Dannevirke South School - 18/04/2013

1 Context

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

Dannevirke South School caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Since the December 2009 ERO review a new principal has been appointed. In 2012, a comprehensive upgrade of the school buildings was begun. Students take pride in their school. They have opportunities to participate in learning and leadership beyond the classroom. Senior leaders, teachers and trustees are strongly committed to educating students to be actively engaged learners and achievers in a values-based setting.

Mutually respectful relationships are a characteristic of the inclusive environment. Teachers provide programmes that are planned and adapted to meet students’ changing needs. Students with special needs are thoughtfully integrated into school life and individually supported to achieve well. Families and whānau are strong supporters of the school. A welcoming environment contributes to students‘ sense of belonging. The school has a good reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

Trustees receive reports that give a clear picture of student progress and achievement over time. This includes analysed data for year groups, Māori and priority students at risk of not achieving. Data reported to the board at the end of 2012 shows that most students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading and that many achieve at or above in mathematics and writing.

Schoolwide achievement targets are based on well-analysed information from a range of sources. Target groups include Māori students, certain year levels and boys. Teachers set clearly linked individual targets, with challenging expectations for priority students to make progress.

Teachers effectively use achievement information to adapt programmes to meet individual needs and engage students as active participants in learning. Teachers closely track and monitor the achievement of priority learners and regularly evaluate the impact their teaching is having on the progress being made. Students’ learning goals in reading, writing and mathematics are discussed with them, their families and whānau. The goals are then revisited during the year.

Groups identified as at risk with their achievement or requiring extension are provided with wellplanned and targeted classroom programmes. Senior leaders have identified writing as a significant target for improvement in 2013.

Reports to parents about their children’s achievement in relation to the National Standards provide clear information about progress, next steps and strategies to empower parents to support learning at home.

Students engage in a diverse range of leadership, sports and cultural learning opportunities within and beyond the classroom.

3 Curriculum

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

A clear rationale is evident for the choices made in designing the curriculum and in selecting learning areas for emphasis. The school’s values and The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) key competencies are woven into the local curriculum. A cycle of learning area reviews is ongoing and involves writing in 2013. The next step is to ensure that future reviews of the school curriculum include further consideration of how the principles of NZCare successfully enacted.

Teachers used a good range of positive behaviour management and relationship building strategies to start the school year. A positive focus on students' engagement and developing responsibility as independent learners is evident. Clear expectations and emphasis on school values contribute to the development of productive learning environments. A strong commitment to increasing the use of information and communication technologies as integral learning tools is apparent.

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

A Māori Student Success plan links with the school priority of accelerating Māori student progress. It identifies strategies to support Māori students to be successful, as Māori. A trustee is working with the board to strengthen consultation and relationships with whānau. A meeting with whānau sought their aspirations for their children’s learning and success. Māori students are well represented in leadership roles across the school.

Teachers value Māori students’ experiences and cultural knowledge and view them as capable and successful learners. The next step is to evaluate how culturally responsive the curriculum is and adapt it to ensure te ao Māori and authentic contexts for learning through culture, are integral to the schooling experiences of all Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The charter and strategic plan have been developed with input from the wider community. They identify key priorities, resourcing and initiatives for all students including those who are at risk of not achieving. The Māori success strategy shows a commitment to making a difference for Māori students and building teachers’ capacity in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

The board is making appropriate decisions to allocate resources, based on assessment and other data, to meet identified needs and priorities for all students. Trustees access training and support to increase their understanding of good governance. Trustees’ participation in Ka Hikitia: Managing Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012, training has heightened their awareness of strategies that enable Māori students to succeed, as Māori.

The principal’s appraisal is aligned to the appropriate professional standards and the school's strategic goals. It is strongly focused on improvement and student achievement. The board ensures the principal has opportunities to undertake suitable professional learning linked to his appraisal goals.

The performance appraisal system effectively contributes to growing teacher capability and identifying and sustaining an understanding of best practice. Teachers have a strong team culture. They observe, critique and reflect on each other’s teaching. Their goals and professional learning and development are specifically linked to the strategic targets.

The leadership team is strongly focused on improving student outcomes and developing teaching practice. Teachers have opportunities to lead initiatives across the school.

Well-considered and thorough policies and procedures guide staff appointment practices, with a focus on improved outcomes for students.

Trustee and senior leadership self review identifies priorities for improvement. Plans are developed and implemented and progress monitored. The next step is for senior leaders to include an evaluation of the impact of review outcomes on student progress, achievement and teaching.

Families and whānau have high levels of involvement in school activities. They are kept informed about events and student success through informative newsletters and informal and formal conversations. They are valued as partners in their children’s learning. Those students who spoke with ERO reported that the school is very family friendly.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

18 April 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 50%, Male 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

18 April 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2009

March 2006

November 2002