Onehunga Primary School - 07/05/2018

School Context

Onehunga Primary School caters for children in Years 1 to 6. Of the approximately 460 students, 12 percent are Māori and 40 percent have Pacific heritage. Children who identify as Pākehā comprise 30 percent of the roll. Since the 2015 ERO external evaluation, there has been a 12 percent increase in the student population.

The school’s vision of ‘confident, connected, life-long learners’, supports students to embrace opportunities and challenges that equip them to achieve their dreams and aspirations. The school’s values: ‘We CARE – Te Manaakitanga’ foster curiosity, aiming high, respect and empowerment.

Key school targets have focused on increasing the number of students achieving above curriculum expectation in mathematics; boys achieving above curriculum expectation in writing; and English language learners in reading.

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

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • engagement and wellbeing
  • the school’s curriculum, including health and physical education, science and the arts.

Schoolwide professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives have focused on Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), and increasing staff capability to lift achievement levels for learners who are at risk of not achieving in literacy.

The school is part of the Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (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 well towards equity and excellence for all students. The majority of students including Māori and Pacific, achieve expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. There is persistent disparity for Pacific children compared with other groups in the school, and an upward trajectory in achievement for Māori. Girls are achieving better than boys in mathematics and literacy. In mathematics boys are gaining greater parity with girls, however school data show a widening achievement gap for boys in reading and writing.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Most students:

  • are curious and confident learners
  • feel well challenged in their learning
  • demonstrate high levels of engagement.

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

The school is working well towards accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need to make accelerated progress. Positive acceleration shifts are evident for students who have been identified as being at risk of underachieving. The school has numerous accelerated teaching and learning strategies to address in school disparity.

Most students in the Accelerating Literacy Learners (ALL) target group have made accelerated progress. Teachers have implemented a writing-focused teaching inquiry for targeted English Language Learners. Collated achievement information shows very good accelerated progress for these learners.

Data indicate that target groups of children working with teachers make accelerated progress, particularly Māori students who make significant gains in writing and reading. This positive trend between 2015 and 2017 has resulted in the school successfully gaining parity for Māori students in reading.

School-wide professional learning has contributed to positive student outcomes, particularly in PB4L and Learning to Learn. These strategic initiatives have strengthened the school’s culture for learning. Leaders are beginning to use an inquiry approach to evaluate initiatives used to address in-school disparity for Pacific students. Good systems for monitoring student progress and achievement are helping staff to recognise and respond quickly to students who require accelerated learning.

There is good provision for children with additional learning needs. Staff work collaboratively with parents and with external personnel who have expertise. Leaders monitor these children well, and evidence shows that they are making progress in their learning. 

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?

Very good strategic leadership and governance prioritises ongoing improvement and promotes a strong school-wide culture of learning that is consistent with ‘We CARE – Te Manaakitanga’.

Good processes support children’s transition into, through and beyond the school in collaboration with parents. A reception class provides a rich context for children to begin their school learning journey. Children have good opportunities to explore and discover, and their sense of belonging is well supported. Leaders and teachers enable students to become increasingly capable leaders of their own learning. These processes and initiatives have helped to develop meaningful learning partnerships with whānau and families.

The board is committed to improving educational outcomes for students. Trustees scrutinise school information to inform decision making in the interests of improving student outcomes. They are strategically managing property development to improve the learning environment for staff and students.

External professional learning is aligned to the school’s strategic goals, and enables teachers to collaboratively implement effective teaching and assessment practices. Teachers have a good understanding of their students as learners, and closely monitor their progress. They increasingly share their practice, and implement strategies to build confident learners who have a clear understanding of their learning.

Leaders and teachers provide a broad range of curriculum experiences to enhance student engagement and success. These include sports and cultural opportunities that reflect children’s diverse interests, capabilities and backgrounds. There is a deliberate focus on increasing boys’ engagement in learning activities.

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

School leaders continue to build on successful partnerships with whānau Māori and parents of Pacific children. Leaders acknowledge that promoting children’s language, culture and identity, and whānau engagement are key to improving students’ educational outcomes. Staff roles and responsibilities have been strategically allocated based on these developments.

Leaders recognise that strengthening internal evaluation will help measure the effectiveness of targeted teaching to accelerate the progress of Māori and Pacific students, and boys. 

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • strategic leadership that is deliberately building teacher capability to address in-school disparity
  • the strong school culture of learning that is supporting students to be confident and competent learners
  • the school values that are well understood and promote wellbeing for learning.

Next steps

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

  • developing a strategic approach to sustaining positive school developments to ensure equitable outcomes for Māori and Pacific learners
  • internal evaluation to determine what is working well, and what needs improving in the provision for learners at risk of not achieving. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 May 2018

About the school


Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       51%
Boys      49%

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori
other Asian
other ethnicities
other Pacific peoples


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

7 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

 May 2015
 October 2011
 June 2008