Birkdale Primary School - 05/04/2018

School Context

Birkdale Primary School, Auckland, caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school has an increasing, culturally diverse roll of approximately 266 students. It includes 42 percent Māori, 15 percent of Pacific heritage, and other ethnicities.

Te Puāwaitanga immersion unit includes three classes. It provides good opportunities for students to participate in full immersion in Te Reo Māori education. The school continues to host Kohanga Reo Ngā Pihi O Te Purapura while their new building is being completed.

The school’s mission is to empower positive, creative kaitiaki (guardians) of the future. This mission is underpinned by the school values of kaitiakitanga (resilience, curiosity and self-direction), whanaungatanga (community, relationships, and friendship), and manaakitanga (respect, caring and honesty). These values are well understood and supported by parents, teachers and students.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets
  • whole school improvement in achievement overtime
  • outcomes related to student enjoyment, attendance, and wellbeing for success.

Since the school’s 2014 ERO review, some school leadership roles have changed with the appointment of new staff. Recruiting suitable, qualified teaching staff to Te Puāwaitanga continues to be a challenge for school leaders. A new board was elected in June 2016 and trustees access external support to build their capability. 

Evaluation Findings

Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is making good progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Over the last three years, school data show the majority of students achieve at or above expected levels in the NZ Curriculum in literacy and mathematics. An upward achievement trend is evident in reading and writing. Data in Te Puāwaitanga show most ākonga are achieving and progressing well in relation to Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori.

The school has implemented effective professional learning in literacy, particularly in writing. This has resulted in achievement improvement and increased parity over time in writing.

Student achievement in mathematics has remained consistent over the past three years. In 2017 school leaders responded to this by implementing professional learning for teachers with a focus on problem solving. Parity between boys’ and girls’ achievement overall is increasing.

Teachers collect useful data to monitor student achievement. Some teachers use data well to inform children’s next learning steps. The principal has identified the importance of collecting data to analyse and interpret information to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies for those children who need acceleration.

Students achieve very well in relation to the school’s other valued outcomes. Almost all students:

  • demonstrate the school values that support positive interaction
  • are confident in their identity, language and culture as citizens of Birkdale Primary School
  • show a sense of pride and belonging to Birkdale Primary School.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is developing its effectiveness to respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers know children well, and develop useful plans at class and syndicate levels to accelerate children’s achievement. Teachers talk together about ways to improve the achievement of individual children.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively with parents/whānau, teacher aides and external agencies to support children who need individual achievement plans. Children benefit from the in-depth knowledge teachers have of them as learners and their whānau. This is having a positive impact on children’s overall engagement with learning. Māori children, children from diverse ethnic backgrounds, and other children with additional learning needs, benefit from the inclusive and responsive approaches that support them in their learning.

Some teachers have participated in Ministry of Education (MoE) professional development contracts in literacy and mathematics. These programmes now provide effective models to accelerate children’s progress. A next step is to adapt and embed these models schoolwide.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Children experience a responsive curriculum that places a significant focus on developing students’ literacy and mathematics skills. Access to external professional learning supports teachers to use effective teaching and assessment practices. It is timely to strengthen cultural responsiveness in other learning areas, such as science and technology.

Māori learning contexts are evident in class programmes, the environment, and in everyday school life. The school is building on internal and community expertise to provide opportunities for Māori children to experience success as Māori. Strengthening the interconnection and integration of Te Puāwaitanga and mainstream is having a positive impact on all learners, especially Māori students in mainstream classes.

The school develops connections and relationships with parents, whānau and the wider community in a variety of ways. Parents and whānau receive information and participate in learning opportunities that enable them to purposefully support their children’s learning.

The principal is strategically building shared responsibility and consistency across the leadership team. She is supporting a strengths-based approach to pursuing equity and excellence for all learners. Teachers enhance their practice in a culture of learning and reflection using current research on best practice. They use evidence of student learning outcomes for a collective inquiry into the effectiveness of teaching practice.

School leaders have strengthened processes that support teachers to make more consistent achievement judgements in writing. Teaching staff work collaboratively to ensure their overall judgements about achievement are reliable. These features have improved consistency in teachers’ interpretation of student achievement data across the different year levels. Plans for improvement include continuing to expand this effective practice into other learning areas. Te Puāwaitanga staff have moderated achievement data with other te reo Māori immersion units across Auckland and reported this information to whānau and the board.

Since the 2014 ERO report, positive practices have been sustained and further developed. Recent focus areas that are contributing to greater equity and excellence for children include:

  • promotion of learning-focused partnerships between the school, parents/whānau and the wider community
  • strengthening te reo and tikanga Māori in mainstream classes
  • improved analysis of achievement data, and implementation of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa in Te Puāwaitanga
  • high expectations for teaching and learning to support children to achieve success.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence?

Good school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence are continuing to be strengthened. To enhance these practices, the board, leaders and staff could deepen the school’s strategic evaluation. The board and school leaders agree this could include reviewing and refining the school strategic goals, and developing measurable indicators for evaluation of progress.

School leaders agree it would be beneficial to review the effectiveness of the curriculum in some areas. This review could include evaluating the impact of the school curriculum in relation to the desired student outcomes.

The principal and board should continue to develop the school’s strength-based approach to building leadership capability. This could include internal evaluation of leadership practice and its effectiveness.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • an inclusive school culture underpinned by school values that promote children’s wellbeing
  • the use of current research to guide best teaching practice across the school
  • guidelines and frameworks that support teachers to implement expected practices.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities at all levels are in:

  • deepening internal evaluation practices, with a focus on the impact and effectiveness of strategies and initiatives on outcomes for learners
  • continuing to develop leadership opportunities and capability across the school.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

5 April 2018

About the school 


Birkdale, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%, Boys 49%

Ethnic composition



Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

5 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

 October 2014
 October 2011
 June 2008