Northcote School (Christchurch) - 30/06/2017


Northcote School has a roll of 150 children, including 50 Māori and 16 Pacific children.

Achievement for many children is below the National Standards and has been for the previous three years. Overall student achievement against the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics has improved slightly from 2015 to 2016. The biggest gains were made in writing.

The school has a high turnover of children annually and many children attend this school for short periods of time.

The school has made little progress in addressing the key next steps in the 2010 and 2013 ERO reports related to internal evaluation, strategic planning and updating the school curriculum.

Since 2013 the school has had a number of changes in leadership and teaching staff. The board has a new chairperson and the school has two new deputy principals. A Ministry of Education-appointed advisor has worked with the school from 2014 to 2017 to raise student achievement and improve teacher capability.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school has not made the progress required since the last ERO review to achieve equitable outcomes for all children. The board and school leaders urgently need to build capability to improve and sustain practices that enable equitable outcomes for all children. This needs to specifically focus on internal evaluation, updating of the school curriculum, strategic planning and staff appraisal.

The school promotes equitable outcomes for children in the areas of pastoral care and the provision of a respectful, caring and inclusive school environment. Leaders and teachers have implemented a range of deliberately-targeted programmes that have accelerated some children’s progress during 2016.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support the school’s development over the course of one-to-two years.

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has some processes that are responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. These processes were put in place during 2016 and still need to be embedded and monitored over time.

Achievement for many children is below the National Standards and has been for the previous three years. Many girls achieve above the National Standards in writing and are close to the National Standards in mathematics. Boys’ achievement is lower in these curriculum areas.

The school provides a range of deliberately-targeted programmes that accelerate the progress of some children. Teachers have developed useful systems and processes to closely monitor and support the achievement of children who need their progress accelerated.

The school has appropriate systems to support consistency of assessment and moderation judgements across the school. These practices, along with data management systems, need to be extended to show children’s accelerated progress over the time they are at this school.

The moderation of assessment decisions with other schools is a next step for improvement. School leaders are at an early stage of developing an approach to external moderation.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has some effective pastoral processes that are contributing to equity and excellence.

Leaders and teachers make good use of a strong pastoral care system to address disparity. They make very good use of support agencies and community groups. This is ensuring children are well cared for and have the resources they need to participate and be engaged in the school curriculum.

Children are respected and valued, and care for one another. Staff have had a strong focus over the previous two years on teaching children positive behaviours. This is providing a calm, secure environment where adults and children focus on learning and wellbeing. A culture of trust, teamwork and empathy among the staff and children is very evident.

Staff have high expectations for children and their achievement. A strong whānau-like environment is evident. Teachers know children well and share the responsibility for their achievement and wellbeing. Teachers make effective use of their knowledge of each child to ensure learning is relevant and interesting. Children are encouraged to be independent and know about their learning and progress.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The school has yet to develop sustainable processes to achieve equity and excellence.

The school must strengthen its capacity to provide a governance and leadership framework that effectively contributes to positive outcomes for all children. Governance and leadership priorities include:

  • ensuring that strategic plans and processes are contributing to continuous improvement in children’s learning and achievement

  • developing and using robust internal evaluation practices that increasingly contribute to positive outcomes for all children

  • ensuring that the curriculum effectively reflects the priorities of the school community and New Zealand Curriculum

  • making sure that the appraisal system meets Education Council requirements.

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

  • 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.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to internal evaluation In order to address this the board, through the principal and staff, must:

  • maintain an ongoing programme of self review in relation to its strategic plan, including how the school is giving effect to the National Guidelines through its policies, plans and programmes, including those for curriculum [NAG 2 (b)]. 

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate children’s learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.


ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and the School Trustees Association provide support for the school to strengthen professional leadership and governance in order to bring about improvements in:

  • student achievement
  • strategic planning
  • internal evaluation
  • the school curriculum. 

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

30 June 2017

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 50%

Girls: 50%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 44%

Māori 40%

Pacific 10%

Other 6%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March/April 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review August 2013

Education Review May 2010

Education Review April 2007