Owairaka District School - 27/06/2011


1. Context

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

Owairaka District School is a long-established decile 2 school, serving a multicultural community in the suburb of Mt. Albert, Auckland. Diverse ethnic groups contribute to the school’s roll of 344 students in Years 1 to 6, 13% of whom identify as Māori and 38% as Pacific.

A special feature of the school is the strong focus on promoting environmental awareness, including involvement in environmental projects, both within and beyond the school.

The school has a positive reporting history and responded effectively to the 2008 Education Review report by increasing levels of student achievement, including a greater student voice, and strengthening teaching practice.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students achieve very well and make significant progress as they move through the school. Student achievement information shows that in 2010 most students, including Pacific students, achieved at or above their chronological age in reading, and at or above national expectations in mathematics. It also shows that the number of students achieving these good results increased from 2008 to 2010 in all year levels. Boys and girls achieved at similar levels.

Student achievement in writing indicates that half of all students are on target to meet National Standards. Teachers continue their involvement in professional development programmes designed to improve student learning outcomes in writing.

There is a wide range of learning experiences for students to achieve in all curriculum areas. A particular strength in this school is the provision of opportunities for students to achieve success in meeting the school’s four overarching goals. These goals relate to leadership and citizenship skills, cultural awareness, Enviro-Schools and Education Outside the Classroom.

Students demonstrate high levels of engagement and interest in learning programmes and enjoy sharing their ideas and achievements with their teachers and others. Achievement information is skilfully used to inform self review, classroom planning and teaching, the setting of specific goals and school-wide targets, and to report to parents, trustees and community.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Māori students are highly engaged in their learning, and enjoy success and achieve at similar levels to other students in reading, writing and mathematics. The targeted approach to raising Māori student achievement involves identification of student learning needs, ensuring they are assigned to appropriate support programmes and close monitoring of their progress. The school continues to enrich and include aspects of Māori language, culture and identity in response to the principles of Ka Hikitia. Notable features include:

  • incorporating elements of tikanga Māori into the school curriculum
  • strong communication with Māori whānau
  • the prominence given to the story of Wairaka, an historical identity of the district
  • establishment of a school pepeha that creates a sense of belonging for Māori students and their families
  • the board’s commitment to resourcing initiatives such as the recent upgrade of the wharenui, Ngā Ringa Awhina
  • the appointment of knowledgeable Māori staff
  • engaging the whole school in ceremonial occasions, such as pōwhiri to welcome visitors.

3. Curriculum

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

A collaborative approach is used to provide an appropriate curriculum that is responsive to, and inclusive of, the diverse learning needs of students and their families. This curriculum embraces the four key goals of promoting literacy and numeracy, a love of learning, environmental awareness and a desire for all students to be socially aware. The successful meeting of these goals is clearly evident in the high levels of student engagement, progress and achievement. Notable features of the curriculum include:

  • consistent and effective teaching practice
  • a rich range of authentic learning experiences, which contributes to a strong sense of student pride and identity
  • a skilled, experienced Special Education Needs Coordinator who oversees the effective and inclusive provision for students with special needs
  • a skilled Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) team working with children with special abilities
  • a school culture that fosters high expectations for learning, behaviour and success amongst students, staff, parents and the wider community
  • highly valued, efficient administration staff and a well-trained team of teacher aides
  • good use of generously resourced classrooms and outdoor environments to extend and enrich learning.

Agreed priority

School leaders, teachers and ERO agree that the next step is to continue to develop and embed formative practices to assist students to take increasing responsibility for their learning.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain its good practices and continually improve its performance. Exemplary self-review processes are well embedded and evidence based at all levels of school operations. The National Standards are used as a basis for measuring student achievement. The principal provides visionary professional leadership and a collaborative approach to empowering trustees, staff, students and their families. She is ably supported by a strong leadership team, which focuses on school direction and ongoing support for staff and students.

Knowledgeable and committed trustees, led by a highly competent chairperson, provide clear and decisive governance for ongoing development and improvement. Teachers are continually improving their practice through a shared commitment to relevant, ongoing professional development. This approach is resulting in increasing levels of student achievement. The Pacific community, students and their families make a rich and meaningful contribution to the culture and identity of the school. Open and transparent communication strongly supports school development and improvement.

Provision for international students

The 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 were 4 international students 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. The school provides high quality pastoral care and education as well as supporting student involvement and integration into the school community.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Owairaka District School does not have a school hostel.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • 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 four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 June 2011

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)



School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition


Other ethnic groups

NZ Māori

NZ European/Pākehā



South East Asian



Other Asian


Cook Island













Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

27 June 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

May 2008

May 2005

August 2001

1 School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrate schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides