Gracefield School - 07/02/2019

School Context

Gracefield School is located in Waiwhetu, Lower Hutt. Of the 247 students in Years 1 to 6, 23% are Māori and 9% Pacific learners. The school roll has remained stable since the 2015 ERO review.

The school stated vision for student success is to develop ‘learners who are confident, competent and flexible’. The school’s Steps for Success values encourage students to be: ‘adaptable; conscientious; thinkers; respectful; risk takers; and communicators’. These values underpin the school’s curriculum.

Key strategic goals are promoting literacy and numeracy, inspiring a love of learning, and providing the skills and attitudes needed for a changing world.

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

  • literacy and numeracy

  • achievement in the wider curriculum

  • wellbeing

  • initiatives and interventions.

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?

The school successfully promotes excellent outcomes for a large majority of students in reading, writing and mathematics. Initial data for 2018 shows significant improvement, with most students now achieving at or above expected levels.

There is an ongoing level of disparity for both Māori and Pacific students across literacy and numeracy. Recent data shows that Māori student achievement increased in 2018 though, the level of disparity remained. Girls and boys achieve at similar levels in reading and mathematics. Boys do not achieve as well in writing.

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

School data shows that most target students, including Māori, identified as priority learners at the start of 2018, made accelerated progress over the year.

Students with additional learning needs are very well supported to participate, progress and achieve in relation to appropriately developed Individual Education Plans.

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?

Students participate in a supportive schoolwide learning environment. Relationships among students and with teachers are positive and respectful. Well-considered processes guide students’ transition into the school. Common expectations for learning and routines are visible across classes. Each student’s holistic wellbeing is a school priority. Regular surveys and student voice inform decision making.

Students’ engagement is well promoted by the broad curriculum. School vision, history and local themes are clearly evident in practice. There are many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural and leadership activities. They are well supported to make meaningful choices through the ‘Steps for Successful Learning’. E tu Whakahi documents the school’s specific focus on te ao Māori.

Leaders and teachers use a range of nationally-referenced and school-developed assessment tools to gather sound baseline data. This data is well used to inform resourcing and strategic decision making. Students at risk of not achieving are effectively identified. Teachers use the information to recognise and respond to students’ interests and learning needs. Robust systems support effective measuring and monitoring of individual student achievement. For the assessment of learning, moderation practice supports teachers to make dependable judgements about students’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Trustees and leaders effectively drive the school’s vision and direction. There is a coherence of systems and processes from strategic planning, through professional development and curriculum, to classroom practices that are designed to improve student outcomes. Leaders have established high expectations for teaching and learning. Teachers have a collaborative approach to inquiring into their practice, planning and assessment, to more effectively respond to the needs of individuals and groups of students.Extensive professional development is focused on introducing new methodologies and growing teachers’ capability.

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

School leaders have identified, and ERO’s evaluation confirms, that enhancing engagement with whanau, iwi and aiga is an important area for development. Formally gathering family and community aspirations and expectations should inform planning and evaluation and promote a stronger partnership to support improved outcomes for Māori and Pacific students.

There is a clear improvement focus. Teachers and trustees are highly reflective. Leaders recognise the importance of continuing to enhance internal evaluation. By developing clear expectations of intended outcomes of programmes at the planning stage they should be better able to evaluate the impact of the newly introduced approaches and initiatives on student learning.

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:

  • the curriculum that is flexible, inclusive and responsive to a diverse groups of learners

  • a purposeful environment that promotes students’ wellbeing, sense of identity, belonging and engagement in their learning

  • a coherence of systems and processes at all levels that has focus on improving student outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • enhancing engagement with whānau, iwi and aiga to better represent and support aspirations, culture, language and identity and promote improved outcomes for Māori and Pacific students

  • continuing to enhance internal evaluation to better evaluate the impact of the newly introduced approaches and initiatives on student learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

7 February 2019

About the school


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52%, Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 23%
Pākehā 53%
Asian 12%
Pacific 9%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

December 2018

Date of this report

7 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

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