Eskdale School - 19/12/2018

School Context

Eskdale School is situated in Esk Valley, Hawkes Bay and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. There has been significant roll growth since the 2015 ERO review, increasing from 204 in 2015 to the current roll of 321. Eighteen percent of students are Māori.

The school’s vision of ‘Today’s Learners; Tomorrow’s Leaders’ is emphasised through a focus on student agency to ‘promote life-long learners’. The values of care, community, aspiration, respect and excellence provide a framework for relationships and learning.

For 2018, school targets include improving the number of Māori students and boys reaching the Eskdale expectations.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics, including the progress of target learners.

New deputy principals have been appointed since 2015. Roll growth has also led to increased numbers of teaching staff. Eskdale School is a green-gold EnviroSchool with a strong focus on environmental sustainability.

The school is a member of the Mataruahou (Napier City) Kāhui Ako.

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?

Achievement data collected over time indicates that most students at Eskdale School are achieving at and above The New Zealand Curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

From 2015 to 2017, achievement data showed 10% disparity for Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics, compared to Pākehā students. In writing, there has been disparity over time for boys when compared to girls.

Mid-year 2018 student achievement information shows an increased number of Māori students achieving at and above expectations in mathematics and writing and an increased number of boys achieving at and above expectations in writing.

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

There is evidence of accelerated progress for some target students during 2018, through schoolwide targeting, intervention programmes and classroom teaching.

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?

There is a clear strategic focus on improving student achievement, particularly for those at risk of not achieving. Target students are clearly identified from data analysis. Teachers’ inquiry goals are linked to accelerating the achievement of these students in their class. Their progress is tracked and regularly reviewed by leaders and teachers and reported to the board to inform actions and decisions about ongoing improvement. Parents are informed about their children’s progress and achievement in a range of ways, including through a digital portal.

Leaders and teachers are working together effectively to develop a cohesive approach to teaching and learning. Collaborative inquiry groups and professional learning and development (PLD) are guiding ongoing curriculum development.

The curriculum has a strong focus on promoting life-long learning through student agency. Established school values and attributes provide a useful foundation for curriculum delivery. It is timely to ensure that guiding documentation fully reflects current practice.

Children engage enthusiastically and talk confidently about their learning. Deliberate strategies are well established that encourage and support them to understand and make choices about their learning. Positive, responsive, respectful interactions and relationships are evident between students and teachers and amongst students. Learning attributes and values are evident. Children work collaboratively and have opportunities to participate in a wide range of learning experiences both within and outside the school.

A strong focus on strengthening te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is clearly evident through:

  • the development of Ko Ngā Akonga i te Pokapū, the plan guiding ongoing development

  • provision of external and internal professional learning and development (PLD) for teachers

  • teachers’ beginning to use their developing knowledge and skills

  • establishing a progressive approach for teaching te reo Māori to students.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported to engage with the curriculum and make progress towards meeting their goals.

The principal and senior leaders have established a clear direction for school development. Senior leaders work effectively to promote an environment that supports improvement and innovation. Teachers are well supported to develop their practice through a range of appropriate processes. PLD is aligned to the school’s priorities and focused on strengthening outcomes for students.

A suitable appraisal process supports teachers to inquire into their practice. Development goals promote the school’s strategic focus on better supporting students at risk of not achieving. All teachers reflect on and inquire into their practice. They should continue to strengthen the inquiry process by enacting informed changes to practice to improve outcomes for target students.

Trustees have sound processes for ensuring they carry out their stewardship role effectively. They are well supported by useful reports and relevant information.

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

Leaders have identified, and ERO’s evaluation findings confirm that further development of the school’s response to Māori learners and their whānau is a next step. Increased emphasis should be given to:

  • establishing with whānau what success as Māori means at Eskdale School

  • ensuring whānau and iwi have input into the school’s ongoing direction and decision making through developing improved partnerships

  • increasing teachers’ cultural responsiveness

  • the board reviewing their approach to supporting Māori learners and continuing to improve outcomes for this group of students.

Developing a shared understanding of, and a clear process for undertaking evidence-based internal evaluation is also a next step. This should assist trustees, leaders and teachers in determining the effectiveness and impact of actions and interventions on improving outcomes for students.

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:

  • establishing a clear direction for school improvement established by the principal, senior leaders and trustees that is focused on outcomes for students

  • leaders and teachers working cohesively to support teaching and learning that promotes student agency, ownership and engagement in learning.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening the school’s response to Māori learners including greater involvement of families in decision making and contributing to direction setting

  • developing a shared understanding of, and a clear process for internal evaluation to clearly know the impact of actions on improved learner outcomes.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

19 December 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%
Pākehā 75%
Other ethnic groups 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

19 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review April 2012
Education Review March 2009