Riverton School - 30/09/2013

1 Context

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

Riverton Primary School is situated on the coast of Southland. The teachers make effective use of the local environment and resources to ensure that programmes are interesting and relevant for students. Students have the opportunity to participate in bilingual education with a focus on te reo Māori in Years 3 to 6.

Since the last ERO review, the school has undertaken developments in information and communication technologies (ICT), music resourcing, upgrading the library and installing a large adventure playground.

The board is responsive to the needs of the community and regularly consults with parents about matters that affect the school. The school’s long-serving principal is well known to the community.

Teachers are collegial and demonstrate a shared responsibility for all children’s learning and wellbeing.

The school’s culture of ‘We Open our Doors with Aroha’ is very evident throughout the school. There is a strong emphasis on establishing and maintaining positive relationships with students, and amongst students and teachers. Positive behaviour is actively promoted throughout the school through a pastoral care approach. Success is encouraged and celebrated.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of learning information to ensure that the focus remains on raising and maintaining student achievement, and developing teaching practices.

The school places a strong emphasis on immediately identifying students’ learning needs and giving them the ‘boost’ they need to meet the National Standards. This is a well-managed and successful approach involving:

  • strategic resourcing from the board
  • information gathering by the principal and teachers
  • effective home/school partnerships
  • skilled teacher aides.

The school can show that students have made accelerated progress as a result of the implementation of targeted programmes.

There are good systems for tracking student achievement and progress. The principal and teachers examine student achievement information to ensure that students’ specific needs are targeted and teaching strategies are appropriate. Achievement information at the end of 2012 shows that most students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers are effectively applying successful approaches in literacy to a current school focus in mathematics.

Students are very aware of how well they are achieving, progressing and their next learning steps. Senior students are effectively using assessments to plan and monitor aspects of their own learning.

The next step is for teachers to explore further ways of:

  • involving students in reporting to parents
  • involving students in the decision making about their achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

Students enjoy the many different learning experiences they participate in. Of particular note are the:

  • specialist programmes, such as music and physical education
  • enhancement programmes, such as the arts, te reo Māori, technology and science
  • high interest programmes, such as ROX (an outdoor education programme) and an exchange programme with a school in Australia.

These programmes have been specifically planned to develop self-management and practical skills.

A special feature of the curriculum is the leadership opportunities for all Year 6 students. The leadership roles are authentic and contribute to the smooth day-to-day running of the school.

There are well-developed systems for supporting teachers and ensuring school-wide consistency in planning and implementing programmes. Guidelines and expectations for teaching are comprehensive. These explicitly outline what and how teachers are expected to teach in this school.

ERO observed some high-quality teaching practice. Examples include the ways in which teachers:

  • use engaging activities to extend students’ learning
  • get students to explain their thought processes that contribute to learning
  • use equipment to teach concepts that are difficult to understand.

Areas for development

The principal and senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees that:

  • curriculum reviews could be extended to consistently evaluate the impact of teaching and include next steps for future development
  • the school’s provision for talented students should be reviewed.

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

School achievement information for 2012, shows that Māori students achieved well in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Māori students are well engaged in their learning and enjoy the many opportunities they have to learn about their culture.

Students told ERO that they feel safe and that teachers care about them and their learning.

The principal has developed plans to improve consultation with the school’s Māori whānau.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal is a strong professional leader. She is building leadership within and beyond the school. She models and encourages reflective practice. The principal has high expectations for teaching and learning, and places students’ interests at the centre of any decision making.

Teachers regularly share teaching strategies and practices both formally and informally.

The board is well supported by sound governance policies and procedures. Trustees manage school finances well. There is very clear alignment between the strategic plan, annual plan, student achievement targets and professional learning and development for teachers.

The board receives useful information about:

  • progress towards its strategic goals
  • classroom programmes
  • how well the school is providing a safe environment for students.

The principal and teachers have reviewed and redeveloped the teachers’ appraisal process. It is comprehensive and robust. It effectively integrates teachers’ professional standards, the registered teacher criteria and the Ministry of Education publication Tātaiako – Cultural Competencies.

Key features of the appraisal system are the ways:

  • evidence is gathered continually
  • staff implement it rigorously
  • it is empowering teachers to improve their practice.

There is a school-wide culture of reflection and self review that is contributing to ongoing improvements. The principal and senior leaders have a very good understanding of what contributes to robust self review within the school.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

30 September 2013

About the School


Riverton, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls: 51% Boys: 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Special Features

Bilingual class Host school to resource teacher for learning and behaviour

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

30 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2010

March 2007

February 2004