Appendix 1: Methodology

ERO visited a group of 12 schools to see how they were addressing the challenge of teaching modern students. These schools were selected because they were known to be exploring ways of using The New Zealand Curriculum, digital technologies and modernised infrastructures to educate their students for future success. While the sample is too small to be representative of every type of school, the included schools are all very different.

We deliberately did not include schools whose stories had already been widely publicised or who had participated in other ERO national evaluations. Some of the schools we approached declined the invitation to participate. In the end, our sample consisted of six primary, two intermediate, and four secondary schools. We visited all the schools in Term 2, 2016 and revisited some in Term 1, 2017 to capture ongoing developments.

We focused on what was happening for the students: Was the teaching and learning effectively addressing the challenge of preparing today’s learners for the world they will encounter?

  • We asked each school to tell us the story of their journey:
  • Why they started
  • How they set the conditions for success
  • What informed their decisions
  • How they managed change

What difference it had made (for example, to teaching and learning, use of spaces and digital technologies, and student outcomes).

Leaders told us about the challenges they had faced and how they overcame them, and they offered advice to other leaders who were embarking on major change.

We looked at each school’s internal evaluation processes and made a judgment on their strength. We also made a judgment of each school’s strength in relation to the seven domains of ERO’s School Evaluation Indicators.

We are grateful to the 12 schools for allowing us to visit, listen, and see what they were doing. We appreciate the time they gave us and honour their drive to do the best for their learners. Although we have been unable to tell every story, or tell it in detail, all 12 schools have contributed in important ways to the findings in this report.

The schools in the sample


School (type, size, location and decile)

School roll (as at 1 July 2016)







Golden Sands School, Years 1–6 (new build, medium, secondary urban, decile 9).

109 3 10 49 292 463

Mountview School, Years 1–8 (small, primary urban, decile 1).

203 12 5 2 48 270

Ngatea Primary School, Years 1–8 (small, minor urban, decile 6).

21 5 6 8 233 273

St Clair School, Years 1–6 (medium, urban, decile 8).

65 8 17 10 318 418

Wakefield School, Years 1–6 (small, rural, decile 8).

31 5 6 3 215 260

Welcome Bay School, Years 1–6 (small, urban, decile 4).

168 16 6 3 127 320

Auckland Normal Intermediate, Years 7–8 (medium, urban, decile 9). Total includes 21 international fee-paying students.

30 24 331 19 275 700

Raroa Normal Intermediate School, Years 7–8 (medium, urban, decile 10).

67 22 133 21 429 672

Aorere College, Years 9–15 (large, urban, decile 2). Total includes 6 international fee-paying students.

338 814 360 4 18 1540

Ormiston Senior College, Years 11–15 (new build, medium, urban, decile 7). Total includes 13 international fee-paying students.

30 27 306 39 72 487

Pakuranga College, Years 9–15 (very large, urban, decile 7). Total includes 207 international fee-paying students.

227 153 662 78 864 2187

St Thomas of Canterbury College, Years 7-15 (medium, urban, decile 8, integrated, single sex, boys). Total includes 18 international fee-paying students

104 58 39 9 372 600

Investigative questions

Student outcomes

What are the student outcomes valued by you and your school community?

How do you work with your students to develop these outcomes?

How do you know how well students are doing?

How do students, their parents and whānau know how they are doing?

Modern New Zealand learning and teaching

How do you identify and support students who are not thriving as learners or who are at risk of not achieving?

How do you go about planning, implementing and evaluating effectiveness of practice (giving due consideration to cultural responsiveness, authentic contexts, accelerating achievement and meeting students’ needs)?

How has the use of digital technologies extended learning? What does this look like?

How do students demonstrate understanding of and taking responsibility for their own learning?

Change management

What key changes were made in the school curriculum that helped to achieve the vision for students?

How were innovations introduced?

How do school systems support the development of valued student outcomes?

In what ways have changes to the physical environment (flexible learning spaces) enhanced modern learning practices?

How does the board know about innovations and their effectiveness?

Community engagement

What does this look like? How do you go about establishing learning partnerships?

How do you ensure any innovations serve, respect and respond to the students’ interests, strengths and needs, and the aspirations of the school community?

How do you involve parents in the innovations, engage them in the pedagogy in the school, and work with them as partners in their children’s learning and progress?

How is information about students shared when they transition from early childhood education to school or between schools?

How is your school working with others in the local learning community?

Support and advice

What kind of support was/would be useful to you?

Were there any barriers to success? What were they and how did you address them?

Do you have advice for other school leaders?

Were there any unexpected consequences or bonuses?

Tool for gauging the strength of internal evaluation processes

We used this model to help us analyse which aspects of the inquiry processes were emphasised in each school’s story (Education Review Office, 2015)

This is a drawing of the inquiry process. It is a center circle surrounded by 5 smaller circles. The center circle reads Learner-focused evaluation processes We can do better.  The outer circles from the top clockwise read Monitoring and evaluating impact, Noticing, Investigating, Collaborative sense making and Prioritising to take action

Key for both tools

* Significant strength
/ Reasonable strength
0 Not strong
Not applicable

Note that the evaluations conducted for this report were not full ERO reviews so judgments were based only on what was found in the course of inquiring into effective practice.

Reviewers noted how strong each feature (aspect of inquiry process or indicator domain) was in the school

Tool for recording estimates of strength across domains

We used this tool to record the school’s strength in each domain and show consistency overall.

This images is seven boxes showing the domains and a square within each box where you can mark the judgement according to the above key