance and fitness (including stamina, flexibility, and strength).

The Perceptual Motor Programme aims to develop children’s perceptions and understandings of self through motor experiences. It helps children to refine gross motor skills to prepare the brain for formal classroom learning. This is a fundamental part of our foundation programme. PMP relies heavily on helpers, we welcome parents and all caregivers. If you are able to help please inquire at the school office. This is run by our wonderful teacher aide Jo Tischik.

Te Reo

“Ko ngā pae tawhiti whāia kia tata, ko ngā pae tata, whakamaua kia tina.”

“The potential for tomorrow depends on what we do today.”

Our Aims:

  • To teach from Level 1 of the curriculum, stepping into Level 2 as we are able to. Te Reo Māori in English – medium schools.
  • To use the approach of tuakana/teina to assist student led learning across the school
  • To recognise that teachers too are learners in this process.
  • To ensure that Te Ao Maori & tikanga Maori are valued in our school and that Māori children succeed as Māori
  • To develop an environment that reflects our culture

Understanding that:

  • Languages are also vehicles of culture
  • Through language we can understand and respect the values and culture of people
  • The belief about the well-being of Te Reo Māori – that the more we learn and speak it the more it will flourish

The Arts

Children at Tomarata School experience a varied and stimulating Arts program.

All children participate in music, dance and drama activities integrated into their classroom learning. Students are encouraged to experiment, create and perform informally in all disciplines, and through these activities children develop an understanding of the basic elements of music, dance and drama.

A showcase for Tomarata School talent is the school wide production held biannually.

Visual Art is part of the daily curriculum. This is evident in the many colourful murals around the school, and the wonderful artwork displayed in the school office, and in classrooms.

Reporting to Parents

We display digital reports on the HERO SMS system that can be accessed by an app. These can be printed on request.  Formal reports on students’ progress occur twice a year, once at mid-year and a more comprehensive report at the end of the year. However parents can access student progress and achievement data at any time using the HERO ap. Parents of New Entrant students are invited to an interview after 8 – 10 weeks of school entry.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4
Day 1 Interview Written Reports Parent/Teacher Interviews End of Year Reports


All Year 7 and 8 students attend Technology lessons at Rodney College on Wednesdays  in six week blocks. The bus leaves school at 9.15 am and returns after lunch. The College runs a 2 year programme with each class taking part in 3 technology areas per year.