Merivale School - 12/12/2012

1. Context

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

Merivale Primary School is situated in Tauranga city, within ngā Tauranga moana iwi ancestral lands. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. There are currently 144 students of whom a significant proportion whakapapa to Ngāti Ranginui and Ngai Te Rangi iwi. The number of Pacific students, particularly Samoan, has increased over recent years. There is an immersion and bilingual class for children whose parents wish them to be educated through the medium of te reo Māori.

The school philosophy is based on ‘Te Whare Tapa Wha model, with the four corners of our whare, hinengaro, tinana, wairua and whānau being equally important’. The vision statement promotes learning, and gives students many opportunities to achieve their potential. This holistic approach to the education of students involves positive partnerships with hāpu, marae, whānau, aiga and many community groups who contribute voluntary support for the overall development of children.

The principal is providing highly effective, inclusive leadership in developing a school-wide focus on academic achievement and student health and wellbeing. Students enjoy involvement with all aspects of the school programme and enthusiastically participate in a wide range of extension sports and challenging physical activities. Unique aspects of the school curriculum and environment include:

  • a modern and well-equipped gymnasium
  • a school radio station providing opportunities for students to share work, news and communicate with a community-wide audience
  • the operation of a school breakfast club.

Positive relationships are a feature of the school as it believes that ‘It takes a village to raise the child’.

2. Learning

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

The school is focused on using achievement information to improve learning outcomes for students. Trustees use achievement data to inform decision making for resourcing, staffing, strategic planning, self review and setting targets. The principal and the board have been proactive in accessing external support from the Ministry of Education to review current systems, and to develop plans and strategies for improving teacher capability, and raising levels of student achievement.

School leaders and teachers understand that the effective use of student achievement information, involves teachers having a set of shared expectations about what successful learning looks like. Students demonstrated high levels of engagement in learning in classrooms. These included:

  • positive and cooperative relationships
  • purposeful and meaningful on-task behaviours
  • high levels of interest and examples of individual goal setting
  • independence in their learning.

Teachers use student achievement information to plan and monitor the progress, and measure the achievement of individuals and groups of students. School-wide achievement information indicates that most students make expected progress, and some make accelerated progress during their time at school. Students who require specific learning support are effectively monitored. Achievement information for many of these students shows that they are making more than expected progress.

In the immersion and bilingual classes there is a clear focus on improving outcomes for Māori students and raising their achievement based on Ngā Whanaketanga in literacy and mathematics. This focus is supported by specific goals and targets, and is supported by the many programmes and initiatives that have been implemented to enhance learning.

The school shares student engagement, progress and achievement information with parents, whānau and aiga. Student portfolios are frequently viewed by parents and provide a useful record of individual student’s progress and success.

There is a clear focus on improving educational outcomes for all students and raising the achievement of students in literacy and mathematics. Specific targets provide direction for the many programmes and initiatives that have been implemented to support and enhance student learning.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s broad based curriculum promotes and supports student learning engagement, progress and achievement. School leaders have used Ka Hikitia to help develop their vision and values of high expectations, manaakitanga and kia eke panauku. The curriculum is informed by student’s prior knowledge and the range of experiences they bring with them to school. This approach is assisting teachers to develop and increase their cultural awareness in their classroom practices.

The curriculum places a high value on the significance of te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles. The school frequently reviews its curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of students. There are clear expectations that learning programmes should include te reo and tikanga Māori and promote student identities.

The immersion and bilingual teachers effectively promote the principle of cultural advantage through kapa haka, waiata and karakia. These practices are an integral part of the Marautanga that is used in these classrooms, which promote local iwi whakapapa, kawa and mātauranga. Mainstream teachers are guided by te reo Māori kaiako. The Kohanga reo situated on the school site is used as an additional resource for teachers and students.

Professional development initiatives are encouraging teachers to reflect on their practices and enhance student engagement in learning. Encouraging students to create their own learning pathways should make their learning more meaningful.

Teachers and support staff use effective learning programmes for students with identified needs. These programmes often involve parents, whānau and aiga. Community organisations, including government agencies, contribute to the effectiveness of learning programmes.

School leaders have identified that areas for ongoing review include the strengthening of strategic goals and reviewing the school appraisal system.

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

The school’s philosophy affirms the many cultures within the school. The beliefs of manaakitanga, ako, and hiranga promote and support Māori student success and success as Māori.

School self review has identified that the next step for raising Māori student success as Māori is to continue to strengthen teachers’ cultural competencies so they can effectively respond to the needs 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 and improve its performance due to:

  • enthusiastic trustees who are committed and well-informed
  • strong professional leadership from the principal
  • a successful school-wide focus on establishing positive relationships among students, staff, trustees, parents and whānau
  • a teaching team who have developed a culture of professional learning
  • well-embedded self review focused on school improvement
  • high levels of community support and involvement.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Makere Smith National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

12 December 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori

NZ Pākehā


Other Pacific People





Special Features

1 x Immersion Class 1 x Bilingual Class

Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

12 December 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

February 2007

October 2002