Flat Bush School - 27/08/2019

School Context

Flat Bush School caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The roll of 445 is made up of predominantly Māori students, and those with Pacific heritage. A significant number of children speak languages other than English at home. The school has a Māori Focus class and also Samoan Focus classes, which build stronger understandings of these cultures.

The school hosts a satellite unit from Mt Richmond Special School, consisting of two classrooms. A kindergarten is situated adjacent to the school grounds.

The school has undergone leadership changes over recent years. A newly appointed principal and assistant principal, have joined with the deputy principal to form the senior leadership team.

In 2018 the school began a re-visioning process. This has resulted in the development of Flat Bush School’s vision of ‘Success for all learners’.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing, and mathematics
  • attendance, wellbeing and pastoral care.

The school’s strategic priorities for improving valued student outcomes and success include:

  • raising student achievement by strengthening teacher practice
  • increasing student engagement and progress by developing and embedding culturally responsive practices
  • focusing on student wellbeing so that all students feel safe and secure at school
  • developing community engagement so that whānau are active participants in their children’s learning experiences.

The 2016 ERO report noted that Flat Bush School was working to strengthen its capacity to develop, implement and sustain accelerated learning progress for students. Next steps for improvement included developing deeper insights into the quality of teaching and learning, and refining internal evaluation. The school has made good progress in these areas.

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?

School data show that the school is making good progress in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students. A majority of students achieve at or above national curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. While this data remains stable over time, there have been significant pockets of improvement in the achievement of specific groups of students in recent years. Some disparity remains between the achievement of boys and girls in reading and maths.

Leaders have established ways to analyse data and monitor achievement. Team leaders and teachers are strengthening their use of assessment and analysis of learning information to help them respond to students’ learning needs. Teachers are beginning to use collaborative inquiry processes, focused on target groups of students, to collectively support a lift in achievement. Ongoing professional development and coaching for leaders and teachers is resulting in improvement in learner-focused teaching practices.

School leaders and teachers focus on knowing the whole child. School data show that most students achieve well in relation to the school’s valued outcomes, which are for students to:

  • question, show initiative and drive to succeed
  • be effective at working cooperatively and independently
  • be able to read, write and speak with confidence
  • realise the importance of being honest and fair, reliable and responsible
  • nurture and respect the environment, themselves and others, and enthusiastically participate in school and community activities.

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

The school is actively implementing strategies to support the acceleration of learning for Māori and other students who need this. School leaders prioritise accelerating progress and achievement levels for all. There is parity in the achievement for Māori and Pacific students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers are developing culturally responsive practices to better support students’ learning. They use a variety of approaches, including tuakana/teina relationships and mixed ability groupings to build learners’ confidence and engagement.

A teacher specialising in the Working Together programme focuses on successfully transitioning new students and whānau to the school.Parents who have given feedback about this programme feel welcomed, informed and valued.

A Special Education Needs Co-ordinator operates cohesive schoolwide processes to improve provision for children with additional learning needs. The school’s intervention programmes are responsive to these students. Ongoing collaborative planning and review with parents, whānau and external agencies provide individualised support for students who need this.

The leadership team has systems in place to improve the collection of specific data to monitor the impact of targeted approaches. It intends to continue focusing team leaders’ and teachers’ attention on optimising opportunities to accelerate learning progress and raise the achievement of individuals and groups of students.

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?

School processes and practices are increasingly effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning.

Senior leaders are strategic and considered. They focus on the learning and wellbeing of students and whānau to make informed decisions. Senior leaders work collaboratively to support the school’s vision. Change is managed carefully to establish an inclusive, collaborative, improvement-focused school culture. Leaders have high expectations of themselves, teachers, students and the community. Leaders and teachers take collective responsibility for students’ wellbeing and achievement. This is strengthening the drive for excellence and equity in student learning outcomes.

Teachers build strong relationships with students and whānau. They focus on improving culturally responsive practices across the school. Teachers and leaders recognise the strength of these approaches and are beginning to apply them across learning areas.

Leaders use relevant internal and external expertise to ensure leaders’ and teachers’ ongoing development. They are building a reflective, evaluative approach to improvement. Open, collegial conversations are focused on improving student learning. Professional coaching and mentoring are supporting and promoting sustainable change. Leaders have developed an effective appraisal system that includes all teachers having an ‘inquiry’ focus that aligns with school goals and focuses on students’ learning and wellbeing.

Parents are positive about their school. They know how their children are achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. They are given strategies and resources to support their children at home. Leaders and teachers are keen to continue exploring ways to harness strengths in the community to promote preschool/early years oral language, first languages and readiness for school.

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

Leaders and teachers know that they should continue to focus on raising and accelerating student achievement. They continue to strengthen their focus on intentional teaching and evaluate its impact on student achievement and outcomes for all children.

Leaders and teachers recognise the need to continue to strengthen current systems that focus on student learning through collaborative teacher inquiry, to increase collective capacity. They will continue to analyse outcomes and the impact of interventions on raising student achievement.

Leaders should continue to monitor programmes and teaching practices frequently to ensure there is consistently good quality practice across the school. Ongoing management of the school’s high expectations and growing culture of collective teacher responsibility for all students, will help strengthen learning across the school.

Teachers are beginning to implement curriculum inquiry approaches across the school that encourage students to lead their own learning. Continuing to develop this student inquiry approach could promote students’ choices in and decision making about their own learning. Teachers could investigate further ways to ensure that new knowledge is relevant and meaningful to their students and that students can link this new knowledge directly to their own past experiences.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Flat Bush School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • shared leadership that supports teachers to collaboratively focus on student learning
  • strong, increasingly learning-focused relationships with learners and whānau
  • professional capacity and capability building that is based on high expectations
  • internal evaluation that promotes continuous reflection and ongoing improvement.

Next steps

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

  • strengthen the focus on intentional teaching and learning, and evaluating the impact of interventions and strategies on raising student progress and achievement
  • monitor programmes and teaching practices to ensure consistency of high-quality practice across the school, and increasing the culture of collective teacher responsibility for all learners
  • develop inquiry approaches that support students to lead and make decisions about their own learning.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

27 August 2019

About the school


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%
Samoan 40%
Cook Island Māori 19%
Tongan 16%
other ethnic groups 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

27 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016
Education Review December 2012
Education Review December 2009