Donovan Primary School - 19/01/2018

School Context

Donovan Primary School is a large contributing school located in north Invercargill. The school has a current roll of 455. Ruru Specialist School has a satellite class on site.

The school’s vision is: ‘Our learning community provides an inclusive and positive learning environment, which develops adaptable, caring, self-motivated lifelong learners.’

The school has a large number of valued outcomes for children. These cover behavioural outcomes, such as having a ‘can do’ attitude, and include learning outcomes, such as ‘Think critically, question and transfer knowledge in all areas.’

The current aims, goals and targets for improvement and learner success in the school’s 2017 annual development plan include targets to:

  • raise achievement in writing by the end of 2017 for a group of 15 Year 4 students

  • raise achievement in mathematics for a group of 19 Year 6 students.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has experienced significant roll growth and consequent building development with the recent addition of five new classrooms.

The school has participated in Ministry of Education professional development to accelerate learning in literacy (ALL project) and in mathematics (ALiM project). Leaders and teachers have also participated in professional learning about cultural responsiveness. There are a number of new members on the school board.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for the majority of its students.

The pattern of achievement for 2014 to 2016 is consistent:

  • most students achieve at or above National Standards (NS) expectations in reading

  • the majority of students achieve at or above NS in writing

  • most students achieve at or above NS in mathematics.

The school is not yet achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for Māori learners in writing and mathematics. There is disparity for boys in writing.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school needs to strengthen its response to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

School information shows that learning support and specific interventions are having a positive impact on the progress of significant numbers of children during the course of an intervention. School leaders are in the early stages of using learning information to understand how well groups of children, including Māori children, are progressing and if progress is sufficient or accelerated. School systems are not yet sufficiently developed to show how, or if, this progress is sustained over time for Māori and other learners.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

There are clear and consistent expectations around implementing the school’s values of respect, caring, responsibility and independence. Teachers model the school values (for students and for colleagues) and are supported by systems, such as ‘positive behaviour for learning’. This generates a culture of inclusivity; children and staff feel valued and acknowledged.

Staff syndicate structures enable collaborative learning and decision making. Information about individual children is shared regularly. Teachers’ inquiries into their practice are focused on raising achievement and align with school goals.

Learning support systems identify those students requiring additional support for learning and are responsive to individual student needs. Support for learning is tailored to individuals and interventions are timely.

The appraisal system supports teacher development. It is a useful process for beginning teachers who are mentored and supported to focus their professional learning and reflection on outcomes for learners.

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

The board, school leaders and teachers need to strengthen their analysis and questioning of learning information to identify whether or not students are making sufficient progress and to inform evaluation practices. This includes:

  • clarifying for staff, and students, the expectations for a year of progress

  • analysing learning and achievement information across all learning areas

  • identifying specific strategies and support for learning that have the most benefit for students.

The school’s existing raising achievement plans (RAPs) need to focus more closely on identified or targeted students. Planned outcomes and related specific actions to achieve the identified outcomes for learners need to be made explicit. Progress in relation to the learner outcomes needs to be monitored. Creating clear links to teacher planning, appraisal goals and teacher inquiries should ensure that raising achievement plans are relevant.

Curriculum review processes need to be strengthened and extended. Reviews need to include questions around curriculum coverage (including depth and breadth of coverage), use of localised learning opportunities, assessment of learning in areas of the curriculum other than reading, writing and mathematics, assessment of the school’s valued outcomes and the quality of reporting to parents and learners. Curriculum review should also include student voice.

It is also timely to review the usefulness of targets for learners. School leaders and teachers need to evaluate the system for designing achievement targets to better understand how useful and relevant they are in meeting the needs of teachers and learners.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • pastoral care for children and staff wellbeing

  • inclusive school and classroom practices

  • collegial and collaborative practice among leaders and staff.

Next steps

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

  • data analysis (particularly to inform evaluation and to identify sufficiency of progress)

  • curriculum review processes to ensure depth and breadth of curriculum coverage

  • targeted planning to accelerate progress.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 January 2018

About the school


North Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Yr 1-8 full primary

School roll


Gender composition

Female 250

Male 205

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%


Other 5%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

19 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

September 2014

September 2009