Chapel Downs School - 19/06/2015


Chapel Downs School promotes student learning well. Students enjoy and engage in the learning process and benefit from high quality teaching. A settled and inclusive tone in the school supports the learning of all students. There is a focus on engaging the community in learning partnerships and in the life of the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

Chapel Downs School caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The students come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Thirteen percent are Māori and 63 percent have Pacific heritage. The onsite early childhood education centre offers a learning pathway into the school for many students.

The board has successfully managed the school through a period of leadership change. Both the school’s long-serving foundation principal and deputy principal have left the school. A new principal was appointed 2012 and a new deputy principal in 2015. The leadership team is focusing on retaining the school’s strengths, connecting with the school’s community and developing culturally responsive teaching practices. Low staff turnover contributes to teachers knowing students and their families well. Students, staff and parents display a strong sense of pride in the school.

The board and senior leaders have consulted with all stakeholders as part of reviewing the school charter, mission statement and values. This consultation has resulted in the mission statement of Achieving Together, which is underpinned by four Māori concepts, Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga, Kōtahitanga and Rangatiratanga. The school community identified six learner dispositions as being essential for students to become confident and capable learners. This shared vision of the Chapel Downs learner who is an “investigator, team player, self manager, communicator, and shows perseverance and respect” is clearly articulated by the leadership team.

Chapel Downs School is a caring and collaborative learning community. The school’s promotion of and response to student wellbeing is extensive. There is a positive tone in the school that supports the learning of all students. Strong relationships and connections underpin all practices. Comprehensive pastoral care programmes and access to a social worker and school nurse for students and families on the school site support students’ wellbeing.

2. Learning

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

The board, senior leaders and teachers use achievement information well to make positive changes for learners.

Achievement information is used to set school priorities and appropriate achievement targets, and to design curriculum programmes. Teachers use achievement information to plan programmes to cater for students’ different learning strengths and needs.

School achievement information shows that students make very good academic progress over their time at the school. Good systems are in place to support teachers to make reliable achievement judgements in relation to the National Standards. There is clear alignment of assessment practices between the junior and senior school that allows for close ongoing monitoring of students. This information is used to support appropriate targeted actions to raise the achievement of students who are at risk of not achieving to their potential.

Achievement information is also used by senior leaders and teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of teaching practices and to identify relevant professional learning opportunities Teachers could now share further assessment information with students to support students to be more actively involved in decisions about their progress.

Student enjoyment and engagement in learning is clearly evident. Classrooms are visually rich environments and settled places for learning. Students talk about their learning with confidence and support the learning of their peers.

The school’s inclusive and responsive practices support students with special talents and learning needs. Teachers and learning assistants share a commitment to and responsibility for student progress. This shared approach ensures students participate fully in appropriate learning programmes and classroom activities.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning.

Learners experience a coherent and increasingly rich curriculum. The curriculum emphasises literacy and mathematics, with increasing learning opportunities in other curriculum areas, including education outside the classroom and environmental sustainability.

The school is committed to students having positive learning experiences and being successful. The Chapel Downs learning dispositions are a cornerstone of the school curriculum. They set a meaningful vision for students as learners and they guide curriculum development. As a result students are confident in participating in learning processes.

The bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is given an important place in the curriculum. Increasing acknowledgment and celebration of cultural diversity is enriching learning opportunities for students. Students’ languages and cultures are evident in curriculum contexts for learning and in the school environment. Teachers value students’ differing cultural backgrounds and help them to develop a strong sense of individual identity. Professional learning is supporting teachers to personalise learning for Māori and Pacific learners.

Teachers deliver the curriculum well. Programmes are well planned and teaching is characterised by high quality practices. Teachers and learning assistants share teaching approaches and ideas, and are well supported by effective professional learning programmes and meaningful staff appraisals.

School leaders and teachers work well with families and early childhood services to support students’ transition into the school. Working partnerships between the school and intermediates need to be strengthened to support students’ transitions into these schools.

ERO and senior leaders identify that curriculum development could include greater student use of digital devices to support their learning.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori effectively.

The school has 74 students who are Māori. They value the board’s and senior leaders’ commitment to lifting the profile of Māori in the school. Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning and are confident in their individual cultural identity. The school’s information shows that Māori students make very good progress in relation to the National Standards over their time at the school.

Aspects of Māori culture and language are evident in the environment, learning programmes and school practices. Students are encouraged to participate in the school’s strong kapa haka group. Kapa haka is a source of pride for students, the school and its community. It provides good opportunities for Māori student leadership, and promotes discipline, team work, the arts and deeper understanding of tikanga Māori. Teachers take responsibility for delivering te reo Māori lessons, and using te reo in relevant curriculum contexts.

The board and senior leaders have made good use of Ministry of Education resources to plan ways to develop Māori students’ potential. The inclusion of cultural competences for teachers of Māori learners in teachers’ performance appraisals reflects the school’s expectations for teaching practices.

Whānau are made welcome in the school and are increasingly becoming involved in their children’s learning. Senior leaders are building partnerships with the Māori community to promote positive outcomes for Māori students. There is Māori representation on the board and the school seeks guidance from local kaumatua to ensure the māna of tikanga Māori is respected and maintained.

4. Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board provides effective governance. A unity of purpose is evident through the shared school vision and good working relationships between the board and school leaders. Trustees have good systems to ensure school accountabilities are met. They are well informed about curriculum developments and student achievement. Board decision-making is strategic and is focused on improving outcomes for all students.

Leadership of the school is highly effective. The principal and senior leaders have the knowledge and skills to implement the school’s high expectations for teaching and learning, ensuring that these are very evident in practice. There is a focus on recognising people’s capabilities throughout the school that complements and enhances school development. Strong staff collegiality and team work allow the school to work on meaningful change and support the sustainability of successful initiatives.

The principal has been instrumental in the significant progress that has been made in engaging the community in partnerships for learning and in the life of the school. His vision of the school being a “place that allows the community to shine” is guiding strategic school decisions.

Self review is used very well to sustain and improve the school’s performance. Self review processes are robust and include contributions from different groups of people, including students. Outcomes of ongoing review findings and regular consultation guide the school’s next steps and future directions.

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.


Chapel Downs School promotes student learning well. Students enjoy and engage in the learning process and benefit from high quality teaching. A settled and inclusive tone in the school supports the learning of all students. There is a focus on engaging the community in learning partnerships and in the life of the school.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 June 2015

About the School


Flat Bush, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Cook Island Māori






Other Pacific nations

Other ethnicities












Special Features

Early Childhood Education Centre

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

19 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

June 2008

June 2005