College Street Normal School - 25/05/2015


Many students are highly successful learners. They engage in challenging programmes responsive to their strengths and needs. Students at risk in their learning are very well supported to make accelerated progress. The values of respect, kindness and responsibility are embedded. High expectations, robust systems and a strong improvement focus enable the school to be very well placed to provide positive outcomes for students.

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?

College Street Normal School is a large, Years 1 to 6 multicultural school in central Palmerston North. Regular use is made of the many community facilities in easy reach of the school. Eight per cent of the 522 students are Māori. Rangitāne is acknowledged as mana whenua.

The shared philosophy of ‘Go for Gold’ is aimed at every student becoming a confident and successful lifelong learner. Many opportunities are provided for students to be involved in a range of academic, cultural, sporting and community activities.

Enhancing student learning outcomes through improving the quality of classroom instruction is prioritised. Well-implemented systems support teachers to build their capability.

The school has a very positive reporting history with ERO. Continued improvement remains the overriding focus of students, teachers, school leaders and trustees. The school’s high performance has been sustained since the May 2011 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

Achievement information is very well used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Many students are very successful learners. A high proportion achieve at or above in relation to the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Students make good progress as they move through the school and many leave Year 6 above National Standard expectation. Māori and Pacific students achieve at similarly high levels to other groups.

Assessment data is regularly collected, collated and analysed to inform the focus for teaching. The extent of student progress is carefully considered and programmes are modified for individual students if necessary.

A range of programmes effectively supports students at risk of achieving below expectation. Willingness to use staff flexibly assists responsiveness to the needs of students. Many target students show substantial gains in their learning. Intervention programmes for reading and writing in junior classes are strengths.

Effective processes support teachers to make judgements about students' achievement. These decisions are regularly reviewed to ensure they are reliable.

Assessment data is well analysed and used to inform decisions about future learning programmes for individuals and groups. Charter targets increasingly support trustees and leaders to look more deeply at the impact of teaching strategies on particular student’s learning. Improved achievement has resulted from a recent focus on writing.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum is consistently effective in promoting and supporting student learning. A wide range of opportunities is provided for students to engage in purposeful and challenging programmes that respond to their strengths and needs.

The school’s curriculum is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. Students are encouraged to develop as thinkers and learners. Attitudes to learning based on 'Habits of Mind' are a key contributor to this. Enabling students to build effective learning habits and be active participants in their programmes are priorities.

Skills are developed that enable students to be successful independent learners across the curriculum. Useful tools assist them to understand and speak confidently about their learning and progress.

An emphasis on ensuring students' progress in literacy and mathematics is evident. Ideas across a range of curriculum areas are explored through an integrated approach. Students are able to develop and apply knowledge and develop a range of skills in meaningful ways. ‘Thinking like a scientist’ is a current focus.

Clear guidelines for teaching and learning are successfully implemented. High expectations for student engagement and teaching are well established. Teaching approaches are learner centred. Regular reference to relevant contexts and prior knowledge fosters learner interest and participation in class programmes.

A considered approach to the development of e-learning ensures it increasingly supports understanding of and learning with digital technology.

Students with special needs and abilities are well provided for. Enrichment activities successfully assist more able learners to develop their strengths.

A range of opportunities is provided for parents to participate in their children’s learning and the life of the school. Effective transition practices support students and parents new to the school. Parents are well informed about curriculum activities and student achievement. Children’s next learning steps and ways parents can help are specific and clearly shared. The school is continuing to seek ways to build connections with parents and the community.

Shared responsibility for the wellbeing of students is based around the ‘Habits of Heart’ values of respect, kindness and responsibility. These values are modelled, explored and well embedded. Respectful and affirming relationships are evident and contribute to students’ positive sense of belonging.

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

The school continues to build the extent that it promotes success for Māori as Māori. Recent developments include:

  • re-establishment of a kapa haka group
  • increased reflection of tikanga within school activities
  • teachers increased knowledge and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori
  • te ao Māori being increasingly reflected within classrooms
  • greater connections with whānau.

A next step is to review current provision for Māori learners through reference to best practice guidelines for developing teachers’ cultural competencies. Further unpacking of these should continue to strengthen the extent the language, culture and identity of Māori students is promoted.

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. Key contributing factors include:

  • high expectations for students' success from parents, trustees and teachers
  • deliberate strategic decision-making, responsive to review
  • comprehensive and responsive planning and evaluation to support developments and initiatives
  • robust systems and practices that support teaching and learning and promote student achievement.

Comprehensive, shared expectations and guidelines support teaching practice and increase teacher capability. Teachers and leaders work collaboratively with colleagues to share strategies likely to provide the best outcomes for students. Robust performance appraisal and development processes focus on improvement and building consistent, effective classroom practice across the school.

The principal is a strategic, innovative leader who has established a clear vision for the school. Effective leadership at all levels is built and sustained through well-established processes. The senior leadership team is collaborative and clearly articulates high expectations for students and staff. Leaders use effective systems and practices to monitor and support high quality student outcomes. Continuing to build the quality of teaching is a focus for all involved in leadership roles.

Experienced trustees are well informed about curriculum and achievement. The impact of interventions and initiatives is effectively monitored. The charter clearly indicates the board’s priorities for promoting successful learning outcomes for all students. Resourcing decisions reflect the emphasis on building the capability of teachers to promote student achievement.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were five international students attending the school.

ERO's investigations confirmed that the school's review of practices to support the learning and wellbeing of international students is ongoing and thorough. The education programmes provided for these students are appropriate for their needs and effectively promote their learning. International students are well integrated into the academic and social life of the school.

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.


Many students are highly successful learners. They engage in challenging programmes responsive to their strengths and needs. Students at risk in their learning are very well supported to make accelerated progress. The values of respect, kindness and responsibility are embedded. High expectations, robust systems and a strong improvement focus enable the school to be very well placed to provide positive outcomes for students.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

25 May 2015

About the School


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 52%

Female 48%

Ethnic composition





Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

25 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

May 2008

May 2004