Brightwater School - 27/09/2019

School Context

Brightwater School is a contributing primary school located in Tasman, close to Nelson city. The growing roll of 330 includes approximately 10% of students who identify as Māori. Most students remain for six years of schooling.

The school’s valued outcomes for students are for them to be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners through the school’s recently developed learner qualities. The vision is supported by school-developed values and competencies.

School targets for 2019 are to raise the achievement of students at risk of not reaching curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics. 

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to curriculum expectations
  • attendance.

There is a long serving principal and stable staffing and trusteeship. A new deputy principal has recently been appointed. Teachers have engaged in a range of externally and internally led professional learning and development (PLD). Current PLD includes mathematics and ‘Poutama Pounamu’ to support culturally responsive practice.

The school is a member of the Waimea Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning in which it contributes to leadership roles.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

Most students achieve at or above school curriculum level expectations in reading, writing and mathematics, with many achieving above expectations, especially in reading. Similar patterns of achievement are evident over time.

The school recognises that disparity persists for boys in writing, and for Māori students in the three core areas, particularly writing. Nearly all Pacific students achieved at expectations in 2018.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

Some target students make accelerated progress. The school has identified the need to be more effective at accelerating progress for identified students, particularly for Māori students.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

There is a clear focus on supporting students who are at risk of underachieving to meet curriculum expectations. Teachers work collaboratively to engage students in learning and to respond to their interests and individual needs.

Responsive support is provided for students with additional learning needs. Appropriate agencies are accessed as required, and families are involved in planning decisions.

Students engage positively and confidently in the life of the school. Positive relationships are evident. Classrooms are well organised and learning-focused.

An appropriate range of assessment tools is used to identify and monitor student achievement. Schoolwide achievement data is regularly reviewed to support decision-making.

Teachers regularly engage in professional discussion to improve their practice and share strategies and approaches to support student learning. Relational trust is fostered, and teachers are empowered to innovate and lead. They participate in regular, meaningful PLD aligned to strategic priorities.

The school values its community. Families’ involvement and input is regularly sought and responded to. The welcoming and inclusive culture is characterised by strong relationships and respectful interactions. A sense of belonging and connection is strongly promoted.

Trustees are improvement-focused and set a clear direction for school. They receive detailed reports about operations and achievement and provide responsive resourcing to support school priorities and positive student outcomes.

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

Developing a clearer picture of rates of progress for students at risk of not achieving expectations is a next step. This should help with monitoring and evaluating the success of targeted actions, in relation to specific targets, to accelerate progress for these learners.

Leaders and teachers are appropriately reviewing and redesigning their curriculum to better support learners to progress and more closely align with the school’s vision for learning and improvement. They are working to strengthen a localised focus that better reflects Te Tiriti-based practice and parent aspirations.

The process should include:

  • further developing expectations and capabilities for effective teaching and culturally responsive practice

  • providing increased support for students to understand and make decisions about their learning.

The implementation of appraisal should be strengthened to better support teacher growth and development.

Leaders, trustees and teachers should continue to build shared understandings and effective use of inquiry and evaluation to better measure the success of innovations and actions in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Brightwater School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • identifying and supporting students who are at risk of underachieving to meet curriculum expectations
  • leadership and staff that develop trusting and collaborative relationships and support a sense of belonging and connection for students and their families
  • an improvement-focused board that values its community and their involvement.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • developing a clearer picture of rates of progress for students at risk of not achieving, to effectively evaluate and promote their progress
  • reviewing and redesigning a localised curriculum to better align with the school’s vision for learning and improvement and supports learners to make accelerated progress
  • continuing to build understanding and effective use of inquiry and evaluation to better measure the success of actions in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure all policies and procedures are made available to parents and caregivers.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Tini Southern Region

27 September 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Males 52%, Females 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 10%
NZ European/Pākehā 84%
Pacific 3%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

27 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2014
Education Review January 2010