Merivale School - 24/06/2019

School Context

Merivale School is located in Tauranga and provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school’s current roll of 155 includes 108 Māori, 30 Pacific and a small number of students from other cultural backgrounds.

Education through the medium of te reo Māori is provided in two rumaki classes. A satellite class from Tauranga Special School is also located on the school grounds along with a Kohanga Reo, early childhood centre and the Merivale Action Centre.

The school’s values are based on ‘The Vale Way: very respectful, always safe, learning for life, expect the best.’ They aim to assist in creating a supportive culture that is responsive to the needs of students, staff and community and ensure a positive, safe and respectful learning environment.

The school’s strategic goals focus on:

  • improving outcomes for students in literacy and supporting students to accelerate progress

  • enhancing Māori and Pasifika pedagogy to ensure success

  • creating a supportive culture

  • developing a strong and positive presence in the Merivale and wider community

  • ensuring parents and whānau are involved in their children’s education.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the previous review in 2015, there have been many changes to the teaching and leadership teams. An experienced principal was appointed at the beginning of 2018 and a new SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator) during 2017. A number of trustees are also new to their roles.

There has been an increase in numbers of students with additional learning needs including those who are English language learners.

Leaders and teachers have undertaken professional learning and development in assessment, writing, inquiry, hauora, restorative practice and cultural responsiveness. The school is a member of the Tauranga Peninsula 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 is working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all students.

The school’s data from 2018 shows that the majority of all students are achieving at or above expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics and boys and girls are working at comparable levels. Māori and Pacific students are achieving as well as their peers in mathematics, however disparity in achievement remains in reading. Leadership has acknowledged that writing data may not be reliable and has identified assessment in writing as a school wide focus for 2019 in response to this.

Rumaki data from 2018 shows most students are working towards, achieving or exceeding expected levels in writing and speaking and the majority of students in reading and mathematics.

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

The school is working towards accelerating learning for all Māori and other students who need it.

Leaders and teachers can show effective acceleration in reading for groups of students in classroom programmes and as a result of targeted interventions.

Data has yet to be collated and analysed to form a schoolwide picture of acceleration for all students at-risk of under-achieving.

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?

The school has a highly inclusive culture for learning. Students with additional needs including English language learners are well supported through individualised planning, targeted teaching and learning support programmes. Effective liaison with a wide range of external agencies supports students’ learning, emotional and behavioural needs. Deliberate planning and open communication with parents and whānau enable positive transitions into the school. Extra-curricular activities support student engagement in learning and acknowledge and celebrate the unique place of Māori and Pacific heritages. Students are affirmed in their cultures and have a strong sense of belonging in a caring whānau atmosphere.

Teachers use deliberate strategies to enhance learning. Students at-risk of not achieving are clearly identified through a range of assessment tools and their progress is closely tracked and monitored over time. Teachers are responding well to accelerating the achievement for at-risk learners. Positive and affirming relationships between teachers and students and a strong focus on school values promote calm and settled environments that promote student wellbeing. Personalised communication with parents supports positive partnerships for learning and improved outcomes for students.

Professional leadership is improvement focused. Targeted professional learning and development is prioritised to build teacher knowledge and consistency of schoolwide practices. A strategic focus on improving moderation of assessment is supporting greater reliability of data. Leadership is responsive to students’ individual assessment information and uses this to guide decision making for programmes and interventions. Strong pastoral care and personalised support is provided for families and whānau.

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

The school should continue to develop a more strategically aligned approach to accelerating progress for students whose learning is at risk.

Priority should be given to:

  • reviewing the school’s charter and developing targets that are specifically focused on all students whose learning requires acceleration

  • inquiring further into schoolwide student assessment data to monitor and report on the rates of progress and acceleration over time, for all at-risk learners

  • continuing to build teacher capability to accelerate learning for students at risk through a rigorous performance management process.

Leaders are reviewing their roles and responsibilities in order to develop a collaborative team approach that utilises key strengths and expertise.

There is a need to continue to:

  • strengthen students’ understanding of their own learning and next steps especially for at-risk students

  • review and strengthen the ways teachers support new immersion students in the rumaki classes.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Merivale School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a curriculum that enables a sense of belonging and wellbeing for students
  • an inclusive culture for learning that supports children with additional learning needs
  • leadership for learning that is focused on improving outcomes for students

Next steps

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

  • internal evaluation and targeted action to accelerate learning and raise overall levels of achievement for all students at-risk
  • building collective capacity to improve outcomes for students
  • empowering students in learning pathways to accelerate achievement

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to curriculum.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • comply with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community
    [Section 60B Education Act 1989].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review appraisal procedures to align to Teaching Council requirements and ensure consistent implementation of annual appraisal for all staff.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

24 June 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 – 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 62% Female 38%

Ethnic composition

Māori 70%
NZ European/Pākehā 10%
Samoan 8% Tongan 6%
Cook Island Māori 3%
Other 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

24 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016
Education Review December 2012
Education Review February 2010