Nelson Central School - 24/12/2012

1. Context

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

Nelson Central School is an inner-city school that caters for students in Years 1 to 6. It has a current roll of 425 students, with 17% identifying as Māori. Parents can choose for their children to learn in either a Māori (bilingual) or English medium.

Teachers in the four classrooms of Te Pouahi (the bilingual unit) are beginning to use Te Marautanga o Aotearoa for planning and are seeking guidance to assess using Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori. Teachers, in the mainstream classrooms, are guided in programme design and teaching by The New Zealand Curriculum and implement the National Standards.

Parent involvement in school life is valued. Groups of parents and whānau assist teachers and students in a range of ways. Te Runanga Matua meets regularly to support the learning and progress of Māori students in Te Pouahi and across the school. There is close liaison with early childhood education services in the area.

2. Learning

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

Procedures for collation, processing and use of assessment information over the year are well managed. Expectations for teachers' data gathering and analysis are clearly documented and supported by a deputy principal who has oversight of timeliness and reports progress and achievement to the board. Moderation of assessments to strengthen teachers' judgements in writing, reading and mathematics is well established and contributes to the reliability of National Standards information.

The mid-2012 achievement data reported most students to be at or above the end-of-year National Standards expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. Analysis of patterns of achievement across the school indicated the need to raise the performance of Māori in literacy and of boys in writing. Some students are identified as higher performers requiring additional challenge through extension.

Strategies for accelerating progress for students achieving below in relation to the National Standards are well considered and implemented schoolwide. Teachers discuss actions taken in syndicate meetings.

A particular intervention is Hei Awhina Tamariki ki te Pānui Pukapuka (HPP) which targets reading. One teacher is trialling specific strategies to promote boys' achievement in writing. Teacher-aides and kaiawhina provide inclass support for targeted students.

Reports to the board provide assurance about the worth of these interventions for student learning and progress. Building on gains made to accelerate the progress of students achieving below in relation to National Standards should continue to be a priority. A small group of teachers is trialling how to increase their effectiveness by reflecting on evidence of what is working best for students. Results of the trial should be shared with all teachers and the approach used schoolwide.

Teachers use assessment data to identify next learning steps for individuals. They use ongoing information to increase student ownership of learning. Electronic portfolios are being trialled as a basis for informing learning dialogues between students and teachers. Increased use of explicit learning goals for all students should assist them with monitoring and evaluating their own progress.

Reports to parents are well considered and informative. Parents value the suggestions of ways they can help their child’s learning at home.

Positive relationships are evident among students and with their teachers. Classrooms are busy, cooperative learning environments.

3. Curriculum

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

Nelson Central School’s curriculum is well aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. The vision for learning is clearly stated in the charter, strategic plan and graduate profile. Emphasis is placed on use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Te Pouahi teachers are beginning to implement Te Matauranga o Aotearoa, after which a review of the school's curriculum would be timely.

Curriculum design and implementation promotes and supports student engagement. Senior leaders and teachers are responsive to students’ prior knowledge and interests when selecting units of study. Overarching themes integrate learning across curriculum areas. These incorporate use of community facilities and the local environment to make programmes more relevant and meaningful for students. The school is participating in an Human Rights in Education initiative which is evident throughout the curriculum and supports the focus on the 'welfare, respect, education and growth of each child'.

Teachers are provided with clear expectations for effective teaching. ERO observed teachers providing explicit instruction to groups of students and modelling exemplars of high quality work. Teachers make good use of questioning and encourage students to investigate ideas. They make regular use of information and communications technologies to assist student learning and engagement. Classroom routines are well established and thorough planning is evident in all learning areas.

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

The strengths identified in the November 2009 ERO report have been sustained and enhanced across the school.

Teachers and students of Te Pouahi provide leadership in the school and community. Teachers work together collaboratively.

They are supported by whānau through regular meetings of Runanga Matua. Whanaungatanga and tikanga Māori are highly evident in syndicate practices. Students in Te Pouahi have a strong sense of belonging and identity.

Senior leaders and teachers have used ERO’s Māori Success-Complementary Evaluation Framework April 2012 to review schoolwide practices and determine what supports educational success for Māori as Māori. Schoolwide aims include ways all teachers can improve their cultural responsiveness and use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Other aims include increasing the incorporation of te ao Māori in the curriculum and continuing to build strong, positive relationships with Māori students and whānau. ERO affirms the continued development of these aims along with a sustained focus on improving overall Māori student achievement in reading and writing.

Senior leaders, teachers and whānau have identified that the current level of immersion in te reo Māori in Te Pouahi is below the desired level. Teachers’ te reo Māori fluency is being supported through professional development.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees have sound knowledge of their roles and responsibilities. Succession planning and a sound governance manual for guiding operation and meeting obligations are likely to support the smooth transition of new board members.

The board's focus is on supporting student achievement and wellbeing. Trustees use schoolwide information to assist with allocating resources to emerging priorities. The strategic plan, schoolwide targets and action plans are suitably aligned. The clarity of future direction would be enhanced by sharpening strategic goals. Senior managers identify the need to strengthen their target setting for 2013.

Processes for deliberately sustaining and improving performance are developing. The board and senior managers began the development of a self-review framework and processes in 2011. So far this work has led to the identification of some areas for further development. Monitoring of progress toward goals is done regularly, but the process is not as robust or useful as it could be. The selfreview framework needs to facilitate information gathering about how effectively intended outcomes have been met. Reflection and evaluation should be against agreed success measures. Parent and whānau voice are sought and valued in such consultation processes.

The principal leads collaboratively. He promotes leadership within his staff, shares decision-making and supports the development of collective understanding. Teachers engage in professional learning and development that targets the agreed priorities. Appraisal is used as a form of monitoring progress toward the planned goals, in particular the intended outcomes for students. Teachers should benefit from more specific feedback, in relation to the written expectations for teaching, to support their goal setting for growing practice.

Provision for international students

Nelson Central School is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Records indicate that international students and their families are supported well to settle into the school and the wider community. Planned processes assist students to feel included and secure. Transition is supported by fluent speakers of the students’ first languages. Information gathered prior to enrolment is used to determine students' needs. When appropriate, international students are given additional support to learn English. Parents receive regular reports about their children's progress.

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 (Acting)

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā


Other ethnic groups




Special features

Four bilingual classrooms

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

24 December 2012

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

December 2006

July 2003