Owairoa Primary School - 22/10/2019

School Context

Owairoa Primary School caters for a diverse school community of approximately 790 students in Years 1-6. Four percent of the school’s roll identify as Māori and two percent have Pacific heritage. Approximately one-fifth participate in a formal English programme for speakers of other languages.

The board’s overarching vision for the school is to “lead children along pathways that prepare them for the future” and to “challenge them to continually strive for new horizons”.

The principles of respect/whakaute, integrity/Ngakau tapatahi, self-esteem/Whakaaro nui ako and excellence/hiranga (RISE), underpin the school’s valued outcomes for students. The board’s strategic goals are to maximise student achievement, provide a rigorous curriculum, and develop staff of the highest quality.

The principal and members of the senior leadership team are long serving. Two recently appointed assistant principals support the leadership team in their roles.

The newly formed board of trustees includes a mix of very experienced and new members. Trustees bring a wide variety of skills and knowledge to their roles.

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

  • achievement information for each year level in reading, writing and mathematics
  • Māori and Pacific student progress and achievement over time
  • programmes for students with additional learning needs
  • progress and actions undertaken in relation to school targets
  • progress and pastoral care of International students.

The school hosts a satellite class linked to Sommerville Special School and is a member of the newly established Kahui Ako/ CoL Te Ara Bucklands Beach.

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?

Owairoa Primary School achieves equitable and excellent outcomes for students. Most achieve at or above the school’s expectations in reading and mathematics, and a large majority in writing.

Student achievement information is closely analysed, monitored, and regularly reported to the board. The information is robust and reliable and is broken down to show achievement by year level, ethnicity and gender. The principal is considering how to report to the board the overall achievement of cohorts over their time at the school.

The board sets measurable and appropriate schoolwide targets for student achievement, and identify and support useful strategies and initiatives to address these targets.

The Senior Leadership Team reports to the board evidence of student progress in relation to the school’s valued outcomes. Processes and systems are in place to identify the impact that a schoolwide teaching focus on the school values is having on students and school culture.

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

The school is accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need it.

School-based information indicates that the small cohort of Māori and Pacific students achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics, and by Year 6 there is parity in achievement across all groups of students.

The achievement of children with additional learning needs is closely monitored, and their ongoing progress is tracked. Appropriate external support is accessed where appropriate. Senior leaders identify other students who are achieving below expectations and appropriate strategies are implemented to accelerate their learning. These students are making good and, in many cases, accelerated progress.

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?

Partnership with parents, prioritising student wellbeing, effective leadership, and a rich curriculum and responsive teaching are the key processes and practices enabling the school to achieve equity and excellence.

The board, leaders and teachers appropriately prioritise catering for the whole child and value highly close parent partnership in children’s learning. Information about children is shared between leaders, teachers and parents and used to ensure students make individual and positive progress. The board respects the community’s and students’ perspectives and regularly surveys them to inform strategic planning and ongoing improvement.

Promoting student, staff and family’s positive wellbeing is a feature of the school culture. This significantly supports students and their learning. Senior leaders implement very useful strategies for new families, and families who have English as an additional language, to support their successful integration into the community.

The long-serving principal is an effective chief executive and leader of the school. He is ably supported by the senior leadership team. They work collaboratively with all the leaders of the school and provide many opportunities to grow leadership schoolwide. Students participate in a variety of valuable leadership activities.

Children work in settled, attractive and supportive learning environments characterised by respectful teacher-student relationships. Teachers implement well-planned and richly-resourced learning programmes that respond to students’ strengths and needs. Students are building their capacity to monitor and manage their own learning.

The school’s localised broad curriculum encompasses the breadth of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). It is well designed to be flexible and responsive to students’ needs. There is a focus on programmes that support students to become independent and inquiring. A recently introduced programme integrates several learning areas. This is proving highly engaging and motivating for students. The Board also funds additional resourcing to extend and challenge students’ interests. The board would benefit from evidence-based evaluation of the outcomes for students of these initiatives.

Teachers’ professional learning and development (PLD) and growth is highly valued. The board has significant investment in PLD offered both internally and externally. The PLD programme is well aligned to the board’s strategic aims.

Te ao Māori is increasingly evident in the curriculum. The programme is well led, and teachers are gaining confidence integrating Māori perspectives into classroom programmes. Students confidently lead pōwhiri and are gaining a greater understanding of tikanga Māori. There are strategic plans to increase the visibility of te ao Māori in the school.

The board is effective and strategic, and values staff and community voice. Trustees have separate portfolios of responsibility, including a newly implemented and useful portfolio focusing on cultural inclusiveness. The board manages school finances well and meets its statutory responsibilities.

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

The principal and senior leaders agree that for ongoing school improvement, they should:

  • further develop and embed ways to ensure students grow their understanding of their own learning and progress, and have enhanced opportunities to expand their creativity
  • report evidence-based evaluative information to the board using indicators of effective practice, of the success of specialist initiatives, and teacher PLD on outcomes for students
  • regularly report to the board on progress towards the goals of the school’s Māori and Pacific strategic plans.

Further governance training would support the development of newer members of the board.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 24 international students attending the school.

International students are integrated well within the school community. They can access quality pastoral care and education. The school monitors and supports their wellbeing, progress and achievement, and reports this to the board of trustees. Parents of international students participate well in the school’s ‘Parent Class’ programme which further supports their children’s integration into the school.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before 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:the

  • 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Owairoa Primary School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a rich, broad, localised and inclusive curriculum which is well monitored and tracked for consistency and high quality
  • family/whānau partnerships together with a strong focus on student wellbeing and teacher’s deep knowledge of students and their families
  • students’ high achievement and the individualised strategies teachers implement to support and accelerate their learning progress.

Next steps

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

  • the board further deepening its scrutiny of its own and the school’s performance in achieving equity and excellence
  • teachers continuing to support students through provision of an environment that sustains their language, culture and identity.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

22 October 2019

About the school


Howick, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Year 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 4%
NZ European/Pākehā 41%
Chinese 20%
Indian 6%
other European 13%
other ethnic groups 16%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

22 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015
Education Review December 2011
Education Review September 2008