Koru School - 14/06/2018

School Context

Koru Schoolcaters for children in Years 1 to 8. Of the approximately 520 students, 14 percent are Māori and 82 percent have Pacific heritage, the main groups being Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands Māori and Niuean. Other ethnicities represent four percent of the roll.

Since the 2015 ERO evaluation, newly built, open space buildings have replaced single classrooms. Students and staff shifted to these Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) during the latter part of 2017. Supporting the adoption of new ways of teaching and learning has been, and remains, a priority for school leaders, trustees and other key members of the school community.

The school’s vision is to develop critical thinkers who persevere and drive their own learning, and to encourage them to be ambitious, creative, and curious. The vision is seen as a means to promote positive collaboration for learning and teaching, and foster a culture of respect, inclusiveness and belonging. School values that support this vision are anchored by the principles:Ko au – I am an active learner; Ko mātou – we learn together; Ko tātou – we value community.

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

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics

  • engagement and wellbeing

  • different learning areas of theschool’s curriculum.

Key school goals for improved student outcomes focus on supporting children who require acceleration in their learning to meet curriculum expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. The target for 2018 is that 75 percent of these students make sufficient progress to achieve at and above curriculum expectation. The school views that, for some learners, more than one year is required to make necessary progress.

The school is part of the Whakatipu Akoranga Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

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 has had a positive impact on outcomes for its students over time.Year 8 achievement is noticeably higher than other year levels, indicating the positive difference the school makes for learners who stay at the school for at least four years.

The school’s overall achievement information for 2015 to 2017 shows that over half of children achieve at expected levels in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) in reading, writing and mathematics. There is disparity of achievement between Māori students, boys and other groups of learners. In contrast, Pacific girls achieve at significantly higher levels than other groups of students with the majority achieving very well in relation to curriculum levels.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Most students:

  • are actively involved in their learning and contribute to the life of the school

  • have a strong sense of belonging and connection to others in the school community

  • use school values to support their positive interactions with others.

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

The school is continuing to work towards parity in achievement for Māori and boys. The school accelerates the learning for some of these learners.

School targets focus on accelerating the progress of all learners who are at risk of not achieving, including Māori and Pacific learners. Progress towards these targets is monitored by school leaders and the board. School data show accelerated achievement for individual students in reading, writing and mathematics. Unfortunately, overall achievement information for 2015 to 2017 does not reflect these positive shifts for individuals.

The school is successful in raising achievement for Pacific girls. School leaders, trustees and staff could explore what works well for these learners to adapt strategies to suit other learners, particularly Māori students and boys. The school’s drive to increase student voice in their learning might be working well for children, particularly Pacific girls, who are already confident in their language and identity.

Very good quality provision for children with additional needs helps them to make progress in their learning and wellbeing. Focused teaching approaches successfully respond to these students’ specific learning requirements. They are helped by learning assistants mostly in the classroom environment. As a result, children with additional needs are able to develop their literacy and mathematical skills and knowledge in the broader curriculum, alongside their peers.

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?

Very good school leadership is collaborative and forms connections. This impacts positively onchildren’s sense of belonging and wellbeing, and active engagement in their learning.

Students are enthusiastic about their new environment. They appreciate opportunities they have to interact with others in their learning and the ready access they have to digital resources to support their work. Children respectfully offer their ideas and opinions and actively support others’ learning.

Teachers use their extensive knowledge of children, their families and whānau to support children’s overall learning and development.They provide good quality feedback to students about their achievement and progress. Increasingly, they support students to identify and work towards their next learning steps.

The school’s broad and increasingly responsive curriculum helps teachers cater for children’s diverse capabilities and interests. Younger students have had opportunities to contribute to community initiatives that focus on achieving ecological sustainability. Older students also explore themes that are relevant to their lives and experiences. As part of termly review, students are asked for feedback about how well their learning requirements are met, and themes they would like to explore in the future.

Visits to Papatuanuku and other local marae support children’s understandings about the nature of Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural society. More deliberate ways of foregrounding the contribution of Māori children at such visits and events would complement other school initiatives that are designed to improve outcomes for Māori learners.

Schoolwide professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives have focused on increasing staff capability to support students in purposeful, self-directed learning.The school’s ongoing involvement in a project for improving student mathematics learning has supported teacher inquiry about strategies to cognitively engage Pacific children. Staff have discussed and adapted some of these practices for literacy and other areas of the curriculum. School leaders and trustees agree with ERO that shared inquiry about how best to cater for the requirements of different groups of learners who are at risk of not achieving would give impetus to this work.

The board shows very good stewardship by reinforcing connections with the community. Trustees are very helpful to school leaders and staff in this and other dimensions of school operations. The board reflects on the effectiveness of its work. The school builds positive relationships with external support agencies, parents and community groups.

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

ERO and the school agree that deepening evaluative practice will help trustees, school leaders and teachers to identify and implement effective practices that are focused on improving learning outcomes for children at risk of not achieving. The board could enhance its evaluation processes by discussing student achievement and wellbeing information in order to inform school priorities.

Strengthening ways of reporting to parents/whānau about their children’s learning and wellbeing is a constant focus. School leaders recognise the importance of this development in order to build on successful initiatives such as students discussing with parents/whānau about their learning. This school development will help parents better know how their children are progressing and ways they can assist them at home.

Consultation with all families about changes in the school is significant and informs school direction. This positive aspect of school operations could be extended to include hui/fono with Whānau Māori and Pacific families to enhance school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning. Sharing of school goals and targets for different groups of learners will help parents/whānau understand ways the school reviews its practices and processes to raise achievement for their children.

The local CoL’s PLD priorities for raising Māori and boys’ achievement will contribute to the school’s inquiry about making a positive difference for these learners. School leaders are open to new ideas and possibilities and see great benefit in belonging to and contributing to this network of leaders, trustees and teachers.

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:

  • a learner-focused school culture that promotes children’s sense of worth and belonging

  • collaborative leadership that is focused on equity and excellence for all learners

  • an increasingly responsive curriculum.

Next steps

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

  • ways teachers inquire into, and adapt their practice to cater for children who are at risk of not achieving

  • enhancing evaluation processes to focus on improving learning and wellbeing outcomes for all learners

  • implementing the school’s targeted planning to accelerate learning for Māori students and boys.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 June 2018

About the school


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      53%
Girls       47%

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori
other Pacific


Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

14 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

 June 2015
 March 2012
 November 2008