Waterlea Public School - 10/09/2015

1. Context

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

Waterlea Public School caters for children in Years 1 to 6. The school roll has increased slightly since the 2011 ERO review. Students from diverse cultural backgrounds attend the school and a number speak languages in addition to English. Twenty-one percent of students identify as Māori, and 23 percent have Pacific heritage.

The 2011 ERO report commented positively on the school’s effective leadership and the considered approaches being used to build teacher capability. The report also commended the school’s strong focus on improving student learning and achievement. These strengths have been sustained.

School leaders and the board have responded well to the areas identified for improvement in the 2011 ERO report. Teachers now report to parents in plain language about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. School leaders and teachers have also reviewed how well bicultural perspectives and culturally responsive practices are integrated into the curriculum.

The board and school leaders consult widely with the community to set the school’s strategic direction. The school’s mission, vision and values are used as guides for decision making and strategic planning. Strategic thinking and planning decisions are centred on students.

2. Learning

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

Student achievement information shows that approximately 85 percent of students are consistently achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Publically available National Standards data shows that the majority of Pacific and Māori students are also achieving at or above the National Standards. However, the overall achievement of these two groups is slightly lower than that of their non-Māori and non-Pacific peers in the school.

The board, school leaders and teachers use achievement information well to make positive changes for learners. Achievement information is used to set school priorities, develop curriculum programmes and as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching.

Teachers use achievement information to plan programmes to cater for students’ different strengths and learning needs. They also share achievement information with each other to help students make smooth transitions within the school. Senior leaders, team leaders and teachers use achievement information to identify and plan relevant professional learning and development for teachers.

Achievement information is used well by teachers to identify students who are underachieving and whose progress needs to be accelerated. Teachers are well supported in ‘teaching as inquiry teams’ to implement strategies that will assist groups of students. In these teams teachers also track and monitor student progress and critically reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practices.

The school has a good range of interventions and strategies to provide extra learning support for students who need to make accelerated progress in literacy and mathematics. School data shows that most of these students make good progress.

The school has a good range of practices and systems to support students with special education needs. Teachers and teacher aides have a shared commitment and responsibility for helping students to progress. This approach helps to ensure that students participate in appropriate learning programmes and classroom activities. Transitioning of students with high learning needs into, through and out of school is well managed.

Students’ engagement in learning is evident. Most students can confidently talk about their learning and many are increasingly able to lead aspects of their own learning and support the learning of peers. Students have good opportunities to grow their leadership skills both in the classroom and across the school. They can undertake roles such as being a peer mediator or librarian, lead assemblies, tutor peers and act as buddies for children attending the local kindergarten. Teachers also support students to lead discussions about their learning with their parents and teacher.

The school and ERO have identified the following priorities to continue to enhance learning opportunities for students:

  • review the complexity and level of challenge offered to students through independent learning activities
  • continue to increase students’ opportunities to develop a sense of responsibility for, and ownership of, their learning by exploring ideas on a 'growth mind-set'
  • continue to extend and deepen children’s learning and achievement in writing.

3. Curriculum

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

The curriculum at Waterlea Public School promotes student learning well. The school’s vision, values and strategic priorities are well integrated into the curriculum. Curriculum priorities are informed by the school’s communities and cultures and reflect Māori and Pacific themes and perspectives.

Students benefit from, and respond well to, the school’s focus on learning. Key features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • a rich variety of learning opportunities both within the school and in the wider community
  • a strong focus on literacy, mathematics, and the arts
  • a conceptual approach to inquiry learning
  • a strong commitment to knowing children and their special talents and whānau well, and using this information to inform curriculum design and planning
  • a natural integration of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance learning opportunities for students

To enhance the quality of the school curriculum, school leaders plan to continue to reflect on modern approaches to learning and review the effective teaching profile in the school.

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

Approximately 21 percent of students at Waterlea Public School identify as Māori. Achievement data shows that, while levels of achievement for Māori students are slightly below other students overall, the majority of Māori students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Good initiatives and developments to promote educational success for Māori as Māori include a review of Māori achievement in reading and writing. The school has also undertaken a review of the school’s cultural responsiveness and inclusion. These reviews led to the development of specific strategies designed to lift achievement and promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Strategies include the use of texts that reflect Māori students’ cultural capital and Māori contexts, stories of marae visits, tangi, Matariki, hangi and kapa haka.

Educational success for Māori as Māori is also promoted through;

  • the value placed on Māori cultural practices such as pōwhiri at the beginning of the year for new students and their families
  • the establishment of a Māori lead team to provide guidance for teachers about Te Ao Māori and the teaching of te reo Māori
  • the use of external expertise to support students and teachers to increase their confidence and knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori
  • a staff workshop focused on the Ministry of Education Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017
  • Māori representation on the board of trustees.

School leaders and ERO agree that senior leaders and teachers could continue to explore Ministry of Education documents as part of their plans to specifically review the school’s effectiveness in promoting success for Māori. Such a review could provide the basis for an action plan to further enhance Māori student success in the school.

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 vision provides clear strategic direction for the school. The board chair and trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to the board and are clear about distinctions between governance and management. The board is willing to use external expertise in their review and decision making processes.

Since the 2011 ERO review, in response to concerns raised by some parents, a number of board processes have been reviewed and strengthened. Developments have included:

  • establishing formal processes for communicating with the board
  • reviewing the school’s complaints policy and procedures
  • using external expertise to review the school culture and the effectiveness of the school’s behaviour management systems.

School leadership is effective and the move to extend the leadership team is helping to grow new leaders. This is complementing and enhancing school developments by creating a culture of collaboration and reflection.

Self review is used well. Ongoing critical reflection and the outcomes of school-wide self review are being used to provide a clear rationale for positive improvements. Students, staff and the school community are consulted as part of the school’s self-review processes.

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.

ERO identified that to meet regulatory requirements the board must:

  • ensure that it is properly elected and constituted [Section 94 of the Education Act 1989].


Students at Waterlea Public School benefit from good quality teaching and are responding well to a curriculum that is relevant, increasingly student-centred, and appropriate for modern learners. School leadership and governance make good use of self review to maintain and build the school’s performance.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

10 September 2015

About the School


Mangere Bridge, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 47%

Māori 21%

Pacific 23%

Asian 7%

other 2%

Special Features

Host school for two satellite classes from Sir Keith Park Special School

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

10 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2011

Education Review November 2008

Education Review June 2005