Mt Cook School (Wellington) - 10/06/2014

1 Context

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

Mt Cook School (Wellington) is a full primary, inner city school in Wellington. It currently has a roll of 207 students from 25 different ethnic groups. Thirty seven percent of students, including many Pacific students, speak English as a second language.

A positive, inclusive school culture and the school’s values of excellence, respect, friendship and integrity are clearly evident in the daily life of the school.

Teachers make good use of the inner city environment, enabling students to access a wide range of learning experiences. A new school hall, an additional classroom and the refurbishment of the school library have all enhanced curriculum delivery.

2 Learning

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

Teachers and school leaders use student achievement data appropriately to group students with similar needs and identify those students who are achieving below National Standards expectations. School-reported end of year achievement data for 2013 showed that approximately two thirds of students were achieving at or above the reading and mathematics National Standards. While there was an increased number of students achieving at or above the writing National Standards between 2012 and 2013, writing results are still lower than those for reading and mathematics. Writing continues to be an area of additional emphasis for teaching and learning.

Schoolwide literacy professional development for teachers is appropriately given priority and well supported by the Board of Trustees. An external facilitator works with teachers to assist them to increase their knowledge about the teaching of writing and identify useful steps for their future development. The facilitator has identified the importance of each teacher differentiating their practice to better meet the needs of students. ERO’s evaluation affirms this ongoing focus.

Student achievement information should be better used to:

  • continue to regularly monitor the progress of all underachieving students towards schoolwide student achievement targets
  • collate and analyse results and regularly report to the board of trustees, including mid-year reporting of schoolwide progress towards National Standards
  • continue to strengthen the moderation of teachers’ overall judgements in relation to the National Standards, particularly in mathematics.

3 Curriculum

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

Mt Cook School’s vision and values are an integral part of their curriculum. A well-documented vision of the qualities students will demonstrate, as a result of their years of learning at the school, guide curriculum decision making, with the values of excellence, respect, friendship and integrity. The values clearly link with teachers’ and trustees’ focus on student wellbeing and celebrate diversity in the school.

The principal, teachers and trustees are committed to promoting student wellbeing. Staff take pride in their advocacy for students and shared responsibility for their wellbeing. They use external agencies and community resources to support students and their families when needed.

There is a clear focus on students developing learning, personal and social competencies. The curriculum is responsive to students’ interests and needs. This includes opportunities for students to participate in lunchtime writing and drama clubs. There is a strong commitment to providing targeted support to English language learners.

Literacy and mathematics are appropriately emphasised and other learning areas are integrated into inquiry learning and topic studies. Teachers include inquiry learning to empower students to follow their interests and to manage their learning.

Teachers use a range of appropriate teaching strategies. Students are focused on learning and talk proudly and confidently about their work. Respectful interactions and relationships are evident across the school. Teachers know the students and their families well.

The schoolwide behaviour management programme has been revised to link with the school values and emphasises care and respect for people outside the classroom. Documenting and formalising systems for promoting and reviewing student wellbeing should further strengthen the process.

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

Teachers and students regularly learn te reo Māori and a new member of staff has increased the schoolwide focus on tikanga Māori. The number of students attending kapa haka has increased in 2014.

Cultural diversity is celebrated at Mt Cook School. Work will continue with the Māori community to further explore and understand what success for Māori students as Māori looks like at the school. Increasing the rate of progress and levels of achievement for those Māori students underachieving in mathematics should be a teaching priority. Teachers use of te reo Māori should increase and trustees should use Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 to ensure that strategic decision making and governance promotes Māori success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

School culture provides a strong anchor for trustees, school leaders and staff to sustain and improve performance. The principal and teachers regularly reflect on their practice and work collaboratively to make decisions about the curriculum.

The principal, senior leaders and teachers have strong partnerships with parents and the community. They regularly liaise with the diverse parent population. Reports are translated into families' first languages.

Schoolwide professional development in literacy is regular and builds teacher knowledge and practice in a sustained way.

Key next steps are to:

  • strengthen the appraisal process, by including robust feedback, to guide ongoing improvement linked to school focus areas and student achievement targets
  • continue to develop evidence-based self review with clear criteria that focus on outcomes for students.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

10 June 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups






Special Features

Technology Centre

Host school for Resource Teachers: Literacy

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

10 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

December 2007

May 2005