Golden Sands School - 30/10/2015


1 Context

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

Golden Sands School is located south of Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty. A particular feature of the school is the aesthetically designed and well-presented learning environments and facilities. The school has experienced rapid, ongoing roll growth since opening in 2011. There were 410 students at the time of this ERO review and further growth is predicted throughout 2015 and 2016. Approximately 24% of students are of Māori descent with most affiliating to iwi outside the wider Tauranga area.

Since the ERO review in 2012, the principal has continued to provide high quality leadership for the school. There have been some changes to the senior leadership team and a substantial number of teachers have joined the staff due to continual roll growth. There have been major developments to the school property and grounds to accommodate the large increase in student numbers. Membership of trustees has been stable, and they have had useful training about their governance roles and responsibilities.

Students are catered for in five age-based, flexible learning spaces. These areas are specifically designed to promote high levels of collaboration between teachers and students. The outdoor areas are extensive and well equipped to encourage children to engage in active, creative play and exploration.

During 2014 and 2015 teachers have participated in professional learning about mathematics. They have continued to maintain ongoing personal development about teaching, learning and leadership in collaborative environments.

A culture of professional growth and learning is evident amongst leaders and teachers, and a culture of risk-taking and success is evident amongst students. Teachers hold high expectations for student success. ERO observed high levels of student engagement and respectful interactions between teachers and students. The school is well supported by parents who enjoy taking an active part in their children’s learning.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers use achievement information to:

  • closely track and monitor individual levels of achievement
  • identify individual and group learning next steps, and plan specific teaching strategies to address these needs
  • report detailed information to parents about individual progress and achievement
  • reflect on the effectiveness of their practice
  • plan systematic and deliberate teaching strategies to improve students’ ability to understand their learning progress and make decisions about their next learning steps

Information gathered by the school using a range of appropriate externally referenced tests shows that those students entering the school and achieving below expected levels make accelerated progress with their learning, during their time at the school.

School leaders work as a highly effective and collaborative team to make very good use of student achievement information through:

  • a coordinated and closely monitored approach to gathering and analysing achievement information for all students
  • the planning, monitoring and review of the wide range of programmes and interventions to accelerate progress for students achieving below expected levels
  • providing trustees with detailed information about student achievement and progress.

Trustees use achievement information to ensure that well-informed, evidence-based decisions are made about school resourcing, staffing, professional learning needs, and longer term school strategic direction

3 Curriculum

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

The Golden Sands School Curriculum has been collaboratively designed, is coherent in structure and content, and is consistent with current research and theory about best practice in modern 21st Century learning environments. The curriculum places learners at the centre, is responsive to students' ongoing learning needs, and provides a sound foundation for ongoing review and development. Learning programmes are contextually relevant and there are many opportunities for students to solve problems, be creative and make choices.

The curriculum includes an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematical learning and clearly shows how the school is giving effect to the principles, key competencies and learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The following features of the Golden Sands School curriculum support highly effective teaching and learning.

  • Environments strongly support teachers and students to capitalise on their collective strengths and experience. Students benefit from working in functional, well-resourced learning spaces that respond to the needs of individuals and groups.
  • Appropriate use is made of computer technology across the school.
  • A planned, personalised and coherent approach to teachers' professional learning is linked to the school's strategic priorities.
  • A robust effective teacher performance management system is in place.

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

The school effectively promotes success for Māori as Māori. Key aspects of this success are:

  • ongoing engagement with Te Paetukutuku Ahurea o Ngāti Te Rangi
  • a strategic and planned approach to including cultural competencies throughout teacher practice, teacher performance management and self review
  • a whānau group who provide leadership for te reo Māori and tikanga Māori practices in the school
  • building teacher, parent and student confidence to welcome visitors with pōwhiri
  • sharing events such as hangi with the whole-school community.

Iwi links are established and fostered through the local Kaumātua and Mangatawa, the local marae. Advice is sought from local Maori about appropriate tikanga. The school waiata, Ti Rito o te Harakeke was selected for the school to emphasise the importance and significance of the Harakeke on the grounds where the school was built.

In classroom programmes, teachers specifically plan and implement appropriate interventions to accelerate progress for Māori students identified as being at risk of not achieving.

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.

Leadership and collaboration: The principal provides highly effective professional leadership for senior leaders and teachers. Senior leaders are a positive and professional team. They have established a school-wide culture of review and reflection focused on:

  • strong and well-informed leadership of learning and the continual building of leadership capacity across the school
  • high expectations for teacher performance and ongoing professional learning to improve teacher effectiveness
  • providing programmes of learning that focus on improving levels of student engagement, progress and wellbeing.

This successful approach to school leadership and professional learning has enabled the school to develop and enact a shared vision for school leadership, teaching and learning during a period of rapid growth.

Culture and relationships: A culture of responsive and respectful relationships within the school and with the community has been established. Particular strengths are:

  • strong team work, mutual respect and very high levels of professional trust among teachers
  • a thorough induction process for teachers and leaders
  • a welcoming, inclusive and informative approach to engaging with parents, families and whānau.

School governance: Effective school governance is evidenced by:

  • well-developed policies, systems and processes that contribute to a safe and inclusive school environment
  • board decisions based on careful consideration of detailed information about student achievement and progress
  • an excellent understanding about self review and accountability across all aspects of board operations.

The school acknowledges that in order to sustain and further grow the established culture of learning, senior leaders will continue to:

  • build teachers' pedagogical practice in the context of the school's unique collaborative environments
  • build capacity in leadership across the school.

This is likely to enable the school to realise its vision in the context of rapid growth and development.

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.


Golden Sands School is providing high quality educational outcomes for students. The school's unique design and collaborative, inclusive philosophy promotes very high levels of student engagement with learning. Teachers and leaders give priority to identifying and responding to students' learning needs through an holisitic and meaningful curriculum.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 October 2015

School Statistics


Papamoa, Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition



Other European








Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

30 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2012