Marfell School - 18/06/2014

1 Context

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

Marfell School, in New Plymouth, caters for 89 Year 1 to 6 students. Most students are Māori. The school site hosts the Marfell Community Trust, Te Kopae Piripono, an early childcare service, and a Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour. A specialist unit caters for students with high or complex learning needs in two classrooms.

The school works with a wide range of agencies and volunteers to support students and their families. Initiatives, including partnerships with local businesses and schools, support student wellbeing and enrich learning opportunities. Promoting healthy practices is a priority.

Recent engagement in the Positive Behaviour for Learning programme (PB4L) has supported the development of the MANA values which support the shared vision for the school: Tama Tu, Tama Ora – Happy, Healthy Learners.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing its effectiveness in using achievement information. Strengthened processes for supporting teachers to improve their overall judgements in relation to National Standards are in place.

School data shows over half of students achieve at or above the standard in reading and mathematics. The school recognises there are substantial groups of students achieving below in relation to National Standards, particularly in writing.

Teachers set targets in response to data and report twice a year to trustees to inform resourcing. School leaders and trustees acknowledge that further analysis of data is likely to identify patterns and trends in progress and achievement. This should contribute to a more strategic, aligned focus for accelerating the progress of identified learners.

Teachers liaise with a range of agencies and use relevant assessment tools to identify students’ needs on entry to the school. They work collaboratively with teacher aides and parents to share students’ ongoing needs through good communication systems.

Staff share responsibility for students’ positive engagement in learning and celebrate their progress. Teachers recognise the need to strengthen their monitoring of students’ ongoing learning and progress to inform next learning steps.

Teachers are working to support students to know about their learning and progress. Written reporting has been reviewed to more clearly communicate students’ learning to parents. Teachers share useful information with families about how they can help learning at home.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum supports students to be happy, healthy learners.

Teachers and trustees have a clearly defined vision and values for the school which have been reviewed in consultation with families. The MANA values provide a good vehicle for establishing clear expectations for learning and positive engagement in the school.

Further development of the curriculum is required to align guiding documents more clearly with the expressed vision for learning and teaching. This alignment includes having an emphasis on literacy, numeracy and accelerating learning for priority learners.

Development of the curriculum should also consider ways to strengthen the use of information and communication technologies for learning. Reflection of the school’s commitment to te ao Māori within the local context should also be a consideration.

Teachers actively work to promote a positive, constructive learning environment where students feel safe and supported to participate in learning. Classrooms promote a sense of belonging. Teachers know their students well and care for their wellbeing and learning.

A specialist unit provides opportunities for focused interactions and learning support for high needs students. This provision is enhanced by carefully considered specialist support to provide students with increased access to the curriculum. An adapted curriculum has been developed to guide and support individualised learning for these students.

Teachers are collaborative and reflective. Engagement in professional learning in mathematics has resulted in changed practices to support students to be more independent in their learning. Further inquiry into their teaching should help staff evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies in raising achievement.

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

Trustees and staff are clearly focused on ensuring the curriculum responds to Māori students and supports them to be successful as Māori.

The school has built a number of strong partnerships within the community. Staff and trustees recognise the importance of reflecting te ao Māori and mana whenua. Both trustees and staff are building their capacity in te reo Māori by undertaking courses through Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Teachers are developing their understanding of appropriate teaching and learning strategies in relation to te ao Māori. They demonstrate some effective practices in supporting and engaging learners, including deliberate support for tuakana teina learning relationships.

The curriculum provides opportunities for Māori students to make meaningful connections to their language, identity and culture. Further development of curriculum responsiveness should occur through staff exploration of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain improvement.

Staff and trustees actively promote the success of the school and its community. Productive partnerships are sought and maintained to improve learning opportunities and support wellbeing and equity for students. Providing opportunities to engage families in the school and building learning partnerships are priorities.

Trustees, drawn from the local community, show a high level of commitment to the vision and success of the school. They regularly contribute to school initiatives and collaborate well with staff and support networks. The board is working to develop systems for self review to evaluate the success of programmes put in place. They recognise the need to focus more clearly on accelerating student achievement.

Good guiding documents and clear strategic goals guide school operations and developments. School leaders establish clear expectations for staff, students and families to support them to contribute meaningfully to school life and support positive outcomes for students.

The appraisal system has been improved and helps teachers to be reflective about their professional practice. Further development is planned to strengthen the evidence base to measure progress towards teachers’ goals. This should include targeted observations of teaching practice.

Self review is developing. A framework is established and a consultative approach is evident. This should be further developed by increasing its evaluative focus, and accessing and analysing evidence from a wider range of sources.

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 students' 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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

18 June 2014

About the School


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 49, Female 43

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Special Features

Special Needs Unit

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

18 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

August 2009

June 2008