Riccarton School - 19/12/2018

School Context

Riccarton School is a full primary with a roll of 314 students, 57% of whom are English Language Learners. The school community is ethnically diverse, and there has been significant roll growth since 2017. A third of the students qualify for ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) funding.

The mission of the school is ‘encouraging lifelong learners – expanding horizons’. The school’s vision is to support learners to be respectful, responsible, real learners - kia haepapa, kia whakakoha ā tātau ākonga. In partnership with the learners and their whānau, the school aims to support learners to become:

  • strong in themselves and proud of their language(s), identity and culture
  • lifelong, self-regulating, high-achieving learners
  • confident, resilient, fit and healthy
  • respectful and responsible citizens
  • strong in their knowledge of the bicultural nature of New Zealand, including a knowledge and understanding of tikanga, taha and te reo Māori.

The school’s vision is supported by the values of integrity, respectfulness, perseverance, community, self discipline, excellence and lots of fun. The school values, the New Zealand Curriculum and the key competencies underpin the vision of the school.

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

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • accelerated progress in relation to school targets

  • achievement in relation to school targets

  • wellbeing, engagement, attendance and behaviour

  • programmes and interventions.

The school is an active member of the Pūtaringamotu Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning. The principal of Riccarton School is the lead principal for this Kāhui Ako.

The school has fully addressed the areas identified for improvement in the 2015 ERO report.

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?

Over the past three years, the school has maintained high expectations for every child to achieve success. Leaders and teachers continue to make very good progress towards meeting the complex and wide-ranging learning needs of children to promote and achieve equity and excellence for all students.

School-wide achievement information provided by the school for 2015 to 2017 indicates that reading shows a positive improvement trend for most groups. Overall achievement in mathematics during this time remains at a similar level, with some groups showing improvement. While achievement in writing for some groups had not met the school’s expectations, improved outcomes were evident for many students.

The school provided end of year data for 2018 to ERO that had become available after the onsite stage of the review. It shows an increasingly positive improvement in school-wide reading, writing and mathematics achievement outcomes.

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

Mid and end of year achievement data for 2018 shows a consistently positive trend in accelerating the learning of students who are not performing at the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers have sound practices and systems in place for identifying and supporting the large number of students with additional learning and English language needs. In particular, leaders demonstrate a very good level of data capability and use to monitor, evaluate and report the progress of individual learners. Together with teachers, they have a strong understanding of acceleration, and ensure that teaching strategies are targeted to meet identified learning needs.

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?

Students participate and learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive learning community. There is a considered approach to meeting the needs of individual learners. Leaders, teachers and other staff have a holistic focus on students’ learning and wellbeing. Positive relationships are fostered. As a result, children feel valued and are increasingly engaged, confident and motivated.

Leaders and teachers have a strong focus on bicultural understandings, including te ao Māori and te reo Māori. An equally strong focus on the school’s diverse and multicultural student population is reflected in highly responsive pedagogy and practices in classrooms, and is valued by the community, staff and children.

The knowledge and enactment of the local curriculum has been strengthened. Curriculum decisions are based on collaboration, consultation and research, and are responsive to children’s feedback, needs and interests. Learning pathways across the school are future focused, strengthened by inquiry and culminate in a Year 8 Riccarton School graduate student profile.

Leaders and teachers work with parents, children and staff to achieve meaningful learning connections. Students are supported to make effective transitions into the school, across year levels and on to high school. The school is well connected and active within the local education community.

The school has a strong, professional and stable leadership team that is relentlessly student and improvement focused. Teaching practice, professional learning development and pedagogy are aligned with the school’s strategic aims, current educational research, and teaching as inquiry. The school’s appraisal system is robust. Leaders value teachers, children and whānau and actively involve them in decision making.

Coherent evaluative practices are embedded at board, leadership and teaching levels. This is contributing to a strong alignment between the strategic plan, values and curriculum. School data is used effectively to inform decisions. Leaders recognise the importance of multiple voices as key resources in evaluating and planning.

A stable, skilled and experienced board actively represents the school community. Trustees keep student engagement, progress and achievement at the centre of their decisions and actions.

Positive, respectful relationships between trustees and schools leaders are based on open and regular communication.

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

The school has identified that leaders and teachers need to continue to embed the student-led inquiry learning curriculum pathway.

ERO supports the school’s identified next step of continuing the focus on raising achievement, especially for those students who are yet to meet the school’s expected levels of performance.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were four international students attending the school, and no exchange students.

International students’ learning and wellbeing are closely monitored and supported. They achieve well and make good progress. International students benefit from the inclusive culture and are very well integrated into the school.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a strongly supportive environment that remains focused on equity for all students, and is inclusive and responsive to students’ wellbeing, ethnicities, strengths, interests and needs

  • a holistic approach to supporting children whose learning needs accelerating

  • highly valued school and community relationships

  • clear direction setting by trustees and leaders, that effectively aligns the school’s vision, values, goals and targets to improve outcomes for all students.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to raise achievement across the school, especially for those students who have yet to meet school expectations.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in four-to-five years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Southern Region

19 December 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 48% : Girls: 52%

Ethnic composition

Māori 24%

Pākehā 13%

Pacific 19%

Filipino 18%

Other Ethnicities 26%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

19 December 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review January 2015

Education Review January 2010