Chelsea School - 02/04/2014

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

Chelsea School in Birkenhead, Auckland has nearly 400 Year 1 to Year 6 students, the majority of whom are New Zealand European/Pākehā. Māori students comprise 5 percent of the roll and Pacific students make up less than 2 percent. The numbers of Chinese students has increased as the cultural diversity of the school continues to increase.

ERO’s January 2012 report noted the need for the school curriculum to align with the expectations of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Improved leadership in teaching and learning was required to enhance student learning outcomes. The school also needed to strengthen relationships with Māori whānau and improve its processes for managing complaints. The report recommended intervention by the Ministry of Education.

In May 2012, the Secretary of Education appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to support the board with employment matters, curriculum management, communication, and governance systems and processes. The LSM, school leaders and the board worked together to prepare an action plan. ERO maintained contact with the school during 2012 - 2013 through update reporting meetings and on-site visits.

There have been significant changes in the school over the past two years. Some staff have left and new senior appointees have brought a wide range of skills that enhance curriculum leadership. Staff have adapted well to new expectations. The school is now much better placed to continue its journey of ongoing improvement.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO, the LSM and the school agreed that priorities for review and development were to:

  • fully implement the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • strengthen student-centred teaching and learning practices
  • strengthen relationships with the school’s Māori community.


Over the past two years, school leaders have reviewed the curriculum and other management systems to help students become more successful modern learners and better informed about their learning and achievement. School leaders have carefully prepared ways of involving parents and the school community in understanding these curriculum developments.

The school has moved towards fully implementing the NZC. Staff have reviewed and updated the three major areas of literacy, numeracy and science. Students now have access to wider and more enriched learning programmes.

Student-centred teaching and learning practices have been strengthened. Classes are no longer streamed or excessively cross-grouped, giving teachers increased opportunities to know student strengths, interests and learning across the breadth of the curriculum. Teachers have responded positively to their involvement in professional development. Programmes now increasingly reflect new teaching approaches, and classroom environments assist students to take greater ownership of their own learning.

Student assessment procedures have been considerably enhanced. Teachers are now making more reliable assessments in relation to the National Standards, especially in writing. Teachers are using assessment results much more directly as they plan and deliver programmes. They are helping students to better understand their progress and achievement and become more engaged learners. Teachers now reflect more on student outcomes when they evaluate their programmes and when they engage in teacher appraisal processes.

The principal has established efficient systems for monitoring and reporting both student progress and school-wide achievement levels. Student achievement data is better and more usefully analysed. It is being used to clearly inform school decision making. Students with identified needs are known and receive special support to help them make accelerated progress. Overall student achievement levels are high throughout the school.

Communication and consultation with whānau Māori has improved. Whānau have been involved in setting goals for the school and for their children. The school is being responsive to the outcomes of consultation. It has a long-term plan for ongoing development in helping Māori children achieve success, as Māori.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO, the LSM and the school agreed that priorities for review and development were to:

  • review the school’s health and welfare provisions, including the management of concerns and complaints.
  • sustain and improve school performance.


The LSM has had a significant role in the school’s improvement. She has provided appropriately directed support and expertise that the board has used in positive ways. The LSM has worked effectively with the principal to plan and oversee school developments. ERO and the Ministry of Education agree that the school is now sufficiently well placed to manage without a formal intervention.

Improvements have been made in school leadership. The principal shows a commitment to continuing the positive initiatives undertaken. The principal’s promotion of whole-school professional development has led to greater consistency in teaching and learning.

The school’s quality assurance and staff appraisal processes are based on increased expectations for high quality performance. The principal and the leadership team are supporting middle managers to become more active in sustaining and building on school improvements.

The board is proactive and effective in its governance of the school. The chairperson has provided leadership and represented the board successfully throughout the whole of the change process. Improved understandings of board operations and curriculum developments are promoting closer alignment between school governance and management.

Board policies and school procedures for student wellbeing have been well reviewed over the past two years. The board has consulted parents about the school’s charter and its continued commitment to bicultural policies and practices. Trustees have worked closely with ERO throughout the Arotake Paetawhiti review process and have informed the community of the changes taking place at the school. 

The BOT has improved its processes for managing complaints. However, the ongoing consultation is needed to fully restore community confidence and to ensure that views of all parents and whānau are considered.

School leaders recognise the importance of sustaining and further improving school performance. ERO endorses the priorities identified by school leaders as next steps for further development. These next steps include:

  • continuing to implement the NZC and moderation work for National Standards
  • undertaking more detailed cohort tracking of student achievement
  • promoting student self and peer evaluation of learning and student involvement in reporting their learning to parents.
  • ERO also endorses plans to provide teachers with ongoing support as they cater for the wider diversity of student achievement levels within their classrooms.

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 three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

2 April 2014

About the School


Birkenhead, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 52%, Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā






other European










Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

2 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2012
December 2008
August 2005