Kohia Terrace School - 19/08/2016

1 Context

Kohia Terrace School is a full primary school catering for children from Years 1 to 8 in Epsom, Auckland. The school has an enrolment zone in place to help manage roll growth. Kohia Terrace School is a member of the Auckland Central Community of Learning (CoL). Leaders and teachers have been involved in a variety of professional learning programmes and inquiries that support the acceleration of student progress and achievement. Recent property developments include the refurbishment of classrooms and creating collaborative learning spaces.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are expressed in the school's Whakatauki: " Kōhia te wānanga e tū ki te ao mārama" ("Gather the knowledge of the ancestors and stand to face the world") The school's vision, "the power to dream, the passion to achieve", unlocks children's potential and develops their capacity for lifelong learning.

The school values: "Nurturing our Human Spirit", "Leading the Way", "Reaching for the Sky", "Excelling through Effort" are encouraged, modelled and explored as an aspect of everyday life and are well understood by children, teachers and the community. The school vision and values form strong foundations for successful learning. Positive relationships between children, teachers, families and whānau are regarded by the school as essential to learning, underpinning equity and excellence.

The school’s achievement information shows that high numbers of children achieve 'at' or 'above' the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. There are very small numbers of Māori and Pacific children. Māori children are achieving at similar levels to their peers. The data shows some disparity with Pacific achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. The data also shows some gender based differences with the overall achievement of girls exceeding that of boys, particularly in writing and reading. In response to these differences, the board, school leaders and teachers continue to focus on deliberate actions to reduce this disparity.

The school's moderation processes rely on robust internal discussions and sharing of children's achievement results. This, together with work in and across teams is helping to ensure that overall teacher judgements are valid and reliable. These assessment decisions are then checked and analysed by senior leaders. The school also moderates their achievement data with other Auckland schools.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has developed acceleration plans to identify, track, and monitor the progress of all children who need to make accelerated progress in reading, writing, and mathematics. These plans include:

  • embedding 'Teaching as Inquiry' as an explicit means of accelerating children's progress
  • strengthening internal evaluation to ensure successful teaching strategies and learning intervention programmes are provided for all children
  • continuing to develop student agency and children's knowledge of themselves as learners
  • strengthening biculturalism to provide a stronger sense of te reo and things Māori at all levels of the school.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to all children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

The school has high expectations for all children to achieve and a collective staff responsibility for accelerating the progress of children at risk of not achieving. Through ongoing and targeted professional learning programmes, leaders and teachers have deepened their understanding of what is required to improve and accelerate student progress and achievement.

The school maintains a strong focus on 'knowing the learner'. Children benefit from teachers' detailed knowledge of their interests, strengths and learning needs gathered from parents and whānau, previous teachers, achievement information, and from the children themselves. This information is updated, monitored and responded to on an ongoing basis.

Leaders and teachers collate and analyse achievement data very effectively. They have established very clear and coherent systems and procedures to record and respond to children's individual strengths and learning needs. They identify every child who is below the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Through targeted raising achievement plans, teachers and leaders monitor students' progress closely and plan appropriate learning intervention programmes that promote acceleration.

The school has numerous strategies and interventions to accelerate target students' achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. These initiatives include in-class interventions and support programmes taught by specialist teachers. Teacher aides who speak languages other than English, are used very effectively to provide additional learning support in classrooms. These strategies contribute to high levels of student engagement in classrooms. This is further enhanced by teachers, who collaborate well and routinely share good practice in teams to support all learners.

The children who spoke with ERO value the opportunities and challenges associated with being part of a writing acceleration group. They were able to talk about their learning and evidence the progress they made during the intervention.

Leaders and teachers collate and analyse a wide range of data to critically evaluate the success of these initiatives, designed to accelerate children's learning progress in relation to National Standards. They evaluate how well programmes suit each child's specific learning needs and adapt programmes and resources to meet children's changing needs.

Teacher Inquiry is a core component of acceleration at Kohia Terrace School. Teachers have target groups of children in each class who are the basis of 'Teaching as Inquiry' action research projects. These inquiries are well aligned to the school's charter and annual plan achievement targets. The 2016 charter targets are clearly and appropriately focussed on accelerating achievement in literacy through strategic and coherent approaches across the school.

Teachers think deeply about what they can do to accelerate the progress of these children. They scaffold children's learning through a range of rich learning experiences across the curriculum and build on what they know about individual children's interests, strengths and capabilities. Teachers make effective use of professional learning and research. Their classroom practice is further enhanced by coaching programmes, professional learning groups and opportunities to model and observe effective practice. Target groups are discussed, and their progress is reflected on at team meetings and at professional learning group meetings. The progress of the target groups are appropriately linked to the teacher appraisal processes.

Senior leaders maintain a strong line of sight to the progress and achievement of all children. Achievement information is regularly reviewed and senior leaders use achievement data to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programmes.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum, processes and practices are very effective in developing and enacting the vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

The school's curriculum reflects The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and the school's whakatauki, vision, values and goals. It appropriately prioritises reading, writing and mathematics as the foundations of learning. The rich, broad and authentic curriculum provides challenge and opportunities for all children to engage their interests through integrated classroom inquiry programmes. The school's curriculum themes are highly responsive to children and build on their prior knowledge and experiences outside school.

Children participate and learn in a collaborative and inclusive school culture. They are supported to learn alongside their peers where they test and explore their ideas. Specialist teachers provide additional curriculum enrichment through a hands on science programme, and opportunities to learn additional languages.

The quality of teaching is high. There are numerous very effective teaching practices that help students to know about themselves as learners and actively contribute to and lead their learning. Examples of these are 'learner maps' and maths and literacy journeys, where children monitor and track their own progress and achievement, and identify their next learning steps.

The school has progressively strengthened its bicultural practices. Senior leaders recognise the positive impact that bicultural practices, curriculum content and the use of te reo Māori has on Māori student language, culture and identity. The school has continued to consult with the Māori community through annual hui and have been responsive to whānau voice; an example of this has been the employment of a tutor to provide te reo Māori programmes for all classes. The school's goal is that Māori students thrive in te ao Māori, and as Māori within a global world.

The school is highly responsive to parents and whānau. Positive, learning focused partnerships between home and school are evident. Parents receive good information about their children's progress and achievement in relation to National Standards, and how they can help at home. There are processes that empower children to engage their parents in their learning. Parents spoken to by ERO greatly appreciate the school's high expectations for all learners, inclusive practices and the programmes designed to accelerate progress and achievement.  

The school is further extending their networking and collaborative practices by being part of the Auckland Central Community of Learning (CoL). The school's well-documented strategic plan is aligned to the CoL's goals and contributes positively to accelerating the progress of children at risk of not achieving.

Extensive internal evaluation is used well to meet the requirements of all learners and the changing school population. All school systems and teaching practices embed internal evaluation into everyday practice and allow leaders and teachers to respond holistically to the learning and wellbeing of all children and particularly those at risk of not achieving.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:  

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Kohia Terrace School is very well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The principal and senior leadership team are very effective leaders and have a cohesive and highly collaborative leadership approach. They are very deliberate in their roles as 'leaders of learning'. They lead a team of teachers who are open to learning and embrace on going professional learning opportunities, coaching opportunities and inquiry. Change and school improvement has been well considered and well-paced. Staff well-being and their individual and professional growth is valued and catered for. This is helping to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Effective governance supports equitable outcomes for all children. The board of trustees have a very good understanding of their stewardship roles and responsibilities. Trustees are committed to ongoing training and professional learning. They are consultative and regularly evaluate their own effectiveness as a board. Trustees have a clear understanding of children's progress and achievement. They effectively scrutinise achievement data and inquire into trends and patterns in the informative reports they receive from the principal and senior leaders. They utilise achievement information very well to make strategic resourcing decisions. They are responsive to the needs of the parent community and facilitate parent involvement and engagement in the school.

Through internal evaluation and ERO's external evaluation, senior leaders identified relevant development areas that include continuing to:

  • build a future-focussed approach to learning
  • develop authentic bicultural and multicultural responsiveness
  • align school and home-based approaches to learning in ways that support valued outcomes for all children

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014
  • provision for international students.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to use internal evaluation to achieve excellence and equity in outcomes for all children. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 August 2016

About the school 


Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys      54%  
Girls       46%

Ethnic composition

Sri Lankan
Latin American
Middle Eastern
other Asian
other European


Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

19 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2011
October 2008
September 2005