Bell Block School - 04/06/2014

1 Context

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

Bell Block School caters for Years 1 to 8 students and is situated north east of New Plymouth. The current roll is 337, with 24% of students identifying as Māori. The school recognises the historical significance of its location and acknowledges Te Atiawa as mana whenua.

The whakatauki ‘Kaha i ngā wā katoa – Our Best Always’ underpins curriculum. Restorative practice is embedded in the school culture and supports student wellbeing. The atmosphere is welcoming, inclusive and settled.

Involvement and relationships with the wider community provide students with academic, sporting and cultural opportunities. The school has joint ownership of the community hall and heated indoor pool and uses these in teaching and learning. Grounds are expansive and well maintained.

2 Learning

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

The school reports that the majority of students achieve at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers in reading, but not as well in the two other areas.

Assessment information is used effectively to set annual targets for identified groups of students. Appropriate interventions and programmes are implemented to promote their engagement and achievement and accelerate progress.

Information is collated and analysed each term to monitor performance schoolwide. The principal and staff work together to identify patterns of progress and achievement for individuals and groups. Leaders have identified that their next step is to support teachers to reflect more specifically on the impact of their teaching in promoting positive outcomes for all students.

Teachers collect a useful range of assessment information. They use it to monitor student achievement and plan next steps for teaching and learning. Teams regularly moderate assessments to be confident that judgements are reliable and valid. The 2014 assessment plan includes a focus on building and extending moderation across teams.

Teachers assist students to be self-managing learners. Students know what they are learning, their next steps and what they need to do to improve. They are cooperative and enthusiastic.

A planned and considered process guides reporting to parents. Teachers work positively to engage parents in students’ learning and encourage families' participation in school activities.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum effectively promotes student learning, engagement, progress and achievement. It is based on the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Extensive and ongoing consultation with parents, teachers and students ensures that the curriculum is increasingly reflective of its area and commitment to mana whenua. School values are highly visible in all class programmes. Literacy and mathematics are appropriately prioritised.

Authentic contexts are planned to engage students in learning and promote positive outcomes for them. Programmes are responsive to student needs, strengths, interest and abilities. Students are provided with an extensive range of learning activities, experiences and challenges within a broad curriculum. Programmes for students with special needs and abilities are coordinated and implemented effectively.

Expectations for the quality of teaching across all learning areas are high, clearly defined and collaboratively owned. Leaders know the next step is to support teachers to:

  • develop further knowledge and understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori
  • use te reo Māori more consistently within teaching and learning.

Teaching is high quality and successful in engaging students in meaningful learning. They work confidently and purposefully. Classroom displays celebrate cultural diversity and student effort. Information and communication technologies are used to enhance learning, make connections and access the wider world.

Teachers know their students well. Relationships are positive and interactions amongst teachers and students respectful. Students have opportunities for leadership in class programmes and schoolwide activities. Student leaders are positive role models for their peers.

A flexible and responsive process assists transition of students from early childhood to school. This is well supported by relationships between teachers and local early childhood services.

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

The curriculum promotes opportunities for Māori students to experience success as Māori. Consultation with whānau, hapu and iwi contributes to plans for improving achievement and fostering success. The school responds to opinions and suggestions and evaluates the impact of actions taken. Māori student achievement is reported to whānau and hapu.

Māori students are highly engaged in learning and school life. Strong relationships contribute to their positive attitudes toward school. Teachers have high expectations for Māori students’ success and closely monitor their progress and achievement. Actions have been taken to raise performance in writing and mathematics. Māori students are well represented in school leadership roles.

School leaders support teachers to develop awareness and understanding of strategies that are effective in promoting outcomes for Māori students.

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.

Self review is purposeful. Findings are used to identify priorities for improvement. Parents, whānau, staff and students contribute to review information. Their opinions are valued and suggestions acted upon.

The recently implemented format to support curriculum review is likely to strengthen evaluation of the curriculum's effectiveness and be useful for future planning. A focus on the impact of planned improvements on student learning will provide greater coherence and rigour to individual and schoolwide self-review processes.

Trustees are well informed about curriculum matters. They use reported information to make resourcing decisions. The charter, strategic and annual plans provide clear direction for school operation, teaching and learning.

The principal leads the school effectively in implementing the vision and goals. Teachers have opportunities to develop their leadership capability and grow practice. Staff development goals are aligned to school priorities and supported by focused professional development.

Teachers are encouraged to reflect on practice, using the Registered Teacher Criteria. Leaders are considering using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to strengthen these development 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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

4 June 2014

About the School


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 53%

Male 47%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

4 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2011

December 2008

December 2004