Kilbirnie School - 02/05/2019

School Context

Kilbirnie School, in the Wellington suburb of Hataitai, caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll is 205, of whom 9% are Māori and 5% are of Pacific heritage.

The school’s motto is ‘Whaia te iti kahurangi’, encouraging and supporting learners to strive to be the best they can be. The ‘CARE’ values of: confidence, achievement, respect and empathy are an integral part of the curriculum.

Three strategic goals for 2019 focus on students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing, engagement, needs and interests.

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

  • achievement in literacy and mathematics
  • schoolwide targets and areas of school development
  • student wellbeing.

In 2018, staff worked with an external facilitator to focus on teaching reading, and leaders and teachers worked to develop a shared understanding of developing innovative learning environments. Progressing the process of teachers inquiring into the effectiveness of their practice was an emphasis in 2017 and 2018.

A new principal and deputy principal were appointed in January 2017.

The school belongs to the Kāhui Ako Motū Kairangi.

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 from 2015 to 2018 shows that most students achieve at and above The New Zealand Curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics, with almost all achieving at and above expected levels in reading.

Between 2015 and 2018 the percentage of boys and girls achieving at and above expected levels in reading has increased. At the end of 2018, the number of Māori children achieving at and above expected levels in writing was lower than in 2017. Pacific students’ results were high in reading and writing at the end of 2018.

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

Leaders have clear expectations that all students, including those at risk of not achieving, will be supported to make accelerated progress. In reading and writing, two thirds of students achieving below expectations at the start of 2018 made accelerated progress during the year.

School achievement information from 2018 shows that many students moved from achieving at the expected level to above this level during the year in reading and writing.

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?

Children are engaged, active learners. They talk confidently about their learning and progress. Children know about and demonstrate the CARE values. A sense of belonging is clearly evident.

Respectful interactions are an integral part of the school culture. Teachers are responsive to students’ interests and holistic wellbeing. They know the students well and build positive and affirming relationships.

Leaders have established robust systems for making decisions about student achievement. Leaders and teachers make effective use of nationally normed assessment tools to identify individual student’s next learning steps and track their progress. Teachers discuss data and moderate overall teacher judgements for consistency. The board receives comprehensive achievement reports from each teaching ‘hub’.

The broad curriculum provides a wide range of learning opportunities for students. A graduate profile has been developed collaboratively, providing well-defined expectations for outcomes at year six. Leaders and teachers have developed and documented expectations for teacher practice to guide student learning and development. There is a considered approach to coverage of The New Zealand Curriculum and students’ interests inform their inquiry and authentic contexts for learning.

Well-considered theory and practice to guide the development of innovative learning environments is in place, supporting current and future teaching and learning. This includes increased emphasis on student choice.

The school’s bicultural policy sets high expectations for leaders and teachers to emphasise Māori culture and language. A bicultural curriculum is evident, and the school is extending and further developing this emphasis.

Leadership has ensured that structures, processes and practices promote ongoing learning and development for teachers. A robust appraisal process, teaching as inquiry, and professional learning and development (PLD) opportunities, are appropriately aligned with school strategic developments. Teaching as inquiry is a well-structured, thorough process in which teachers use data and new learning to investigate the success of teaching to promote positive student outcomes.

Focused community collaboration contributes to positive outcomes for learners. Parents’ views are sought and valued and contribute to school direction. There is a wide range of ways for parents and whānau to receive information about and discuss their child’s learning and progress, and to engage in the life of the school.

Trustees and leaders drive the clear vision for school direction and continual improvement. Strategic and annual planning, PLD, appraisal and teachers inquiring into their practice are well aligned. Policies and procedures are regularly reviewed. A governance manual clearly documents trustees’ roles, board meeting processes and procedures. The board reports regularly to the school community.

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 begun to work towards strengthening the strategic focus on decision making to further promote Māori success as Māori in 2019. Working collaboratively with whānau whānui to develop a plan that articulates how trustees, leaders and teachers will work towards defining Māori success as Māori at this school is a planned next step. ERO’s evaluation supports this emphasis.

Continuing to increase evaluation capability has also been identified by leaders as a school focus for 2019. ERO’s evaluation supports that further development of a shared understanding of internal evaluation is an appropriate focus. Continuing to strengthen the evaluation of the impact of teaching programmes in relation to valued outcomes for students is a priority identified by leaders.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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:

  • a clear, schoolwide focus on achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for learners
  • a well-considered curriculum
  • structures, processes and practices that support a clear vision of continual improvement.

Next steps

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

  • working with whānau whānui to define Māori success as Māori
  • continuing to increase leaders and teachers capability to evaluate the impact of teaching programmes.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

2 May 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54%, Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%
NZ European/Pākehā 76%
Pacific 5%
Other ethnic groups 10%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

2 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015

Education Review November 2011