Patricia Avenue School - 29/06/2017


Patricia Avenue School has established positive partnerships with iwi, the local community, parents and whānau. Children and young adults are encouraged to be confident and self-managing, to enjoy success in a learning environment that is inclusive. Learners’ achievements have consistently improved over recent years and their successes are recognised and celebrated.

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

1 Context

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

Patricia Avenue School is located in Hamilton East. It provides holistic care and education for children and young adults with additional learning needs between 5 and 21 years of age. The school also operates, governs and manages nine satellite units in primary and secondary schools, and one for young adults. These satellite units are located in Hamilton, Cambridge and Te Awamutu.

Participation with Waikato-Tainui Kawenata ō Te Mana Mātauranga 2016 to 2017, Ngāti Wairere iwi, hapu and whānau are an integral part of the school’s vision to build positive relationships with tangata whenua. These partnerships promote a sense of belonging for Māori and all learners in the school.

The school’s vision that every child and young adult are enabled to maximise their learning potential is underpinned by an holistic approach to education for all learners, collaborative teaching teams, multi-disciplinary approach, specially designed work spaces, and specialised resources specific to learners' physical and emotional needs.

The school’s mission statement ‘Learning for Living’ aims to provide education, which is respectful and enhances learning and builds on learners' specific needs. All learners are supported to achieve personal standards for excellence and reach their full potential.

Patricia Avenue School has a positive reporting history with ERO. Since the 2014 ERO review the roll has increased and the school has appointed a new principal and restructured the leadership team. The board of trustees, led by a new and experienced board chairperson, is supported by elected trustees who have overseen building renovations, and the completion of a new administration block. 

2 Learning

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

The school’s holistic approach to learning is effective in making positive changes to the engagement, progress and achievement of learners. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) involve teachers, parents, whānau, therapists, and other specialist and community agencies working together to develop specific goals for each learner. The school monitors the individual progress and achievement of each learner and measures their progress against their personalised IEP goals. These goals are collaboratively agreed to between school and family, and prioritised to support learning across all areas, including appropriate literacy and mathematics. Teachers skilfully use a wide range of strategies to promote learning and plan children's progress.

Effective assessment, planning and evaluation practices capture children’s personalities and preferred styles of learning. The use of a credit, strengths-based model of assessment within individual portfolios shows the complexity of learning. Children and young adults’ participation, individual progress and achievement are documented and celebrated. School achievement information is evaluated against personal goal attainment.

Reciprocal relationships with parents, whānau and carers are a significant feature in the education of all learners. These partnerships are built on mutual trust and respond to the educational aspirations of parents, whānau and carers. There is a high frequency involvement of parents, whānau and carers with the school. This contributes to the overall wellbeing of children and young adults, and their enjoyment and sense of connection in their learning and achievement.

The board represents and promotes the aspirational wellbeing and learning needs of children and young adults. Trustees are informed by senior leaders about school targets and the progress children and young adults make in relation to IEP goals and literacy and mathematic skills. Trustees are using this information to inform and allocate appropriate specialised resources aligned to the needs of children and young adults.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting student learning. Teachers, therapists and teacher aides respond to each child’s and young adults social, emotional, physical, intellectual and cultural needs. Purposeful planning for individual's physical health needs, emotional wellbeing and future development as they transition into the wider community. Parents, whānau and carers are active members of the school community and play and important role in the curriculum.

The key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum provide a useful framework to support teaching and learning. The importance of communication and/or language development is recognised and the successful implementation of aided language provides a meaningful bridge to literacy, oral language and mathematics for learners. Quality teaching practices and the effective use of a range of tools contribute to children and young adults sustained learning and engagement in the curriculum.

Staff notice, recognise and respond to the diverse needs of children and their families. They have close and trusting relationships with learners. Teachers use their knowledge of learners to develop strategies, meet individual needs of children and young adults, and share these with parents. These effective teaching strategies contribute to learner's engagement and enjoyment in learning. These include:

  • innovative specialised teaching tools that enable all learners to experience a wide range of learning opportunities, which include sensory, music and physical activities
  • teams made up of therapists, specialists, parents, whānau, teachers and teacher aides working together to provide positive learning outcomes for all learners.
  • learning scaffolds that are specific to each learner
  • flexible and adaptive teaching practices that are responsive to learners emerging interests and appropriate teachable moments as they arise
  • encouraging learners to choose learning pathways that build their independence as self-managing learners
  • recognising the importance of learners feelings and motivations.

Learning environments are designed to meet the needs of learners. Staff build strong links with the community and use local facilities to enrich the curriculum. Digital technologies are widely used by learners throughout the school and contribute to their learning and independence. Activities such as excursions into the wider community libraries, swimming pools, museums, shopping centres, Special Olympics, horse riding, learning in mainstream classrooms contribute to learning.

Transitions to and within base school and satellite classrooms are personalised to ensure children and young adults receive quality education and feel cared for, and a sense of inclusion.

The establishment of a city-based satellite facility provides young adults between the ages of 18 to 21 years with an authentic, purposeful learning environment. The programme includes self-management opportunities, a range of learning pathways designed to enable each individual to reach their potential, and become contributing members of the wider community.

The restructuring of the school management system has provided opportunities for leadership and collaboration. This approach continues to build the capability of staff. Targeted professional learning and development is resulting in improved shared understandings and expectations for teaching and learning. Teachers are sharing their reflections and effectively work together to ensure positive learning outcomes for all children and young adults.

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

The school is effectively promoting education success for Māori. The principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi are more deliberately enacted in school, and teaching and learning programmes.

The school has had a focus on promoting educational successes for Māori.

Staff are more aware of the strengths, needs and agency with respect to the teaching of Māori learners.

Being Māori is valued within the school and its wider community. The concepts of whanaungatanga and manaakitanga affirm and reflect the identity, language and culture of Māori learners.

A wide range of professional learning and development, particularly in te reo and tikanga Māori for leaders, teachers, learning support assistants, therapists and other specialists is a feature of the schools focus for the ongoing improvement of learners.

Te Roopu Whangai Te Tangata is the name given to the Roopu by Ngāti Wairere Kaumātua. This gift provides all staff with a clear purpose to build their capabilities in te reo and tikanga Māori.

Kapa Haka, waiata, karakia, mihi, korero are supported by lessons using te reo for Māori children and young adults preferred ways of learning are contributing to their language development, sense of identify and belonging.

Teachers are reviewing their own capabilities using Tātaiako competencies.

Māori children and young adults benefit from the school's te reo and tikanga Māori programme. The school has identified that it is important to continue to build their bicultural journey in te reo and tikanga Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The school uses a range of consultation processes to engage with iwi, the wider community, parents and whānau to review curriculum delivery and design. The curriculum provides children and young adults with equitable opportunities to achieve their potential in an environment that is meaningful and authentic. In addition a range of transition learning pathways focus on self-management and employment skills contribute to the confidence of young adults as they move into society.

The school’s evaluation assessment data provides valuable information to guide teaching and learning levels for children and young adults. Productive and collaborative relationships among trustees, teachers, children, parents, whānau and the wider community are significant factors, which contribute to the sustainability of school development and learner success.

The senior leadership team is collaborative and promotes well-informed educational leadership for the school. Leaders are experienced and highly reflective professionals who lead by example, model 'best’ practice, and effectively guide and support other teachers and staff. Staff are encouraged to contribute their strengths, talents and ideas. Leaders share mutual understandings about high-quality education and care for all learners in the school.

Internal evaluation is increasingly reflective. It questions and informs decisions about changes across the school. The approach to internal evaluation is well supported by trustees and is inclusive of the views of learners, teachers, parents and whānau. These views are valued and contribute to school developments.

A strong commitment by trustees and staff to build trusting relationships is aligned to the educational aspirations of parents, whānau, carers and with tangata whenua to build a bicultural community for all learners.

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.


Patricia Avenue School has established positive partnerships with iwi, the local community, parents and whānau. Children and young adults are encouraged to be confident and self-managing, to enjoy success in a learning environment that is inclusive. Learners’ achievements have consistently improved over recent years and their successes are recognised and celebrated.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

29 June 2017

About the School 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 71%

Girls 29%

Ethnic composition

South East Asian


Special Features

Special School

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

29 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
April 2010
June 2007