Riverton School - 09/03/2018

School Context

Riverton Primary is a Year 1 to 6 school near Invercargill with a roll of 189 students. There is a bilingual unit for students in Year 3 to 6.

The school’s vision is for their children to be the best they can be in their learning, attitude and behaviour. Valued outcomes for learners are that all children succeed and are, “Well-rounded as people in sport, culture, socially and academically.”

The schools’ strategic direction focuses on students attaining high achievement in literacy and numeracy, actively participating in the community and resourcing appropriately to meet students’ needs. This includes enhancing the use of te reo Māori and bicultural practices across the school.

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

  • achievement of students in the bilingual unit in relation to Te Waharoa Araru (Māori language)

  • achievement in reading writing, and mathematics for all students

  • achievement in reading and writing for targeted students

  • the breadth of school programmes and the opportunities that these provide for learning.

The school appointed a new principal in 2015. A new deputy principal and board chair have also been appointed. There is a mix of new and experienced teachers and trustees on the board.

Riverton Primary is part of a cluster of Western Southland schools. The cluster has a shared focus on professional learning and development (PLD) for teachers in writing. This school has also engaged in Ministry of Education supported PLD in building te reo Māori and more culturally responsive practices across the school.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving positive outcomes for most children.

Most Māori, and other students, are achieving at school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Less than 5 percent of all students are achieving above expectations. There is a small level of disparity (up to 10 percent) for Māori and girls in mathematics and boys in writing. Leaders and teachers are aware that these areas need further improvement.

The majority of students in the bilingual unit in 2017 achieved well in raising their level of te reo Māori (Māori language).

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has some good practices in place to respond to the needs of Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. While there is good information on individual children this is not always aligned well with specific actions to meet the board’s annual achievement targets. The school is in the early stages of developing systems to enable them to report how well children are making accelerated progress over time.

Reporting progress occurs for some small groups of students. Senior school achievement results show acceleration in progress for a group of children who were receiving additional support in writing.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has some useful processes and practices that are supporting the achievement of equity and excellence.

The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources to enhance student learning. These connections support the provision of a wide, varied curriculum and provide students with purposeful experiences and activities in a range of contexts. The school has effective systems to ease the transition for young children starting school. Learning outcomes for children at the end of one year of schooling are very good.

Professional learning and development for teachers is well-aligned to the board’s strategic priorities to raise student achievement in writing. External expertise and collaboration with local schools is strongly contributing to teachers’ knowledge and positively influencing classroom practice. Teachers are developing shared understandings about effective strategies to further improve learning outcomes for children.

Teachers have effective processes to identify and monitor children within their classes who need additional support. They have an in depth knowledge of each child and their learning and achievement. Teachers’ planning to meet needs is detailed. Practice is inclusive with teacher aides working in classes alongside teachers. This is increasing teachers’ ability to give increased attention to where it is most needed.

Achievement information is used well to inform regular professional discussion, at all levels of the school, to address children’s learning needs. This is a strong feature of the school’s approach to lifting achievement. The board engages with data and confidently requests further information to gain a better picture of progress and achievement trends and patterns.

There is a very strong commitment towards providing a specific bilingual education option for children. School leaders are proactive and fully support students to have many opportunities to participate in experiences that contribute to their success as Māori. Leaders and teachers are equally committed to building knowledge and use of te reo and tikanga Māori across the school for all students. Strategic planning, resourcing and curriculum development are effectively building teachers’ and students’ capacity to use and appreciate Māori language and culture.

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

Some school processes need to be further strengthened to better enable the achievement of equity and excellence.

Leaders and teachers need to better use their knowledge of individual students, their learning and achievement to:

  • develop processes to measure students’ progress and report this more regularly to the board

  • deepen the level of analysis to inform evaluation and guide decision-making

  • personalise learning opportunities and continue to build children’s ownership of their own learning so that they are sufficiently challenged and engaged in their learning.

Leaders and teachers need to ensure there is a more focused, cohesive and better aligned approach so that all children who need to accelerate their learning have equitable access to support.

The board, leaders and teachers have a focus on continuous improvement. The next step is to use internal evaluation as a process to further support effective and sustainable improvements at all levels of the school.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the Vulnerable Children’s Act

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. Ensure compliance with the requirements of the Vulnerable Children’s Act by incorporating it into board policies such as the appointments policy.
    [State Sector Act 1998, section 77A.]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a shared culture of seeking continuous improvement

  • its strong commitment to Māori success as Māori and use of te reo and tikanga Māori across the school

  • identification, monitoring and regular professional dialogue to raise outcomes for children whose learning needs accelerating.

Next steps

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

  • equitable access to learning support

  • processes to measure and report students’ progress

  • internal evaluation processes and practices.

ERO recommends that the New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • the use of effective internal evaluation across the school and at board level.

  • reviewing achievement information to set and monitor appropriate annual achievement targets.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

9 March 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Primary, Year 1 to 6

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 30%

Pākehā 64%

Pacific 3%

Other 3%

Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes

1 bilingual class

Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 3 MLE


Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

9 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education ReviewAugust 2013

Education Review July 2010

Education Review March 2007