Parua Bay School - 23/01/2018

School Context

Parua Bay School provides education for children from Years 1 to 8 in a coastal community close to Whangarei. The school roll is currently close to 400, a significant increase since 2014. It includes 23 percent Māori children, 2 percent Pacific, and a small number of children from diverse cultural backgrounds.

At the time of the 2014 ERO report, the principal had been in his leadership role for less than one month. He continues to lead the school, along with a new leadership team and a new board of trustees. The school is part of the Community of Learning, Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Kāhui Ako Group 1.

The school’s vision is to actively involve children and whānau in learning and caring about the unique environment, and for tikanga Māori, diverse cultures and relationships to be valued.

As part of achieving its valued outcomes, the school offers all children the opportunity to learn te reo Māori. A group of Year 5 and 6 children has chosen to be in a class that offers a higher level of te reo Māori.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress towards meeting strategic goals and student achievement targets

  • accelerated progress and achievement of priority learners

  • engaging children in learning in collaborative learning spaces.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is making very good progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

The large majority of Māori students, and most Pākehā students, achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. The school identifies 50 children as priority learners, whose learning needs accelerating, most of whom are Māori. This group is a focus of the school’s strategic goal to increase the achievement of Māori learners, especially Māori boys, in mathematics and writing, and of boys generally in writing.

The school’s data for 2017 show that a large majority of children identified as priority learners are making accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

Other outcomes valued by the school include providing children with many varied learning experiences beyond the classroom. These experiences include multiple co-curricular opportunities and broad curriculum experiences, including te reo me ōna tikanga Māori schoolwide. In addition, the school’s values programme is appreciated by the children, parents and staff, and includes the celebration of children’s characteristics and successes.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectively to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Included in this group are children who have been identified with additional education needs.

The school has various, multi-levelled programmes and initiatives that contribute to positive improvements in learning, and accelerated progress and achievement for Māori and other learners. Teachers’ clear and deliberate focus on these priority learners has resulted in improvements in reading and writing for the school’s target group between 2015 and 2016.

School leaders and teachers have good, shared understandings about accelerating learning. Leaders strategically resource professional learning to support their focus on priority and all other learners. Their ongoing discussions of priority learners at all levels of the school, results in schoolwide responsibility for ensuring children’s success. This effective approach works alongside a very good process for identifying and monitoring children’s progress and achievement. In addition, there is a continual process of strengthening teachers’ moderation of assessment and judgements about children’s achievement. These good practices provide the school with valid and reliable data.

School leaders note that the ongoing professional connection with the Kāhui Ako is likely to provide further opportunities for teachers to moderate assessment across schools, and especially with the secondary school.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school’s processes and practices are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence.

Effective school leadership supports the pursuit of equity and excellence for all learners. The principal uses a strategic and research-based approach to building relational trust and collaboration throughout the school. School leaders and staff are creating an environment where children and adults feel safe and courageous to take risks as leaders and learners. In response to the strong, professional leadership, teaching and learning approaches are more responsive to individual children’s needs, and bicultural practices are used throughout the school. The deliberate creation of a people-focused and positive environment contributes to the welcoming and inclusive school culture.

Children are very settled in their learning environments and are highly focused on their learning. The newly developed collaborative learning spaces provide children with good opportunities to work and learn in ways that suit them best. Skilled teachers design and enact a school curriculum that is increasingly authentic, connects to children’s strengths and interests, and provides opportunities for children’s choices and preferences.

The board provides strong governance. Trustees have a strategic focus on priority learners and on improving te reo me ōna tikanga throughout the school. They receive very clear, iterative reports from the principal and other staff that highlight the progress made towards meeting strategic goals and targets. Trustees bring professional expertise to their stewardship roles. They access professional learning to continually strengthen their understanding of governance and review their own processes and practices.

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

Teachers provide children with opportunities for ownership and understanding of their own learning pathways and progress. School leaders are continuing to strengthen this aspect of teachers’ practice so that children become more self-managing and are included in the decision-making process about what and how they learn.

As part of the school’s ongoing curriculum review and redesign, leaders identify that enhancing bicultural perspectives in curriculum design and enactment is a useful next step. Planning each aspect of the curriculum with a Māori worldview would support the school’s commitment to biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition, trustees recognise the importance of developing a Treaty of Waitangi policy to promote sustainability of the school’s good bilingual and bicultural practices.

A further development for the board, senior leaders and teachers includes deepening the evaluative commentary of analysed achievement and other information. This approach would highlight the impact or effectiveness of programmes, initiatives and practices in improving outcomes for children.

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:

  • collaborative approaches that enhance children’s learning

  • a schoolwide commitment to promoting success for Māori children that enhances pride in their cultural identity and language, and provides strong bicultural learning for all other children

  • future-focused, strategic leadership and stewardship that promotes improvement and strong relational trust.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to grow student agency to support children’s ability to set goals for, and evaluate, their own learning progress

  • enhancing the school’s bicultural curriculum design to further honour the school’s commitment to te ao Māori

  • deepening internal evaluation to provide more in-depth information about the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

23 January 2018

About the school


Parua Bay, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary, Years 1 - 8

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

23 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
September 2011
June 2010