Colwill School - 03/05/2018

School Context

Colwill School in Massey, is a Year 1 to 8 school with approximately 200 students. It serves an ethnically diverse local community. The school roll has steadily declined since 2008, while the percentage of children with Pacific and Māori heritage has continued to grow.

The school’s stated values are kindness and caring, within an ethos of inclusion and pastoral care. Many of the children and their families have home languages other than English. The board-run community Hub continues to be a meeting point for parents and whānau, providing useful school-based services and support.

A satellite class of Arohanui Special School operates on-site, as does a Samoan playgroup and a Maori pre-employment skills training provider. A social worker, contributes to the wellbeing of students and their families. With a significant number of children with additional needs, the school is deemed to be a “School of Interest” for the Ministry of Education (MOE).

A new team of school leaders, the result of a senior management restructure in 2016, is working collegially to review the school curriculum and implement student-led learning approaches. School and board leaders are committed to working collaboratively and sharing expertise with local schools through the Tiriwa/Massey Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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

  • collated information about overall student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • trends identified in the overall achievement of students from year to year

  • patterns of achievement for Māori and Pacific children in each year level

  • analysis of targets set for children who are underachieving at different year levels

  • the success rate of the Reading Recovery programme.

The long serving principal and experienced BOT chairperson guide school developments. This includes negotiating an extensive property rebuild with the Ministry of Education. Progressing this matter is now a key priority as it is currently impacting somewhat adversely on the delivery of the curriculum and on the wellbeing of children and staff.

The principal and trustees developed an action plan to address matters arising from the 2014 ERO report. Improvements in teaching practice have been progressed with the support of external facilitators, providing appropriately targeted professional learning and development.

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?

The school is yet to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

Many students achieve below expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Prior to 2017, student achievement overall was declining in these learning areas. In 2017 there was a measurable improvement in literacy, and a small improvement in mathematics. School leaders are optimistic that this trend can be sustained by consolidating school-wide professional learning and development.

Pacific and Māori children overall continue to achieve less well than others in reading, writing and mathematics. Public achievement information identifies a pattern of persistent disparity for these children. A more deliberate emphasis on addressing these trends through the school’s strategic goals and annual achievement targets is recognised in the board’s 2018 planning priorities.

The school’s commitment to inclusion is evident in the high numbers of children with identified learning and behaviour needs. Some of these children have additional levels of funding and an individual education plan. Their progress is monitored closely by senior staff who liaise regularly with classroom teachers, external agencies and support networks.

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

The school is developing more specific targets and reporting expectations relating to those Māori and other students whose learning progress needs acceleration.

The analysis of student achievement information is becoming more accurate and useful. Senior teachers have identified lower rates of progress and achievement at certain year levels, and in recent years have set targets accordingly. The challenge now for school leaders is to strengthen capability to accelerate children’s progress at all year levels.

A strong emphasis on professional learning and development in recent years has increased teachers’ understanding of the need for some children to make accelerated progress. The focus has been on strengthening teachers’ use of achievement information. With several new teachers joining the staff it is important to consolidate these practices with more targeted planning.

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?

Improved data analysis is informing the decisions of the school leaders and trustees. The student achievement focus (SAF) team, closely analyses trends in student achievement information at each year level. The school’s new leadership team should continue to strengthen evidence-based practices relating to student progress and achievement.

The school’s continued focus on involving the parent community through the Hub, is evidence of how partnerships that support children’s learning are valued. The Hub provides useful educational services, and connects parents with the school. Holistic support is provided for families.

Curriculum leaders are making a concerted effort to strengthen culturally responsive practices across the school and within the school’s curriculum. Students are enthusiastic about the recently established performance group that promotes both Māori and Pacific cultures. They also value the opportunities for leadership as school counsellors and house leaders.

The school’s vision for Hauora, benefits children’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Children’s home languages, culture and identity are valued. The school’s curriculum promotes positive values and behaviours. Children’s wellbeing also benefits from the continued KidsCan, breakfast club, and milk and fruit in schools progammes.

Purposeful learning is evident in classrooms. Teachers and children relate positively within clear expectations for learning and behaviour. The roles of the new school leaders are designed to support teachers in the classroom. This is helping teachers to build on culturally responsive practices, and provide greater accountability through internal evaluation and reporting.

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

The emphasis on accelerated learner progress should be more clearly identified in teachers’ planning and practice. This would support an increased focus on lifting rates of progress for targeted groups and individual students across the school.

School-wide goals for those Māori and Pacific learners who are underachieving should also inform teachers’ professional inquiry into the effectiveness of their practice as part of the updated teacher appraisal process.

Children’s learning opportunities should include relevant inquiry processes. This would help strengthen children’s independent learning skills and competencies such as problem solving and creativity. School leaders should also strengthen transition to school practices that build on children’s dispositions and early learning experiences.

Strategic goals for digital learning should be developed by school leaders to support curriculum developments. This would help teachers to prepare for the introduction of the 2020 digital technology curriculum. Professional development should be planned to help teachers extend digital fluency in teaching and learning.

Opportunities for professional development for the new team leaders would further support them to develop a collaborative team culture focused on strengthening the use of data and internal evaluation.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Appraisal audit

Procedures for the appraisal of teachers should be updated. The endorsement of some teachers’ practicing certificates has not been satisfactory in relation to the requirements of the Education Council.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

  • No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure that policies and procedures for the appraisal of teachers are documented more clearly in order to meet the requirement of the Education Council
  • together with the Ministry of Education, resolve as a matter of urgency, delays in property upgrading that are impacting on the delivery of the curriculum and the health and safety of staff and children.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the expertise of board leadership and improved school leadership systems that support internal evaluation and inquiry

  • the school’s stated values of inclusion and pastoral care practices that support student wellbeing and restorative approaches

  • the continued engagement of parents and whānau in partnerships that support children’s learning.

Next steps

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

  • reducing disparity for those Māori and Pacific learners across the school who are underachieving

  • curriculum planning that enhances, inquiry-based learning, cultural responsiveness and digital capability

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

3 May 2018

About the school


Massey, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary Years 1 to 8

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      50%
Girls       50%

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori
Middle Eastern
other Pacific


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

3 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

 August 2014
 May 2010
 June 2011