Kowhai Intermediate - 06/05/2016


The board of trustees, school leaders and staff share a strategic vision of education that promotes learners who are confident, self-directed and responsive to challenge and change. Students respond positively to an innovative learning culture that emphasises thinking skills. Parents comment on the confidence these learning approaches instil in their children.

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

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Kowhai Intermediate, in the Auckland suburb of Kingsland, has a long history of providing education for Year 7 and 8 students. Nearly half of the students are Pākehā, and 18 percent are Māori and 17 percent of Pacific Island background. The school has a strong commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and an inclusive culture that celebrates the increasing diversity of families in the local community.

The school is divided into six whānau groups, each with three classes. Three Rumaki Māori classes are immersed in Te Reo Māori for most of their learning in team Pounamu. A Samoan bilingual class, Gafoa le Ata is attached to another whānau team. This class enables children to learn in a Samoan language setting. Parents and children are proud that their language, culture and identity are strongly recognised at this school. Each whānau team has a mix of Year 7 and 8 classes.

The appointment of a new principal in 2015 has continued the positive transformation in the school acknowledged in previous ERO reports. The principal is supported by a collaborative management team. They maintain the persistent focus on children’s learning and achievement begun by the previous principal with well selected initiatives that impact positively on student engagement and achievement.

The board’s strategic plan guides school operations, and school leaders monitor progress towards their annual goals and targets. Students are encouraged to become independent lifelong learners. School leaders have a high regard for educational research and local networking. These are contributing aspects to ongoing refinement of the learning programme for students.

The school is an asset in the local community. There are very strong partnerships with local sports and community organisations who make good use of the attractive grounds and facilities to engage the wider community. Parents and whānau are made welcome and work together with teachers to support learners.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. School leaders responded well to recommendations in the 2012 ERO report. Leaders led the professional development of teachers in inquiring rigorously into the impact of their teaching practices on student learning and achievement, in order to help students develop a wider a sense of themselves as learners and critical thinkers.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school uses achievement information very well to support learners' engagement, progress and achievement. Students are highly engaged in their learning. They make good progress and generally achieve very well. Students work collaboratively with teachers and their parents to understand their own learning and are able to establish and review personal learning goals.

Teachers are very skilled in the use of achievement information. They collect reliable information about student achievement and meet regularly to monitor and consider students’ progress in depth. Data indicates that most students, including Māori and Pacific, achieve very well in relation to the National Standards in mathematics, reading and writing. Some groups of students are selected for additional targeted learning to accelerate their learning progress.

The principal oversees student progress and achievement across the school. She and the senior leaders examine achievement information critically and work with teachers to help ensure students’ learning needs are met. Teachers are implementing successful approaches to bring about accelerated learning. Analysis is well used to inform programme overviews and daily learning intentions.

Parents receive very good information about their children’s learning, progress and achievement. Teachers encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning. As they gain confidence as learners, they can share their progress with each other and their parents. Conferences and written reports clearly express how students are achieving in relation to each National Standard. Students’ reports also outline meaningful ways that families can support their children’s learning at home.

Whānau leaders work collaboratively with their teams to plan programmes. The school is part of a cluster of schools with a focus on improving the teaching of writing. Initiatives like this continue to help teachers to make reliable and confident judgements about student progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The curriculum at Kowhai Intermediate is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Good alignment has been established between the school’s curriculum andThe New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The key competencies and school values are an integral part of the curriculum framework. They are expressed through the school’s philosophy to underpin the curriculum. Students are cooperative, respectful and confident. Leadership opportunities allow students to take up responsibilities within the wider school.

The curriculum is varied and fun. Art, music and cultural experiences such as pōwhiri are regular and planned events. Students achieve well in sports, including swimming and team games where they participate with enthusiasm.

Curriculum review has been purposeful and responsive to students’ identified learning needs and interests. Learning programmes are designed to foster literacy and numeracy in a framework of inquiry-based learning. Students contribute to the selection of topics and explore learning through questioning, reading, writing, sharing and presenting information.

The school’s culture and values promote success for all students. Well managed programmes and in-class support for children with special learning and behaviour needs are a feature of the school. The school-wide programme for positive behaviour supports students’ engagement in learning. Positive relationships and restorative practices enhance students’ wellbeing, self-worth and sense of belonging.

Consistent teaching practice has been achieved through the skills and shared expertise of curriculum leaders, who support teachers in classrooms and collaborate with the special needs coordinator and team leaders. Teachers respond positively to the cultural needs of children and include their home languages and cultural symbols in a variety of ways.

Senior leaders are now considering how the curriculum could become more future focused and how they can broaden students’ learning experiences. They are also exploring appropriate options for extending e-learning. These are appropriate next steps in supporting students to become lifelong learners.

The growth of personal responsibility and team-building skills are the result of many learning experiences. Students are taught these skills as part of their wider investigative topics. There are high levels of cognitive engagement in classrooms. Students regularly work in groups and teams on complex activities that are both challenging and stimulating.

There are deliberate prioritised approaches to building staffing capability. Staff receive effective and regular professional development in order to keep up with curriculum developments. There are multiple forums for professional dialogue. A strong feature is the collaboration by teachers across the school to improve teaching, and a strong sense of accountability by all staff. School leaders could now consider how to continue to increase rigour in the teacher appraisal system.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Rumaki Māori classes are successfully catering for an increasingly large number of Maōri students. They are becoming more fluent in te reo Māori and increasingly knowledgeable about tikanga. A large kapa haka has been established and is achieving recognition in competitions. Students are also involved in leading powhiri and waiata for formal occasions.

At this school, tikanga Māori is very important and is guided by mana whenua. School leaders consult regularly with whānau Māori and the wider Māori community. In the rumaki, students lead daily mihimihi, karakia and himene. Leaders are developing a strategic goal for students who are assessed under Ngā Whanaketanga.

Māori students in mainstream classes are progressing and achieving well. Where necessary, Māori students are receiving well planned, targeted support in reading, writing and mathematics to ensure that they are making accelerated progress towards the relevant National Standard. School practices and procedures are based on the values of mana, manaaki and mahi tahi. Teachers use Ministry of Education resource documents to develop a deeper understanding of how to make a positive difference for Māori students.

Te Reo Māori and children’s home languages are proudly used throughout the school. As a result, there is increased engagement with whānau and students are achieving well. The school has a strategic goal to continue to promote the learning of te reo Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school is capably led at all levels by the board of trustees, senior and whānau leaders, teachers, support staff and students. A positive school culture based on collaboration and strong relationships is supporting the learning of all students.

The board reflects the diverse Kowhai community and each trustee brings different expertise to their governance role. Trustees work well together and have demonstrated their ability to function effectively when faced with challenge.

Overall the quality of internal evaluation is high. Different perspectives sought from students and the school community are often part of the evaluation processes. Trustees use the information they receive from school leaders to set positive directions for the school. The board values the views and involvement of its community in strategic planning.

Senior leaders are keen to further develop adaptability and resilience in their learners, exposing them to a menu of learning experiences and teaching methodologies. They want to position them confidently as learners who are self-directed and responsive to any learning environment or opportunity presented to them in their future.

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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.


The board of trustees, school leaders and staff share a strategic vision of education that promotes learners who are confident, self-directed and responsive to challenge and change. Students respond positively to an innovative learning culture that emphasises thinking skills. Parents comment on the confidence these learning approaches instil in their children.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

6 May 2016

About the School


Kingsland, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition







Cook Island Māori


other Asian

other European

other Pacific














Special Features

Te Whānau Pounamu: 3 Rumaki Māori Classes Gafoa le Ata: 1 Samoan Medium Education Class

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

6 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

October 2008

August 2005