Riverdale School (P North) - 04/07/2014


The Riverdale School curriculum supports the vision for ‘empowering successful, inquiring learners’. Students participate confidently and positively in learning. Meaningful engagement with te ao Māori supports Māori learners and their families. Effective leadership and governance promote learning and progress. A reflective, improvement-focused culture is evident throughout the school.

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

1 Context

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

Riverdale School in Palmerston North caters for Years 1 to 6 students. Of the roll of 356 students, 21% identify as Māori and 2% are Pacific.

Since the 2010 ERO review, leadership has been restructured and classes have been reorganised. Renaming areas of the school has occurred in consultation with Māori and the community. A separate class continues to support students with high or complex learning needs.

Professional learning and development supports the inquiry and development of the curriculum and its vision for self-directed learners. Partnerships with parents and the wider community are valued and promoted.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information effectively to promote achievement and progress for learners. There are high expectations for all students to achieve well. Cohesive schoolwide practices support a sustained focus on learning and progress.

There are clear expectations and good support for teachers to gather, analyse and respond appropriately to assessment information. Teachers regularly monitor progress for all learners to set and review targets, and to collaboratively explore strategies to promote improved outcomes. They regularly review and report on students’ progress in relation to introduced strategies.

School leaders promote their vision of educational success for all. They work in a coordinated way to develop a schoolwide overview of achievement and promote accelerated progress for students. Good processes are in place for sharing useful and timely student achievement information with the board.

Data shows that nearly all students are at and above National Standards in reading and mathematics, with increased numbers of students achieving above. Writing data for 2013 shows improved levels of achievement. This continues to be an appropriate focus for development. Māori and Pacific students achieve well in literacy and mathematics. Data shows some students make significant progress in their learning.

There is a well-considered approach to provision of programmes and support for students with identified special education needs. Students with high or complex needs are appropriately catered for and well integrated into school life. Comprehensive systems are in place for teachers and families to share information about the learning needs and progress of students. A range of practices promote student involvement in assessment and learning.

3 Curriculum

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

Ongoing review ensures the curriculum reflects the school’s vision for ‘empowering successful, inquiring learners’. A focus on creating conditions to support learning helps build a community of learners where students and teachers can explore, share and develop.

Students are motivated to participate confidently and positively in learning. Good quality teaching practices are evident. Useful structures and prompts, ‘te ako ritenga’ (the inquiry learning process) and integrated use of digital learning technologies support students’ learning and thinking. Students are encouraged to reflect on and make decisions about aspects of their learning. Respectful relationships are evident. Key competencies and values are promoted through ‘Ngā Mātāpono’.

Leaders communicate clear expectations for teaching and learning. This promotes consistency of practice across the school. A range of systems and processes helps build shared understandings of effective practice. This includes teaching as inquiry, professional learning opportunities and appraisal. Teachers work together to grow and develop their practice and improve outcomes for students. The school is exploring ways to support students' self-directed learning through flexible spaces and a collaborative teaching model.

Teachers include elements of Pacific cultures in learning contexts. Leaders acknowledge that a key next step is to investigate how to strengthen the curriculum to ensure the identity, language and culture of Pacific students and their aiga are affirmed.

Transition to school has been reviewed and strengthened to promote whānau connections and a sense of belonging. Processes are flexible and responsive to meet the needs of students and families.

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

There has been a deliberate, strategic approach to increasing teachers’ capacity in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori to better support Māori learners. Teachers work regularly with external expertise to develop confidence and understanding in kaupapa Māori.

Action plans, developed in consultation with whānau Māori, guide development. Meaningful engagement and sustained development is evident. This is well supported by external and internal expertise. Strengthened links with iwi and marae provide rich opportunities for Māori students to learn about and be affirmed in their identity and culture. Connections and expressions of te ao Māori are evident within the environment.

School leaders recognise a next step is to develop and embed culturally responsive classroom practice. A clearly articulated vision for success as Māori should guide development and review.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. There is a well-considered, strategic approach to change. Well-aligned, sustainable systems help to promote and maintain improvement.

A reflective, improvement-focused culture is evident throughout the school. Learning is valued and modelled by teachers. Leadership development is well supported at all levels. School leaders work as a collaborative, cohesive team. The strengths of staff are recognised, valued and supported. Positive relationships are promoted and evident.

Trustees appropriately support the school’s priorities and resource initiatives. They inquire into the effectiveness of the school’s endeavours through data and reports. Student achievement is a focus. Most board members are new to their role. They demonstrate good understanding of their governance responsibilities and actively seek to improve their knowledge.

Self review and strategic planning informs decision-making and leads to ongoing improvement for students. A planned review of the self review framework should enhance the process. The framework ensure measures of success are clearly established and promote the use of a range of relevant sources of evidence in judging effectiveness.

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.


The Riverdale School curriculum supports the vision for ‘empowering successful, inquiring learners’. Students participate confidently and positively in learning. Meaningful engagement with te ao Māori supports Māori learners and their families. Effective leadership and governance promote learning and progress. A reflective, improvement-focused culture is evident throughout the school.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

4 July 2014

About the School


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/ Pākehā



Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

4 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

February 2010

August 2007

November 2005