Pine Hill School (Dunedin) - 30/09/2020


On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Pine Hill School (Dunedin)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Pine Hill School (Dunedin) provides education for children in Years 1 to 6. The roll of 46 students includes children from diverse backgrounds, many of whom have English as a second language. The school’s vision is to be a community of learners where students, teachers, family and whānau actively participate in learning together.

At the time of the 2018 ERO review a new principal had just begun and there were some new board members. The review highlighted a number of areas of concern. These included the learning culture of the school, student achievement levels, and assessment and evaluation practices. The school roll had declined.

Since that review there has been a change of board chair and a change in the teaching staff. The roll is increasing.

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

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

  • the learning environment
  • student achievement and assessment
  • governance and sustainability (reported in section 3 of this report).

The board, principal and staff have made significant progress against all the priorities identified in the 2018 review, and have effectively addressed all areas for improvement. 


Learning environment

Since the 2018 ERO review there has been a positive shift in learning culture to help achieve equity and excellence for all students The school values of Respect, Responsibility, Caring and Aiming High are clearly evident across both classrooms and through decision making processes within the school.

Teachers collaboratively provide high quality learning and teaching in both classrooms, with good levels of engagement shown by children from a diverse range of cultures. Teachers are effectively meeting the needs of these learners within an inclusive environment. Clear expectations for learning and behaviour are consistently applied across the school. ERO observed calm, settled and focused classrooms. Students told ERO they enjoy being at the school.

Leaders and teachers know the students and their whānau/families’ cultures and backgrounds very well. Children benefit from behaviour management strategies that are aligned to a positive reward system. The localised, authentic curriculum is consistent across both classes. The curriculum and systematic processes to reinforce and support behaviour have led to a positive school culture in the classroom and playground.

All students and whānau/families have easy access to a wide range of technologies for ongoing communication that supports children’s learning and progress in and beyond the classroom. An inclusive approach to the use of technology supports equity in learning.

A strategic approach to learning support includes very good use of in-class external expertise to support children’s learning and well being. This includes education outside the classroom programmes that are linked to the local curriculum.

Leaders and teachers have developed strong home-school partnerships that are learning focused and that supported children and their whānau/families well during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student achievement and assessment.

Student achievement is on a positive trajectory. There is clear evidence to show many students are making accelerated progress in mathematics, reading and writing. Priority groups are identified early through comprehensive systems that monitor and track students closely. Reporting of these students’ achievement is based on valid and reliable assessment data that supports leaders and trustees to implement next learning steps for all students.

Leaders and teachers are reflective and review progress to inform teachers’ planning and resourcing for ongoing improvements. They regularly review children’s progress to develop teaching strategies to meet children’s needs and interests. A comprehensive student-needs register is regularly reviewed to make sure children are making progress and to ensure those who need extension are being provided for. Teachers share information and take responsibility for all children’s learning and progress through pastoral care programmes, key online documents and regular meetings focused on students’ achievement and well being.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to continue to improve and review its performance.

Governance and sustainability

The principal leads the school well. Clear direction is set by comprehensive strategic and annual plans, the school charter and sustainability plan. Detailed data on student achievement informs the board’s setting of clear targets that are relentlessly focused on improving outcomes for all children. These documents are consistently monitored, evaluated and reviewed at all levels of the school.

Trustees are confident and capable in their board functions. They know their roles and responsibilities and have undertaken a wide range of training through the New Zealand School Trustees Association. The board chair provides good leadership and works collaboratively with the principal to evaluate progress against school goals and targets. The board receives a range of information about learning and well being that helps trustees make informed decisions that are focused on improving outcomes for all children.

The principal, strongly supported by all staff, has enabled children’s learning and well being to be extended by strong relationships with wider community groups. Parents and whānau feel welcome in the school, and school events are very well attended.

Key next steps

Trustees and school leaders could consider further refining planning throughout the school so it is explicit about prioritising actions and making ongoing evaluation more manageable.

The principal and teachers have identified further development in:

  • the localised curriculum to provide more learning opportunities for all children to have success and access across the whole curriculum
  • continuing to focus on Māori and Pacific achievement
  • the student management system so it provides timely information that will inform future teaching and moderation practices. 

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014. 


On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Pine Hill School (Dunedin)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing. 

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

30 September 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.