Karori Normal School - 14/02/2020

School Context

Karori Normal School is a large school for students in Years 1 to 8 in the suburb of Karori, Wellington. The current roll is 760.

The school’s vision is for everyone at Karori Normal School to be ‘confident in ourselves, active participants, motivated and challenged and future thinkers’.

Current strategic goals are that:

  • every child’s achievement grows

  • care and resilience are fostered

  • everyone makes Karori Normal School a better place.

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

  • schoolwide achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • target groups of students’ progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • student wellbeing
  • attendance.

Professional learning and development in 2019 focused on the wellbeing of students, digital technology, student agency, sustaining inclusive practices and embracing language, culture and identity.

A new deputy principal was recently appointed.

The school has strong links with Victoria University of Wellington, with fully registered teachers acting as mentors for student teachers.

The school is a member of Te Kāhui Ako o Te Whanganui-a-tara, which is co-led by one of Karori Normal School’s deputy principals.

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 is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for almost all students. Mid-2019 achievement information showed that almost all students were meeting or exceeding the expected New Zealand Curriculum level in reading, writing and mathematics. This high level of achievement has been consistent over time.

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

The school has evidence of students below the expected curriculum level making accelerated progress.

Of those Year 5 to 8 students achieving below the expected curriculum level at the end of 2017 in mathematics, approximately a third made accelerated progress by the end of 2018. In this same time period, approximately half of those Year 2 students achieving below the expected level in writing made accelerated progress. Three quarters of Year 4 students not achieving at the expected level in reading made accelerated progress between 2017 and 2018.

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?

Respectful and responsive interactions and relationships characterise the positive, purposeful learning environments. Students are supported to make choices about their learning, about where they will work and about whom they work with. Teachers actively seek and respond to students’ interests. High engagement and collaboration are clearly evident and students talk confidently about their learning.

Since the previous ERO review, leaders and teachers have collaboratively developed a strong philosophy and shared understanding of effective teaching practices. These promote flexible, inclusive conditions for learning and provide engaging opportunities for all students. The documented curriculum clearly articulates valued outcomes for the school and provides clear and useful guidance for teaching and learning.

Teachers are well supported to develop their practice in many ways. These include opportunities to:

  • participate in relevant and timely external and internal professional learning (PLD) that is relevant, timely and aligned to school priorities

  • make choices about attending the PLD that best meet their needs

  • receive useful feedback through discussions about their practice.

There is a staff culture of sharing ideas and resources. Provisionally certificated teachers are well supported by their mentors and the school’s induction programme.

Transitions have been a strong focus across the school. Children’s transition into the school is personalised to meet individual needs. Students’ transitions to secondary school are well informed and well considered. Relationships with local early learning services and colleges within the Kāhui Ako have been strengthened.

Leaders collaboratively develop and enact the school’s vision, values and priorities for improvement. They provide opportunities for teachers to be leaders and facilitate meaningful development processes. They ensure that processes for making judgements about student achievement are effective. Teachers moderate these judgements within their teams to ensure dependability.

Students with additional and complex learning needs are well supported to make ongoing progress. There is collective responsibility for responding to the identified needs of children across the school.

A strong process for appraisal supports teachers to develop their practice. The framework is improvement focused and promotes teachers to reflect and inquire into the effectiveness of their practice to improve outcomes for children.

The school’s charter and strategic plan document a clear direction for ongoing development. This plan has a strong foundation of feedback from parents and staff. The principal provides the board with regular updates on progress towards the three strategic goals. Senior leaders and the board chairperson have led a well-planned, comprehensive induction process for new trustees.

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

The documented curriculum requires inclusion of a clearer focus on the local context and places of cultural significance in the area. Current initiatives and developments that promote a bicultural curriculum should be strengthened and clearly documented to more clearly articulate how the school reflects the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Ensuring a culturally responsive curriculum for Māori learners should also be clearly articulated based on a shared vision of success for Māori, as determined by whānau and iwi aspirations. Continued consultation is important in this process.

The school has identified that strengthening partnerships with families is a priority. ERO agrees that it is important to continue to build reciprocal partnerships that enhance student learning, wellbeing and inclusive practice.

While leaders and teachers reflect on practice and gather feedback from staff and students, further development of a shared understanding of effective, evidence-based internal evaluation is important. This should assist the school to better evaluate the impact of initiatives, practices and programmes on outcomes for students.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO review.

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 Karori Normal School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • purposeful learning environments and a shared understanding of effective teaching practices that promote high student engagement
  • a clear direction for the school’s ongoing development with leaders collaboratively enacting the vision, values and priorities for students’ wellbeing and achievement.

Next steps

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

  • having a clearer focus on the local context and a strengthened bicultural emphasis in the documented curriculum so that the curriculum framework better reflects the curriculum in action
  • increasing use of evidence-based internal evaluation to determine the impact of initiatives and programmes on outcomes for students.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliances in relation to the health curriculum and the school’s plans for Māori students.

In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

1. adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community [Section 60B Education Act 1989].

2. in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students. [NAG 1(e)]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • document in the curriculum overview how careers education is taught
  • develop policies about surrender and retention of property and about managing physical restraint.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

14 February 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54%, Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 2%

NZ European/Pākehā 70%

Other European 12%

Asian 11%

Indian 3%

Pacific 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

14 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2015

Education Review August 2012