Richmond Road School - 25/02/2016


Richmond Road School has a long-term commitment to providing worthwhile immersion and bilingual education. Students achieve well across the different language units and express pride in their diverse cultural heritages.

The board and principal are committed to working successfully with all groups within the school, to plan and review school development.

1 Context

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

Richmond Road School in Ponsonby provides education for children from Years 1 to 6. Twenty-four percent of the school's culturally diverse roll identify as Māori. The school has a long-term commitment to delivering a unique curriculum.

Aside from the Kiwi Connection unit, students are taught in immersion and bilingual language units. The units are known as Te Whānau Whāriki (Māori), Kiwi Connection (English), Mua i Malae (Samoan), and L’Archipel (French). Kiwi Connection, Mua i Malae, and L’Archipel reflectThe New Zealand Curriculumand Te Whānau Whāriki is based onTe Marautanga o Aotearoa. These units attract families from all areas of Auckland.

Board members, and some parents, staff and students have expressed pride in what the school offers their communities. The school has had close connections with the Māori, Samoan and French communities over many years as well as with the local community. Second generation families from all communities now attend the school. There are high levels of parent involvement in children’s education within the different language units. Parents choosing the Kiwi Connection pathway talk about the benefits to their children of attending a school with diverse cultures and languages.

The onsite pre-school Māori and Samoan language nests offer learning pathways into the school for a number of children. Families use the school as part of transition pathways to intermediate and secondary schools that offer Māori language-based learning opportunities.

Since ERO’s 2013 review, the school has had significant changes in governance and leadership. A new board, elected in 2013, appointed a new principal and faced the challenge of dealing with a school fire that caused considerable damage. The new principal began early in 2014. The leadership team has been expanded in 2015 to include a second deputy principal with responsibility for curriculum development.

Previous ERO reports have noted that managing perceptions of equity in relation to the language units has been challenging for the board and school leaders. This remains the case. The Ministry of Education (MoE) and New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) have provided support for the new principal and board over the last year to help trustees and the principal.Education Review Office Richmond Road School – PN1463 Confirmed Education Review Report February 2016 2

The board continues to work with the Ministry of Education to agree on a property development plan that will respond appropriately to roll growth and fire damage. The new facilities will offer innovative learning environments that cater for modern learning approaches. 

2 Learning

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

School achievement information shows that students achieve well throughout the school. Students' achievement and progress is carefully monitored. By Year six the majority of students are achieving at, or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students display fluency in a range of languages, express pride in their cultural heritage and are confident in their identity.

Teachers continue to respond well to the challenge of assessing and reporting student achievement in relation to the different language pathways. Teachers assess Te Whānau Whāriki students using Ngā Whanaketanga, and Kiwi Connection students’ achievement is assessed in relation to National Standards. The school has developed tools to assess Mua i Malae and L’Archipel students’ achievement in relation to National Standards. These assessments appropriately recognise rates of progress and achievement for students learning bilingually.

School leaders continue to refine systems for managing assessment information. New approaches for reporting student achievement to the board provide evaluative comments that help trustees set school priorities and targets. Teachers take appropriately targeted actions to accelerate the progress of students who are not achieving to their potential.

Teachers are engaging in moderation practices with other schools to ensure that assessment in each of the language units is robust. A new electronic management system enables closer ongoing monitoring of student progress. It will also provide valuable information about the progress of different groups of students over their time at the school.

Senior leaders and teachers use achievement information well. They inquire into the effectiveness of teaching practices and identify relevant professional learning requirements. An ongoing focus for the school is to further develop students’ understanding and use of achievement information. This focus is designed to support students to be more actively involved in decisions about their learning. 

3 Curriculum

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

The school has a unique and broad curriculum. Language learning is a particular strength. All students benefit from a planned school-wide te reo and tikanga Māori programme that is integrated into unit studies. The opportunity for students to learn Mandarin as part of the curriculum is a recently introduced initiative.

Each language-based learning unit is highly valued by its parent community. Students appreciate the diversity of learning contexts. The curriculum includes an appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics. It also engages students in learning opportunities outside the classroom and the visual and performing arts.

Teachers are reviewing the school’s curriculum to capture greater student voice. Integrating information and communication technologies to enhance learning is a priority for the board.Education Review Office Richmond Road School – PN1463 Confirmed Education Review Report February 2016 3

Consideration is also being given to preparing teachers and students for the move into innovative learning environments, planned as part of the school property developments.

The school has sought external advice to guide the review ofTe Marautanga, to support improved learning opportunities for students in Te Whānau Whāriki. Work has started on developing graduate profiles for students in the different language units. The outcomes of this work will be crucial to maintain and celebrate the uniqueness of each language unit.

There are sound teaching practices evident across the school. Programmes are well planned. Teachers and learning assistants share teaching approaches and ideas. They are supported by effective professional development and meaningful staff appraisals.

Senior leaders have taken a strategic approach to continuing to improve the effectiveness of teaching practices that meet the needs of modern learners. These approaches will include the current curriculum review process, refining teachers’ inquiry and reflective practices and introducing a professional coaching model.

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

The school has eighty-nine students who are Māori. Two thirds learn in Te Whānau Whāriki and the remainder learn in the other language units. The school’s information shows that Māori students achieve well in relation to both Ngā Whanaketanga and the National Standards, depending on their curriculum pathway.

Aspects of Māori culture and language are evident in the school environment and learning programmes. Staff in Te Whānau Whariki make a positive contribution to building Māoritanga in school practices. Students participate in the school’s strong kapa haka group that performs at national competition levels. Kapa haka is a source of pride for students and the community. It provides good opportunities for Māori student leadership and promotes discipline, team work, learning in the arts and a deeper understanding of tikanga Māori.

Consultation with the school’s Māori community is occurring through the board’s strategic reviews. Some Māori parents have expressed concern that this approach limits their opportunities to be consulted as a group. 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board is strategically reviewing the school charter, policies, strategic goals, the delivery of the curriculum and the enrolment scheme. It has used the services of an external expert to consult with all of the four units within the school for this review process. Since ERO's visit the school has had the enrolment schemes for Mua I Malae and Te Whānau Whariki approved, as well as the new school wide vision and values developed over a year of consultation in 2015 and that each of Kiwi Connection, L'Archipel, Mua I Malae and Te Whānau Whāriki signed off on, before the board ratified the school's direction.Education Review Office Richmond Road School – PN1463 Confirmed Education Review Report February 2016 4

Some parent groups express confidence in the board's consultation processes and the outcomes of these reviews. Others are concerned that the reviews are limiting their input into setting direction for the language units. In 2016 the board will continue to use an external expert to assist with consultation while developing the strategic goals that will enact the new vision and values for the school.

Despite the board's efforts and ongoing assistance from the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association, ERO was made aware of these ongoing concerns and complaints from some groups within the school. These groups remain unhappy with the processes. However, both governance and management have given assurances to ERO that they are committed to working with all groups within the school as they continue the consultation and review process in 2016.

ERO acknowledges the unique nature of Richmond Road School and the need to undertake consultation with all groups.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed theERO 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. 

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association provide ongoing support to help the school facilitate engagement with all groups within the school.


Richmond Road School has a long-term commitment to providing worthwhile immersion and bilingual education. Students achieve well across the different language units and express pride in their diverse cultural heritages. The board and principal are committed to working successfully with all groups within the school, to plan and review school development. 

The board has undertaken to keep ERO regularly updated on the progress it is making to successfully engage with all groups in the school community and on this basis another ERO review is likely to be undertaken in three years. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

25 February 2016 

About the School


Ponsonby, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 57%, Girls 43%

Ethnic composition




other Pacific nations


other ethnicities







Special Features

Te Whānau Whāriki, Māori immersion /bilingual unit Mua i Malae, Samoan immersion /bilingual unit L’Archipel, French immersion /bilingual unit

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

25 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

March 2013
January 2010
March 2007