Pillans Point School - 29/10/2013

1 Context

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

Pillans Point School is a contributing primary situated in Tauranga providing education for students in Years 1 to 6. Since the previous ERO review in 2010, there has been a considerable roll increase. The current student roll is 423 of whom 44 students identify as Māori with whākapapa links to a number of iwi throughout Aotearoa. In 2013 the school enrolled 4 international students.

The new principal, took up his position in term four 2011, and is well supported by an experienced deputy principal. They have worked closely with the board and school community to successfully develop a shared vision and strategic direction for the school. This vision includes five learning competencies and a theme of ‘adventurous learning’.

The new chairperson and trustees bring a wide range of skills and expertise to their governance role. They have benefited from detailed guidelines and the well managed transition process from the previous board. The board and principal acknowledge that the agreed priority in the 2010 ERO report of students taking greater responsibility for their own learning still requires further development.

The school has successfully strengthened student identity and pride in their school. This has been achieved through such initiatives as the learning competencies and the emphasis on strong social and emotional strands. The strengthening of the house system, a proposed uniform for 2014, and the levels of pastoral support for students, teachers and parents have also contributed. Students learn and play in a culturally inclusive and safe environment.

The active support and participation of parents in the life of the school benefits students learning and education. Parents are kept well informed, and their views and aspirations are considered and valued.

2 Learning

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

The school is effectively using student achievement information to enhance student engagement and achievement.

The school leadership team and teachers have strengthened the use of student achievement. This information informs decision making at classroom, school and board level. There is an agreed focus on improving educational outcomes for all students. This includes:

  • setting clear expectations and guidelines for assessment
  • teachers using assessment information to identify and plan programmes for individuals and groups of students in reading, writing and mathematics
  • identifying school priorities for supporting the development of professional practice
  • trustees being well informed about learning outcomes for all students. Trustees ask additional questions of management, and provide appropriate resources to support teachers and students
  • setting appropriate targets for priority groups and closely monitoring their progress. Intervention programmes are very successful and the school and teachers are able to show that these groups of students make accelerated progress.

School data identifies that a very high proportion of students including Māori are achieving at and above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. The school focus on writing aims to raise student achievement in this curriculum area to levels comparable to reading. This has triggered a school focus on writing supported by professional development for teachers.

Parents have many opportunities to be informed about their children’s learning, which includes two written reports about their child’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning. In 2012 a school wide review which included consultation with trustees, teachers, parents and students was implemented. Reflection on the curriculum principles and design of The New Zealand Curriculum redefined the agreed vision and values for learning. These included:

  • adventurous Learning ‘Ako Hōpara’ seeking new opportunities, while challenging ourselves to grow as learners
  • effective development of the Pillans Point School competencies and values of being a explorer (Kaitoro) team player (Aro Tahi ) courageous (Hautoa) communicator (Kaiwhakamārama) and connected (Honongātanga) learner
  • a contextual and cultural approach to curriculum delivery with an emphasis on the local community
  • Māori perspectives of local history and sites of significance
  • a high priority in literacy and mathematics. This is extended and enriched through a holistic integrated approach and provision of a broad range of learning experiences
  • a thematic approach to curriculum development with a particular emphasis in science for 2013
  • classrooms being well resourced with increased access to information communication technology equipment
  • engagement of parents and whānau in school activities and events
  • students experiencing a wide range of learning opportunities that include the arts and many sporting activities.

Teachers set and model high expectations for student learning and their own practice. They work collaboratively to plan and deliver the school curriculum, and reflect on their own practice and the influence of professional development. The principal, with strong support from the deputy principal, provides ongoing opportunities for teachers to reflect, share, and inquire into their practice. Teachers have established mutually respectful relationships and classrooms are settled and purposeful learning environments.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The identity, language and culture of students with Māori whākapapa are being effectively promoted in the school. The school charter, strategic and annual plan clearly document the school’s goals to promote educational success for Māori as Māori. Tikanga and te reo Māori are part of daily school routines, and events and activities supported by local kaumatua.

The board, leadership, and whānau of the school strongly value the support that the Māori trustee provides in strengthening biculturalism in the school. Whānau group meetings provide regular opportunities to inform parents about their child/children’s achievement. Whānau members contribute to activities that support the school’s strategic direction in promoting educational success for Māori.

The next step for school leaders in consultation with teachers is to develop a sequential plan that builds on students’ knowledge and understanding of te Ao Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • trustees effectively govern the school and have a strong focus on improving learning outcomes for all students.
  • the principal and trustees understand and value self review as it is focused on continuous improvement and based on quality student achievement information
  • the principal is knowledgeable, well informed, and models reflective practice. He has positive relationships with trustees, teachers, parents and students. He has a strategic and well considered approach to managing change that is focused on ongoing school improvement
  • teachers are committed to delivering quality programmes for all students in positive learning environments
  • students are actively engaged in their learning and success is experienced and celebrated
  • strong partnerships between school and parents encourage active participation in the life of the school.

ERO, trustees, and school leadership agreed that the next steps are to

  • consolidate initiatives and continue to build partnerships for learning
  • encourage students to take greater responsibility for, and leadership of their own learning
  • review how the school consults and shares student achievement information with parents and whānau.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were four international students attending who had been there for only six weeks.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

The school provides quality pastoral care and tuition for international students. Students participate in classroom programmes and receive English language support. Their proficiency in English is assessed and closely monitored. The aspiration and interests of the students and parents are listened to and responded to by the school. The school effectively monitors all aspects of the programme.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.

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

29 October 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other European


Cook Island Māori




Other Asian










Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

29 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

June 2007

June 2004