Pillans Point School - 25/01/2017

1 Context

Pillans Point School is located in the Tauranga suburb of Otumoetai and caters for children in Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 511 includes 70 children who identify as Māori. There are 14 international students enrolled at the school.

The school is currently experiencing roll growth resulting in significant building of new classrooms and increased staff. The newly formed board of trustees includes new and experienced members. The leadership team is now made up of the principal, deputy principal and four assistant principals.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for them to experience adventurous learning through, seeking new opportunities and challenging themselves while developing and growing as people. Valued outcomes include the competencies of courage, connectedness, exploration, communication and being a team player.

The school’s achievement information shows that between 2013 to 2015 approximately 75% of Māori children achieved at or above in National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. School data indicates that since 2013 overall patterns show a significant majority of all students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015 the school's data shows that approximately 80% of children other than Māori achieved at/above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The proportion of Māori children achieving at/above National Standards in writing and mathematics slightly decreased.

An appropriate range of assessment tools are being used to inform teachers' overall judgements in relation to National Standards

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has taken the following key actions to improve learning outcomes for at risk learners:

  • developed a school-wide achievement target for Māori students
  • introduced 'at risk registers' for Māori students and students needing additional support with their learning.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

As a result of the lower than expected levels of achievement in 2015 in writing and mathematics, the school recognised that it was not responding effectively to some Māori children. The principal led a review of school systems and classroom practices with a particular focus on Māori and other children achieving below expected National Standards. This review has resulted in the following planned action in 2016: 

  • the setting of targets for raising achievement of Māori children
  • accessing external professional development to assist teachers to make more reliable overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards
  • the identification of children in each class who are at risk of not achieving National Standards
  • a more intentional focus on the achievement of Māori children within classrooms
  • the introduction of a process that supports teachers to reflect on the effectiveness of their practices on raising the achievement of Māori and other children. 

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Similarly, to that for Māori children, the school recognised that it needed to respond better to other children achieving below expected levels.

Teachers moderate their OTJs within and across the teaching teams and a knowledgeable DP samples judgments in writing. School leaders identify that these tools provide teachers with useful formative information. The deputy principal, along with the principal, has oversight of assessment, mathematics and literacy. They have a particular focus on raising achievement for those children, including Māori children, whose progress needs accelerating. This has helped teachers implement a wide range of strategies and practices to respond to the learning needs of identified priority learners.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices are promoting opportunities for developing and enacting the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence. The school is working on these aspects to promote achievement for all children.

Led by the principal, the school community has developed a vision and valued competencies that are highly evident. These competencies are contributing to the focused and settled school environment that promotes positive learning outcomes for most children. Staff have established successful learning-centred partnerships with parents and families.

The school's broad curriculum reflects community aspirations including stories and places of significance to tangata whenua. The principal and deputy principal have a clear vision for the school, and are providing strong professional leadership to support staff and focus on raising achievement for all children. Assistant principals are modelling effective teaching and working closely with the principal and deputy principal to lead learning across the school. There are clear roles and responsibilities that use leaders' strengths and knowledge to provide a strong, purposeful strategic direction with a focus on improving student achievement.

Under the deputy principal's special education coordinator's (SENCO) leadership role, individualised programmes are implemented that respond to the holistic wellbeing of children with diverse learning needs. School data indicates that children participating in these programmes make significant progress.

Teachers use achievement information to identify the needs and strengths of children whose learning requires acceleration. They establish positive, caring relationships with children and their families, and support them in their learning and wellbeing. Children learn in rich and stimulating learning environments in which their work is acknowledged and celebrated. Classroom activities are designed to enhance engagement in learning. Current professional learning development and the consistent use of learning progressions is likely to assist teachers to make more reliable overall teacher judgements.

Teachers have high expectations for children's leaning and behaviour. They are using student achievement information well to implement meaningful and appropriate learning programmes. Many teachers share information effectively with children about their progress and achievement. School leaders are now considering how to expand this good practice across the school. Comprehensive processes have been developed to support children as they transition from early childhood centres to school and from school to intermediate.

Leaders and teachers are reviewing and reflecting on their practice and responding better to the interests and strengths of children. The principal and deputy principal effectively lead the implementation of internal inquiry that evaluates the effectiveness of school initiatives and informs decision making in relation to accelerating children's achievement. Self review and inquiry by the principal, staff and trustees inform planning and decisions at board and classroom levels. Teachers are involved in ongoing professional development using both internal and external expertise. Self review is ongoing, is leading to meaningful changes and is involving input from children, parents and the community.

Trustees bring a range of useful knowledge and skills to support school leaders and plan school direction. There is a high level of parent involvement in community events and school initiatives. Partnerships with parents provide opportunities for sharing of information about children's learning, achievements and challenges including Māori children and children needing additional support with their learning.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers: 

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it. 

The principal and senior leaders have reviewed and developed systems, processes and learning practices school wide. Priority should now be given to refining and embedding these useful approaches. In particular, attention should be given to: 

  • assessment and reporting systems to further reflect national and education priorities for Māori students and other students enabling the trustees, school leaders and teachers to clearly show and monitor student progress and achievement in relation to National Standards and other appropriate measures over time
  • reviewing the format of charter targets to focus on the number of children whose learning requires acceleration
  • strengthening the teaching as inquiry process with teachers, including stronger links to the practising teacher criteria
  • continue to develop and embed culturally responsive teaching practices for all learners. The use of the MoE document Tātaiako should support this practice. 

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years. 

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to refine and monitor, with a view to embedding, recent approaches that are designed to accelerate the achievement of all children at risk with their learning. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

25 January 2017

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 European

South East Asian











Review team on site

August 2016

Date of this report

25 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

August 2010

June 20017