Panama Road School - 24/10/2019

School Context

Panama Road School in Mt Wellington, provides for children from Years 1 to 6. The school roll has grown and is now more than 250. Most children have Māori or Pacific heritage, with the largest groups being Tongan and Samoan. Māori children make up a quarter of the roll and most whakapapa to Ngāpuhi.

The school mission, “Learning together, success every day”, underpins the school’s strategic direction. The Panama Pride values are participation, respect, integrity, determination and empowerment. The board is focused on raising student achievement in literacy and numeracy, and improving student attendance.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • student engagement and wellbeing
  • provision for students with additional learning needs
  • students’ attitudes and cultural identity, in relation to the mathematics inquiry programme.

The local community is committed to the school. Past students have recently formed a support group, Friends of Panama Road School. They are using their knowledge and connections to support the school in achieving its mission.

Since the last ERO evaluation there have been significant staff changes. In 2017 a new principal was appointed from within the staff and new teaching staff have been appointed.

Trustees, leaders and teachers have participated in a wide range of professional learning and development (PLD). Some of this PLD focused on wellbeing, the Pacific Education Literacy Programme (PELP), collaborative learning, and literacy and numeracy programmes.

The school is a member of the Otāhuhu Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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 towards greater equity and excellence in student achievement and outcomes. Significant roll turnover in recent years hinders the identification of patterns in achievement data. This turnover has considerably decreased in 2019.

Greater consistency in teaching, learning and assessment processes is beginning to enable leaders and teachers to analyse and make better use of achievement data. School data for the last 18 months show that the majority of learners are achieving at the expected curriculum level in reading, writing and mathematics.

Mathematics has been an area of concern. In some years, less than half of the children achieved at expected curriculum levels.

Disparity between boys and girls has been significant over past years. However, most recent data show a marked change, indicating that this disparity has been addressed successfully.

Leaders’ and teachers’ professional learning is strongly aligned with developing a culturally responsive learning environment. Improving attendance and achievement outcomes for all in literacy and numeracy is the current focus.

Learners achieve well in relation to other school valued outcomes. They generally have a strong sense of identity and culture, show pride and belonging in their school, and are confident and collaborate with each other.

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

The school is improving its ability to accelerate student learning progress for Māori and other students who need this.

Leaders and teachers are focused on continuing to increase student attendance and whānau engagement. These initiatives have been a factor in improved achievement and more positive trajectories for learners whose learning and achievement are at risk.

Leaders, teachers and staff provide significant pastoral support to whānau and children who have additional learning needs. Leaders and staff work collaboratively with families and a wide range of internal and external support networks and agencies. Along with internal expertise, these outside networks provide appropriate support for children who most need this.

School processes that support leaders and teachers to collate and analyse achievement information are being strengthened. Leaders and teachers are re-focusing school practices on identifying, monitoring and appropriately responding to children’s learning needs. This re-focusing should help teachers to enhance strategies for accelerating student learning.

There is an increasing emphasis on professional learning discussions amongst leaders and teachers about children most at risk of not achieving. Team meetings provide an opportunity for teachers to discuss the effectiveness of their teaching practice and its impact on accelerating student progress.

For the last 18 months leaders and teachers have participated in professional learning aimed at accelerating learning in mathematics. Mentors support teachers to engage students in collaborative mathematical learning communities. Early indications are that shifts in teacher practice and improved student attitudes toward learning in mathematics are contributing to accelerated 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?

Senior leaders place a strong emphasis on equity. They build relational trust and engage in collaborative activities to build collective responsibility for student achievement. Senior leaders identify and develop internal expertise with the intent to progress outcomes for all learners. Leaders are highly reflective and focused on making improvements to enhance equity and excellence.

The school is proactive in involving whānau and Pacific communities in partnership to improve engagement for all learners. Staff know children and their families very well. They are positive in identifying and responding to individual children’s needs. Parents and whānau report helpful partnerships with the school in pastoral care practices that promote wellbeing and support learning success. Children’s use of their own Pacific languages through PELP supports the acquisition of early literacy skills.

There is a strong community commitment to and involvement with the school. The school vision and values underpin the positive culture and sense of wellbeing for this community. Relationships are respectful and productive. Difference and diversity are valued. The values are evident in school practices and upheld by the school community. Pōwhiri, cultural groups, including kapa haka, and Language Week events are promoted and well celebrated. During the review parents and trustees shared their display celebrating Cook Island culture and heritage.

Trustees represent the culturally diverse community and their expertise is used well. Outcomes for children are the focus of board and staff decisions. The board and senior leaders are committed to creating greater alignment and cohesion across organisational processes and practices. Consultation with whānau, staff and students and access to relevant expertise supports the school’s ongoing improvement.

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

School leaders agree that development priorities include continuing to:

  • develop teacher capability and improve the consistency of effective teaching practices
  • scaffold student learning actions to support their acquisition of skills and competencies to accelerate their learning progress
  • develop processes and practices to enable teachers and leaders to know about and respond to new initiatives that support accelerated learning and improved student achievement
  • strengthen internal evaluation practices to inform and sustain improvement and innovation.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Panama Road School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • senior leaders’ strong focus on equity that emphasises improved outcomes for all learners
  • positive school partnerships with whānau and community that support learner success and wellbeing
  • the school vision and values that underpin a positive culture and sense of wellbeing for this community
  • trustees’ culturally diverse representation that serves the community well.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to develop teaching practices to strengthen the school’s teaching capacity
  • scaffolding students’ learning to support improved achievement outcomes
  • leaders and teachers knowing and responding to the impact of new initiatives on accelerating learning and achievement
  • strengthening internal evaluation processes and practices to support evidenced-based decision making.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

24 October 2019

About the school


Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 - 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%
NZ European/Pākehā 1%
Tongan 34%
Samoan 22%
Cook Island Māori 9%
other Pacific 6%
other ethnic groups 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

24 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016
Education Review May 2013
Supplementary Review September 2009