Blockhouse Bay School - 22/06/2016

1 Context

Blockhouse Bay School serves an ethnically diverse community and has many students, community members and staff who share longstanding connections with the school. A significant number of children who attend the school speak more than one language with over 60% having a home language other than English. The school provides good support for these learners and their families.

The Board have responded positively to the recommendations in the 2013 ERO report. Leaders have taken a planned approach to school renewal and continue to strengthen teaching and learning for all students.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes as defined by the school are equity and excellence for all learners. The school vision, values and logo have been thoughtfully reviewed to reflect the students and community of Blockhouse Bay School. The vision - "we seek, we strive, we soar "- was developed in consultation with children and the community who have responded positively and with a sense of pride to the new symbolism.

The school’s achievement information shows that overall children have made some good progress in the last three years. The majority of students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. It is likely that the school will achieve the government target of having eighty five percent of its children at or above the National Standards by 2017.

Through careful analysis of achievement data, leaders and teachers have been able to identify some disparity in achievement for Māori children in reading, and for Pacific children and boys in reading, writing and mathematics. However, while there is still disparity in achievement, most identified students are making accelerated progress and the disparity is reducing.

Teachers and leaders good use of data enables them to be proactive in responding to children who need to have their progress accelerated and their achievement lifted. This has contributed to Māori learners continuing to make accelerated gains in all three areas of writing, reading and mathematics. Achievement data also shows that Pacific children are continuing to make accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. The close monitoring of these groups of children is ensuring that this improvement and acceleration is ongoing.

Other students requiring support include students in the early years, who speak English as an additional language. The school's approaches and programmes are supporting these children's progress and helping to ensure that most achieve at or above the National Standards by Year six.

The schools' Māori and Pacific Education strategic plans are appropriately focussed on raising student achievement. Specific and targeted learning plans to accelerate the progress of identified Māori and Pacific learners are also in place.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectively to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The school's strategic plan Māori is linked to action and acceleration plans and the school's whānau plan. These well linked plans are helping to ensure whānau see themselves as part of the decision-making and planning processes for their tamariki.

All Māori children's progress and achievement is closely monitored by the school leadership team, syndicate and classroom teachers. This monitoring includes discussions with whānau about how teachers can best support learners and how parents and whānau can support children's learning at home.

Over the past three years the school has deepened it's acknowledgement of tangata whenua. The board have been proactive in appointing a lead teacher Māori, to teach and lead Te Ao Māori across the school. Māori students and whānau report that they feel heard and acknowledged by the school. Students from many cultures belong to the school Kapahaka group. Māori students have good opportunities to grow their leadership and their sense of identity and belonging.

The majority of Māori are achieving at or above National Standards and the school has targeted support in place to accelerate the progress of those Māori students at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has good systems in place to respond effectively to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Since the 2013 ERO evaluation the school has developed strategies that promote equity for all children. This has included professional development to increase teachers' capability to address learners' specific needs. As a result, teachers are able to use their knowledge of children's individual interests, preferences and needs to tailor their teaching so children's needs are better met in the classroom.

Over sixty percent of children at Blockhouse Bay School speak more than one language and many require English language learning support. The school's systems are well geared to identify and respond quickly to the needs of these students and their families, especially those who are new to New Zealand.

Children's transitions between early childhood education settings and the school are well managed to support children and families. The school is responsive in the way it uses information from contributing early childhood centres and wraps around children and whānau. This means children with additional learning needs are identified early and liaison with relevant support agencies is quickly established.

The school is now well positioned to further accelerate the achievement of students at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

School leaders have successfully implemented a strategic approach to revising the school's curriculum so that it enacts the board's vision and high expectations for all learners' wellbeing, progress and achievement. There is now a coherent curriculum and a common shared language for talking about teaching and learning.

There are good foundations in place to ensure that children experience the depth and breadth of the New Zealand curriculum. Classroom environments appropriately reflect children's diverse languages and cultures. Teachers effectively make connections to learners' lives and experiences out of school to establish connections to the learners' world.

Good opportunities to learn through the performing arts is giving many students the chance to experience success and grow in confidence. Provision for learning Mandarin supports children of Asian heritage, reinforces cultural understanding and builds knowledge that will enable students to develop as more globally aware citizens. Children are seeing how learning is relevant to them and are connecting ideas and skills across the learning areas of the curriculum.

All children are benefiting from teachers' innovative and flexible approaches to meeting their needs and promoting learning. In addition, children are also being given increased opportunities to take responsibility, make choices and to express their views and preferences about what and how they want to learn.

The Principal is building the professional capacity of teachers to promote equity and excellence. An example of this is the growth and distribution of curriculum leadership and management responsibilities across the school. Aligned with this are strategies that are increasing the consistency and coherence of teaching practice school-wide and are developing teachers as a collaborative "learning community". The school's performance management system is a good tool for further building individual teacher capability.

High levels of parent and whānau support are strengthening learning partnerships in ways that promote excellence and equity for children. The relationship between home and school is prioritised at all levels of the school, from the board through leadership to teachers.

Effective internal evaluation underpins the school's planning and development to provide equity and excellence. There are examples of both planned and spontaneous evaluation contributing to school improvement.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Blockhouse Bay School has the capacity and capability to continue ongoing improvement. Its vision and values derive from a commitment to providing an inclusive and welcoming learning environment that supports equity and promotes excellence for all children.

Leaders foster a professional school culture that is open to change, challenge and innovation. They are well supported by trustees who bring skill and expertise to their work as a board. The board consults widely and connects well with the school community. Classroom teachers are committed and willing to embrace development to improve learning outcomes for all. Partnership with parents is encouraged to support positive learning outcomes for children.

The school continues to build on initiatives that will further enhance teacher capability to effectively achieve equitable outcomes for all children. School leaders have identified that they will continue;

  • developing an effective learning community that includes teachers, children and parents
  • refining self-evaluation so that leaders and teachers and the board can more accurately to determine the impact that specific programmes and teaching practices have on outcomes for learners
  • promoting student agency as part of the 'student-centred ' curriculum to ensure children have increasing ownership of their learning
  • building on the strategies that are successfully helping teachers to reduce disparities in achievement and support those children whose progress needs to be accelerated.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendations

The school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children. School leaders plan to continue to focus on reducing disparities in achievement and accelerating the progress of target children through building teacher capability and further refining school self-evaluation. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 June 2016

About the school


Blockhouse Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition






Middle Eastern

South East Asian

Cook Island Māori











Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

22 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

September 2010

March 2005