Cockle Bay School - 13/07/2016

1 Context

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. The board comprises a mix of new and experienced trustees. Since the 2011 ERO external evaluation a new school leadership team has formed to support the school's continuous improvement.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are child-focused and aim to provide a high quality and inclusive education for all children. Its curriculum is designed to develop their initiative, independence and strengths.

The school’s achievement information shows that ninety-two percent of Māori children achieve at and above National Standards. Māori children achieve at comparable levels to all children in the school. This has been a pattern for the last three years.

While the achievement of Māori children is high, trustees, school leaders and staff are committed to ensuring that Māori learners' successful progress is sustained.

Through close tracking and monitoring, the school has identified two groups of children who are at risk of not achieving. Pacific children's learning and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, and boys' learning and achievement in reading and writing are the areas for development and review.

For 2015, fourteen percent of boys achieved below National Standards for reading and sixteen percent for writing. In comparison, eight percent of girls achieved below the National Standard for reading and six percent for writing. This disparity of achievement between the genders is being addressed through school and teacher inquiry.

Children with special needs progress well towards National Standards. Individual Education Plans (IEPs) reflect shared goals formed by parents, teachers and children that are measurable. The support provided for these children is personalised.

Moderation processes used by teachers are well developed and are a very good guide to how well children are achieving in relation to the National Standards. Overall teacher judgements reflect the breadth of the National Standards and are informed by children's ongoing learning and nationally referenced assessment tools. 

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • improved systems and processes to support teachers to accelerate the progress of learners at risk of underachieving
  • further strengthened partnerships with parents and whānau that are focused on improving learning
  • supported staff to reflect on ways they can be more culturally responsive in their interactions with children and parents and whānau.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds very effectively to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Māori children who are at risk of not achieving are well identified through the use of a thorough, school-wide tracking and monitoring process.

The learning needs of these Māori children are catered for through:

  • well considered teaching that requires teachers to reflect on ways that they can modify their practice to best meet individual children's learning requirements
  • high levels of collaboration and trust among staff to successfully support the transition of Māori learners as they progress through the school
  • promoting student efficacy which helps accelerate the progress of Maori children who are at risk of not achieving.

School achievement information shows that the few Māori children who do not achieve at National Standards are better positioned for success in reading, writing and mathematics because of the progress they have made. Longitudinal achievement information shows the benefit of teachers being more deliberate in their actions in accelerating the progress of children who are at risk of underachieving. Regular reports to the board about how well Māori children are progressing help trustees to ask questions about achievement trends and patterns, and target resources.

Teachers’ high expectations of all children “achieving personal and holistic excellence” and succeeding in relation to the National Standards are evident in action. Teachers skilfully support children’s accelerated progress, growth in confidence, cultural identity, and leadership skills.

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

The school responds very effectively to other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. The strategies for accelerating the progress of Māori children have a positive influence on outcomes for all learners.

The above strategies have been used to support boys and Pacific children who are at risk of not achieving. The number of Pacific children in the school is small. For the few Pacific children at risk of not achieving the school also:

  • uses internal evaluation to reflect deeply and cater for these learners' requirements
  • promotes flexible teaching to adapt practices to suit learners
  • uses research to understand and build on children's interests, strengths and capabilities.

Children with special learning needs are involved in goal setting. Teachers have high expectations for these learners' achievement and learning. Provision for children with special needs is reviewed in an ongoing manner, informed by individual learning plans (IEPs). These children's strengths form the basis for deliberate and purposeful teaching and learning. A professional team approach is evident in the way different staff members' knowledge and skills are valued and used to improve outcomes for these children.

Teachers and teacher aides are well supported by school leaders and colleagues to extend the learning of children with special needs. To improve practice, the board is interested in receiving information about the numbers of children who have achieved their IEP goals. This practice would be consistent with other very good achievement reporting to the board.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are very effective in developing and enacting the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

Broad curriculum themes allow children to build on their prior understandings and experiences outside school. Children have very good opportunities to pursue their various interests through classroom inquiries and enrichment programmes.

Equity and excellence feature in consistently high quality school-wide teaching and learning practices. All children are well supported to be active, connected, lifelong learners. Planned, purposeful leadership and coherent systems support school leaders and teachers to respond promptly and successfully to individual children’s learning and wellbeing requirements. Children actively contribute to, and lead their learning.

Well documented action plans to raise achievement inform teacher practice and the board’s strategic plan. Trustees understand school achievement information and actively enquire how they can contribute to improving outcomes for all learners. This process enhances the professional culture of accountability that is prevalent in the school.

Teachers’ practices reflect their high expectations of all children succeeding in relation to the National Standards. They successfully promote children’s accelerated progress by:

  • providing opportunities for children to apply skills immediately to what they are learning
  • planning active, fast-paced, hands-on experiences
  • supporting children to keep pace with what their peers are learning in order to avoid the sense of needing to catch-up.

Trustees, school leaders, staff, parents and children advocate and live the school's values. People involved with the school have a strong sense of belonging to a supportive community. Trusting relationships are fostered between teachers and children, and home and school. This school feature underpins partnerships that are focused on working towards positive outcomes for children who are at risk of not achieving.

Children are supported by teachers to successfully transition into, through and beyond the school. Innovations such as a board funded pre-school transition programme supports children to begin their schooling with confidence and contributes to their successful progress through the education system. Children feel secure in the knowledge that teachers have their immediate and future interests at heart. Teachers maintain strong links with people who once attended the school. They are keen to know how well the children they taught have succeeded as young people and adults.

School leaders use effective appraisal processes to support teacher development. Reflective teaching practice is evident in the way teachers are open to possibilities and implement new ways of working promoted by targeted professional development and learning.

Leadership occurs at all levels of the school. The school leadership team supports staff to pursue and apply their leadership capabilities. Students are provided with meaningful opportunities to be involved in decision-making and implement their plans of action. This form of leadership development contributes positively to children’s efficacy in their learning, and their wellbeing.

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.

School leaders and trustees use internal evaluation processes effectively to modify school systems that support teaching and learning practices to meet diverse learners' requirements. They support staff to engage all children in a curriculum that builds on their capabilities and accelerates the progress of those who are at risk of not achieving.

Evaluative thinking and practice is supported in a variety of ways and is an area that the school has identified for further development.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five 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
  • the school’s policy and procedures in relation to the application of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

School leaders should continue to develop high quality evaluative practice at all levels of the school. The school's internal evaluation processes would benefit from deeper critique to identify and promote innovative strategies that support children at risk of not achieving to experience success in their learning.

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 July 2016 

About the school 


Howick South, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys      50%
Girls       50%

Ethnic composition

other European
other ethnicities


Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

13 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

October 2011
September 2008
November 2005