Riverhead School - 01/09/2011

1 Context

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

Riverhead School is a full primary (Years 1 to 8) school located in the semi-rural community of Riverhead, in the Rodney District. The school is well supported by its community, many of whom have historical links with the school. Since the 2008 ERO review, the board has successfully managed significant building projects that support teaching and learning across the school.

The school is led by a capable and cohesive leadership team who are focused on continuous improvement. Their shared vision is clearly articulated and well understood by students and teachers. Well designed school systems and practices contribute to a positive tone in the school. There is collective ownership of responsibility for the wellbeing of students and staff.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are highly motivated and engage well in the learning process. Students of all ages are able to talk about their learning and present as confident and capable learners. They willingly share their ideas with others in the class and are confident to take risks in their learning.

School achievement information shows that most students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers’ analysis of achievement data is detailed and well used in lesson planning. Achievement information is also used to set annual school achievement targets. Senior leaders and teachers closely monitor the progress of students who are underachieving in relation to these targets.

Teachers and managers see raising student achievement as a collective responsibility and focus. ERO recommends that senior leaders extend their reporting on achievement to the board by including an analysis of the progress of groups of students over their time at school and summarising the data to identify trends and patterns.

Well considered work has been undertaken to incorporate the National Standards for reading, writing, and mathematics into the school curriculum. This work is ongoing. The board has set one achievement target against National Standards in the 2011 charter, and has chosen reading for this focus. Parents receive two written reports a year that indicate how well their child is achieving against the curriculum levels in relation to the National Standards. Senior leaders are developing more accurate reporting to parents on their child’s achievement in relation to the National Standards after one, two, and three years at school.

ERO and school leaders agree that the next step is for teachers to continue to support students to engage in making independent decisions about their learning.

How well are Māori students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Sixteen percent of the school roll identifies as Māori. Māori students achieve at levels that are similar to those of the rest of the school population. Senior leaders provide the board with a separate analysis of Māori student achievement. Māori students benefit from teachers’ close monitoring of achievement targets designed to support their learning.

Through ongoing consultation, the school has developed good relationships with Māori whānau. Māori students are consulted and provide useful information about their learning at Riverhead School. Their voice is respected by leaders and their opinions also inform the teaching of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori in classrooms. Māori students are given many learning and leadership opportunities, including those that affirm their identity as Māori.

3 Curriculum

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

The Riverhead school curriculum is well designed and aligns well with the principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. The school’s vision for students’ learning is reflected in the integrated approach to learning and behaviour that is evident across the school. The curriculum effectively promotes and supports student achievement in all learning areas and coverage is carefully monitored across a four year cycle. Students have opportunities to engage in a wide range of co-curricular opportunities to complement their class programmes. Clear documented guidelines support teachers to deliver the curriculum effectively.

The school has developed a cycle of curriculum review that focuses on assessment information. Students, teachers and the community have a shared ownership of the curriculum. Senior leaders have reviewed the careers programme for Year 7 and 8 students and are developing a more integrated approach to this aspect of the curriculum. Leaders have begun to further develop the school’s te reo Māori and tikanga Māori curriculum, using the recent Ministry of Education resource, He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora.

There is clear evidence of consistent good teaching practice across the school. An effective appraisal process, linked to professional learning programmes, ensures that teachers are well supported to continue to develop their teaching practice.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Riverhead School is well placed to sustain and further improve teaching and learning in the school and to promote positive outcomes for all students.

Factors that support this school to sustain and improve its performance are:

  • highly effective governance and management systems that underpin continuous school development
  • committed professional leadership, focused on continuous improvement
  • well aligned school systems and procedures that support the agreed strategic direction of the school
  • respectful interpersonal relationships between students and staff
  • inclusive practices that support students’ engagement in learning
  • high quality self review that is future focused and contributes to positive outcomes for students
  • planned initiatives that foster the development of leadership skills across the school.

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 no international students attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. 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 an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • 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 four-to-five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

1 September 2011

About the School


Riverhead, Rodney District

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 58%, Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




Other ethnicities






Review team on site

July 2011

Date of this report

1 September 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

June 2008

June 2005

February 2002