Panama Road School - 17/05/2013

1 Context

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

Panama Road School in Otahuhu caters for students in Years 1 to 6. Many of the students live in rental housing and there is a high level of transience in the school population. Two thirds of students are from the Pacific, the largest group being Tongan. Twenty-four percent of students are Māori. Many of the students begin as new entrants with no or very little early childhood education.

The principal and associate principal were managing the school at the time of ERO’s 2009 review. That report indicated that improvements to curriculum development, performance management and self review had been made. The next challenge for school leaders was to focus on improving the quality of teaching, and on using achievement data more effectively. There has been good progress in some of these areas. At the time of this 2013 ERO review half the staff were new and had only been at the school for three weeks.

The tone of the school, its emphasis on learning, and the board’s expectations of teachers and students have notably improved. The culture of the school is now that of a settled, friendly and happy place for students to learn.

2 Learning

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

The school has recently developed systems to collate, analyse and report school wide student achievement. Teachers and managers use the data to identify the students who need the greatest support and discuss ways to speed up their progress. Senior managers agree that some urgency is needed to improve the progress and achievement of students.

Most of the students who were targeted during 2012 to achieve better in writing, and who remained in the school, made accelerated progress. This very good progress was due to teachers’ focus on improving their teaching of writing. Staff received external professional development to help improve their teaching practice. The same approach is planned for this year to improve the teaching of mathematics. Student achievement in reading is likely to improve by using a similar approach.

Teachers use achievement data to determine teaching targets and student goals. Teacher aides provide effective support to English speakers of other languages (ESOL) students in their first language, and also to students who need support with their behaviour to maximise learning.

A specialist teacher is trained in teaching ESOL programmes. She helps teachers plan for ESOL students and works with funding-related documentation. Greater use of her skills could be made by her working with students and teachers aides as well. Senior managers could also gather data separately for ESOL students to determine the effectiveness of their initiatives.

Parents of students in Years 3 to 6 have not received written reports relating to their children’s progress and achievement against National Standards. Parents of students in Years 1 and 2 received their first report related to National Standards at the end of 2012. Senior managers have developed a model for reporting to parents to meet Ministry of Education reporting requirements.

Teachers use a range of processes to collect and record evidence of student learning and achievement to make overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards. Professional meetings provide an effective way for groups of teachers to discuss student progress and achievement and to share effective strategies to improve rates of progress.

Senior managers regularly review and refine the school’s appraisal system. Appraisals have become more closely linked to student achievement and school targets. Teachers now take greater accountability for accelerating student progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is partially effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The vision, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum are evident in school documentation and in practice. Students engage in learning in settled, supportive and cooperative ways. They speak with confidence of living up to the school’s values and goals.

Teachers understand the meaning of the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) defined as 'shapers' of the school’s curriculum. They now need to use, in particular, the cultural diversity, Treaty of Waitangi, and inclusion principles more visibly in all programmes and practices.

Teachers have made good use of external support to develop an English curriculum, complete with concise and high expectations for the teaching of English. Teachers should now give urgent priority to using this good model to develop a curriculum that accounts for all learning areas through the lens of being a Pacific or Māori learner. In planning for curriculum developments the school needs to place greater priority on making the goals and principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and te ao Māori more visible in school programmes, practices and strategic plans.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is reasonably well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Trustees and school managers have identified some areas that need to be developed in order for the school to further improve its performance.

Their priorities include:

  • strengthening relationships with Māori families/whānau
  • completing the development of and implementing the mathematics curriculum
  • including tikanga Māori in school practices and processes.

The board has faced challenging financial management issues over the last five years. Trustees have benefited from some training to increase their understanding of their governance roles. They have been guided in the development of a useful governance manual and a plan to ensure that they meet their obligations as trustees. It is timely that they use this guiding document to review their effectiveness as trustees.

The board receives clear information about the progress and achievement of students. They have used this information to set achievement targets for groups of students, including Māori and Pacific students to accelerate student progress. Trustees also receive very comprehensive, regular reports related to attendance patterns.

Senior managers recognise teachers’ strengths and skills and, in particular, teachers with potential leadership skills. These teachers are given opportunities to lead school-wide developments and professional discussions.

The board and senior managers have recently appointed many new staff. They have used a clearly documented process for gathering information about potential employees and make contact with referees or previous employers.

ERO, the board of trustees and senior managers agree that areas for further review and development include:

  • developing a manageable process and schedule for self review
  • developing a more manageable policy and procedures base
  • developing and documenting a programme of advice and guidance for provisionally registered teachers
  • implementing the auditor’s recommendations for improving financial management practices.

Trustees could consider talking with other government agencies about the negative impact of student transience on their progress and achievement, and work together to explore some possible local solutions.

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.

During the course of the review, ERO identified that information about student progress and achievement has not been reported to all parents. In order to fulfil the school’s legal requirements the board should:

  • report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language in writing must be at least twice a year.[National Administration Guidelines 2 A(a)]
  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the achievements of Māori students[National Education Guidelines 1993, National Administration Guideline 1(e)]
  • ensure that the police vetting of non-teaching staff, including teacher aides, is completed every three years[Education Act 1989 78 C ].

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

17 May 2013

About the School


Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 56%

Girls 44%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/ Pākehā



Cook Island Māori



other Pacific









Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

17 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

June 2008

June 2005