Elmwood Normal School - 29/11/2016

1 Context

Elmwood Normal School is a large contributing school that has a long, close affiliation with teacher training providers. The school's community is highly interested in and supportive of children's learning and achievement. Teachers and senior leaders work closely with local early learning services and schools in local and national clusters.

There have been some changes in the board. A new deputy principal was appointed in 2016.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to strive to be the best they can be. The vision is that children will be successful in tomorrow's world. The school's values are excellence, creativity, empathy, collaboration and independence.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori children are achieving well, particularly in reading and mathematics. The high rates of achievement in reading, mathematics and writing have continued over time. Writing has been identified as an area for ongoing improvement.

Teachers focus on accelerating children's progress towards and beyond the National Standard and use a range of ways to assess children's learning. They regularly share the strategies that have proven most effective in supporting children's engagement and progress in learning. Teachers have robust processes for moderating their judgements across the school and cluster.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has developed the school-based curriculum. This has included redefining the vision and values. Greater emphasis has been given to the use of digital technologies within learning programmes and increased access to digital devices.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is highly responsive to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers know Māori children very well as individuals. They have regular and meaningful communication with children's whānau about their learning and wellbeing.

Teachers have high expectations for children's learning and progress. They make very good use of achievement information to plan for the learning needs, interests and strengths of individual children. They use a wide range of highly effective teaching practices to assist the accelerated progress of children most at risk of not achieving. Teachers regularly reflect on their teaching practices and consider ways they can adapt their programmes to best support children with their learning.

Children identified as needing additional help are provided with well-organised, targeted learning support programmes. Highly experienced teacher aides participate in regular and appropriate training to enable them to assist children's learning needs. The board are given detailed information about the progress of each intervention.

The focus and increased use of digital technology is having a positive impact on the ways children learn. Children regularly use technology meaningfully to encourage and engage in learning and to receive regular and purposeful feedback. They are also able to easily share learning with their whānau.

Māori children have many opportunities to use and hear te reo Māori and learn about Māori culture. The school employs a Māori tutor with expertise to work with groups of children. The school is currently considering how to ensure bicultural aspects are visible and integrated across learning programmes.

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 need acceleration. They use the same thorough systems and practices outlined above for identifying and monitoring learning, progress and achievement for all children.

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 very effectively supports the school's processes and practices in enacting the vision, values and goals for equity and excellence. The school's values are well known by the children, who are clearly able to articulate what they mean to them.

Children are highly engaged in learning. They have many opportunities to extend their abilities and interests. Teachers provide a wide range of fun learning experiences that encourage children's engagement in learning. Parents are well informed about their children's learning. They are provided with useful information that enables them to contribute to and support class and individual programmes.

The school provides a supportive environment. Teachers, children and parents share positive relationships. There are many opportunities to regularly communicate about children's learning and wellbeing. Children's transitions into, within and beyond the school are well managed and responsive to individual needs.

Teachers participate in well-targeted, relevant professional development. They work closely together and regularly reflect on how they can improve outcomes for children. Senior teachers provide teachers with helpful feedback about their teaching practices.

Senior leaders provide effective leadership. They ensure a culture of shared decision-making. Good use is made of individual teacher's strengths and abilities. The board is presented with regular, useful information to inform decision-making.

Senior leaders and teachers have developed a useful framework and process for internal evaluation that strongly focuses on priority learners. They place a significant emphasis on ongoing improvement. The principal has identified that this process could be further strengthened by ensuring that reviews are more evaluative.

Trustees bring a useful range of experience and expertise to their governance role. They have a good understanding of their responsibilities. The board has thorough systems in place to monitor school operations. The school's community is kept well informed.

Senior leaders and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step for the school is to continue to develop the school's curriculum. The board and senior leaders should also give greater emphasis to regular reporting against the school's strategic goals.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

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.

Senior leaders and teachers make very good use of achievement information. They are highly reflective about children's learning and what programmes and resources will best support these. Senior leaders could now consider increased reporting of learning and achievement across all learning areas. The board is kept very well informed and considers the reported information in their resourcing to meet the needs of children and staff.

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

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

For the school to continue to improve its performance, ERO recommends that the senior leaders and teachers:

  • continue to develop the school's curriculum
  • extend internal evaluation practices to ensure they are evaluative and cover all areas of the curriculum. 

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu/Southern

29 November 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 47%; Girls 53%

Ethnic composition





Other ethnicities






Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

29 November 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

August 2010

September 2007