What ERO found

ERO made a judgement about how well each school or service promoted positive attitudes to F, N and PA, from very well to not well at all. The effective practice statements ERO used to make this judgement are found in each section of this report.

Following a summary of the overall findings, this report is divided into three main sections. Each section begins with the questions ERO asked and the effective practice statements used for making a decision about how well each school or service was doing, followed by what ERO found in schools and services that were doing very well. The sections include quotes.26 challenges and examples of good practice. The sections cover the following aspects:

  • planning and implementation
    • vision and values
    • leaders’ and teachers’ actions
    • environment
    • internal evaluation
  • young people’s learning and participation
    • knowing and valuing
    • participating
    • decision making
  • whānau and community involvement.  

Leaders and teachers may find it useful to consider the questions and the effective practice statements throughout the report when evaluating how their school or service promotes positive attitudes to F, N and PA.27

Information about the schools and services in this evaluation can be found in Appendix 3.


Figure 1 The older the students, the less well food, nutrition and physical acti  


Summary of overall findings

Early learning services

Nearly nine out of ten services were doing well or very well at promoting children’s positive attitudes to F, N and PA. Leaders and teachers in these services recognised and valued the importance of F, N and PA for children’s wellbeing and learning.

This recognition and valuing underpinned the way the service operated at all levels. Leaders, teachers, parents, whānau and children all understood the importance of F, N and PA and acted in ways that promoted children’s knowledge and participation.

Leaders and teachers were knowledgeable and capable in the area of F, N and PA. They were strategic and proactive in their decision making, and the environment and resourcing supported children’s learning in this area.

Teachers modelled healthy choices and ensured that the messages children received were consistent across adults, and across children’s age groups in the service. Teachers worked well with children’s parents and the community to support children’s learning. Children developed leadership skills, and had opportunities to make decisions about physical health in their learning programme.

Services that were part of an umbrella organisation had clear direction, expectations and support for teachers and parents around food, nutrition and physical activity which supported many of these services to do well.




Primary schools

Primary schools that were doing well were thorough in their planning and implementation. Nearly three-quarters of the primary schools in this evaluation were doing well or very well at promoting positive attitudes to F, N and PA.

These schools were guided by sound policies and procedures, founded on a clear vision for students’ success. There was a focus on holistic wellbeing, and students’ enjoyment of activity was valued. This meant there was a high level of consistency across the school in the messages students were receiving about F, N and PA. Teachers modelled healthy choices, and showed their enjoyment in being active.

The curriculum in these schools also recognised the focus on, and valuing of, students’ holistic wellbeing. Teachers were responsive to students’ interests and needs, and planned well for students’ learning about F, N and PA. All students were included in activities, and teachers found ways to respond to children’s physical and cultural differences.

Leaders were proactive and strategic. They had high expectations for teachers and students, and acted to support them to meet these expectations. They knew teachers’ needs, and accessed professional  learning and development (PLD) that matched their areas of need. They used research and school data to review and evaluate for improvement. They made strategic resourcing decisions around programmes, equipment  and facilities, and were focused on finding solutions.

Leaders and teachers encouraged and supported parents to be engaged in their children’s education and school activities, for example by providing training on how to coach or manage a sports team.

Secondary schools

Just under two-thirds of secondary schools in this evaluation were doing well or very well at promoting positive attitudes to F, N and PA.

Passionate leadership and a clear vision for student wellbeing drove coherent and well planned programmes across the schools that were doing well. Decisions around what was done, and how it was done were guided by achievement, participation and survey data.

These schools actively involved students in decision making, and expected that parents and the school would work together to promote students’ wellbeing.

Schools that were doing very well reviewed the options for food in their school canteen. They reduced or removed the unhealthy options, especially those high in sugar.

In some schools, the board of trustees subsidised the canteen in order to promote healthier food choices and keep the canteen viable. School leaders recognised that ‘managing self’ is one of the key competencies of NZC, and so preferred to inform and guide students, rather than enforce rigid rules.

Organised sport was the main way that students were active in secondary schools. In schools that were doing well at promoting positive attitudes, participating was seen as important, not just competing. Teachers knew who was active and who was not, and took steps to encourage everyone to be active. They provided a variety of ways for students to be active.




26           Quotes throughout this report are from leaders, teachers and young people at a range of services and schools. They were selected as being examples of comments made at the schools and services ERO visited. 

27           Another useful resource for considering how schools promote wellbeing is ERO (2016). Wellbeing for success: A resource for schools. Available from http://www.ero.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Wellbeing-resource-WEB.pdf