Epsom Normal School - 14/08/2013

1 Context

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

Epsom Normal Primary School is a multi-ethnic, central Auckland school where inclusive and evaluative approaches support students to learn. Bicultural practices are valued within a culture of innovation, respect and care. The board, community and staff are proud of the school’s history and traditions. The school operates in a research-based environment with professional and academic links to local and international universities.

The board has recently reviewed and modified its vision and values in consultation with the school’s community. The school’s learning priorities have been revised and focus on students strengths within the school’s curriculum. Students respond positively to high quality creative and inquiry based learning programmes where critical thinking, expression and invention are promoted.

Staff reflect the diversity of the school’s community and capably support the high numbers of students who are English speakers of other languages.

The board and staff engage positively with internal and external review and the school has an affirming reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

The principal and teachers use achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. High expectations for student achievement are clearly understood and articulated. Challenging targets are set to promote ongoing improvement to achievement.

Students are highly engaged, motivated and achieve well. Their progress and achievement is closely monitored each year and over their time at school by senior leaders, teachers and students.

The board is well informed about student progress and achievement and use the information to make good governance decisions. School information indicates that the majority of students, including the school’s Māori and Pacific students, achieve either at or above national standards in reading, writing and mathematics. It would be useful for senior leaders to monitor and report to the board, on the progress and achievement of each of the school’s separate Pacific groups.

The principal’s deliberate restructuring of the senior leadership team has resulted in a whole school approach to the pastoral and academic care of all students. Senior leaders have implemented effective strategies to support students who are yet to achieve national standards. Early identification of learning needs and the implementation of innovative programmes by capable class teachers and teacher aides are accelerating these students’ progress.

The principal has introduced a curriculum approach that empowers students to increase their learning across all curriculum areas. Student learning celebrations are a key feature and provide meaningful connections between students, teachers and the community.

School and classroom environments are increasingly reflecting national and international approaches to teaching and learning. Such approaches are aligned to the school vision and philosophy for learning that has recently seen the board offering different learning spaces and seating options for students to use. Team leaders are looking now to evaluate the effectiveness of the environments on students learning and achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum is broad, carefully designed, and effectively promotes and supports student learning. It is enacted through a philosophy of student-centred learning and includes input from the community. The school-wide writing programme continues to be a strength and is a focus of the curriculum.

Students’ individual learning strengths are at the heart of school curriculum design. Extensive opportunities for student creativity are offered and collaborative learning is encouraged. There is a shared understanding of the approach by parents, teachers and students. Learning opportunities are relevant, authentic and are aligned to the school’s curriculum planning. They include rich experiences in pure science, music and the performing and visual arts.

Senior leaders have a deep knowledge of the teaching capabilities of the staff. They nurture ongoing improvement and encourage innovation. Teachers are supported to research areas of educational interest that impact on student learning. Evidence of the positive outcomes of these projects is visible in students’ achievement results.

Teachers are motivated, hard working and have high levels of skill. They work collaboratively in teams and across the school. The board offers many opportunities for teachers and students to develop and deepen leadership skills. Teachers participate in externally and internally facilitated professional learning opportunities based on personal and school-wide goals.

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

The school’s commitment to promoting the language, culture and identity of Māori is effective. The board, principal and teachers respectfully consult with parents/whānau. Senior leaders sought guidance on implementing appropriate practices for school-based pōwhiri. The school promotes kapa haka and has designated teachers to embed tikanga and te reo Māori throughout the school.

Students who identify as Māori are achieving well and their individual progress is monitored closely by teachers. They are well supported by the school philosophy that acknowledges and affirms students’ identity.

The principal plans to review the school-wide te reo Māori curriculum. ERO recommends that the board consider accessing suitable external support to guide the review process.

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. Trustees capably undertake their governance role and board proceedings are conducted in a professional and efficient manner. Their knowledge of the community, through effective consultation, informs the school direction and self review. The board provides a multi-faceted approach to consultation that includes providing language appropriate opportunities to maximise parent input into school decision-making. A newly implemented, well considered strategic plan and revised vision has set the course for the following three years.

The principal is a highly effective professional leader. She is strategic, has a clear educational vision and uses academic research to inform educational decisions about improvement. The principal works in partnership with the board and her senior leadership team to make the school’s vision a reality.

Self review practices and principles are strong and are used throughout the school. The board reviews its own governance effectiveness and there is evidence of a true sense of partnership between the school and parents for the benefit of the students.

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 four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

14 August 2013

About the School


Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50%

Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




South East Asian


Other Asian

Other European











Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

14 August 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

February 2004