Selwyn Park School - 22/02/2016


Selwyn Park School provides good quality education. Teachers promote positive outcomes for students. Students benefit from a broad, relevant and culturally responsive curriculum. The positive tone, strong sense of identity and high whānau engagement promote students’ wellbeing. Pride in the local history is central to the school’s kaupapa.

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

1 Context

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

Tēnā koutou te kura o Selwyn Park. Tēnei rā te mihi ki te tumuaki, te poari, ngā kaiako, ngā kaimahi me ngā tamariki hoki. Tēnā hoki koutou e hāpai ana te mātauranga mō ō tātou tamariki, ki ngā teiteitanga o te ao Māori me te ao Pākehā. Ko te tūmanako, kia tū tangata ai rātou i roto i tēnei ao hurihuri mō āpōpō. Noho ora mai i raro i ngā manaakitanga o te runga rawa. Tēnā rā koutou katoa.

Selwyn Park School is located in Dargaville, situated on the bank of the Northern Wairoa River, Northland. The school continues to provide good education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school and local iwi maintain strong ties through ongoing consultation, shared local history and knowledge, tikanga, and Māori culture. Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau, and Te Roroa represent the local area.

Most of the children are Māori, with a small number of Pacific and Pākehā students also attending. Whānau are very supportive and proactive. They genuinely appreciate the school’s consultative climate and the way in which their aspirations are valued as part of the decision-making process. Parents openly affirm the languages, cultures and identities of the school community.

The school has an attractive and welcoming environment. The grounds are well maintained and feature a school vegetable garden as part of the ‘Health Promoting Schools’ initiative. The school works closely with the Tongan playgroup that operates in the whare and the local kindergarten next door. Senior students have many different tuakana/teina roles to help younger children.

The long-term experienced principal and senior leadership team lead the school collaboratively. Dedicated teachers are involved in purposeful professional learning to promote children’s success.

ERO’s 2012 review identified issues around the implementation of National Standards. These issues have been well addressed and all National Standards expectations are now implemented.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to make positive changes to the engagement, progress and achievement of Māori learners and all students.

National Standards achievement data is regularly reported to the board of trustees and to the Ministry of Education. Reports to parents clearly show progress and achievement against National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics twice a year.

Data for students shows that they achieve well in all National Standards and at levels that align well with local and national data. Information also shows that the overall achievement levels for these students continues to improve.

The senior leadership team and teachers regularly monitor school-wide student achievement. Students at risk of not achieving are identified and individual learning programmes are developed to accelerate their progress and achievement. Teachers track and monitor all students closely from new entrants to Year 6.

Teachers make overall teacher judgements about student progress and achievement against National Standards. They moderate students’ work internally. Further moderation with other schools could help teachers to further improve the reliability of teacher judgements.

Teachers benefit from regular professional development. They are currently working on raising boys’ achievement in writing. Shifts in learners’ progress are evident in writing data gathered during 2015.

Teachers reflect on their own practice mainly around target groups of learners who are at risk of not achieving. It would be beneficial to directly link this work to teacher appraisal. This link could encourage teachers to further increase their expectations for student learning, develop their capacity to reflect critically on their own practice, and enhance their responsiveness to student learning needs.

There is a positive tone in the school that supports the learning of all students. Strong relationships and connections underpin all education practices. Low staff turnover contributes to teachers knowing their students and families well. It fosters partnerships between whānau, teachers and children that help build success and confidence in learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes, supports and is responsive to student engagement, progress and achievement. Whānaungatanga and mutually respectful relationships characterise the school.

The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) values and key competencies are strongly embedded in the school’s programmes. Students receive rewards for positive participation in learning.

School leaders, in consultation with whānau, have incorporated the Ministry of Education’s document Tātaiako (Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Students) into the school curriculum. Whānaungatanga, ako, wānanga, manaakitanga, tangata whenuatanga are regularly referred to and deeply embedded throughout the curriculum.

Learning in reading, writing and mathematics is the core for morning programmes. Literacy and mathematics are usefully integrated where possible across other curriculum areas. Children are setting appropriate learning goals. Teachers could now monitor children's learning more consistently in order to help them identify their next steps.

Students’ cultural knowledge and bicultural understandings are promoted. Parents’ ideas contribute to the curriculum. Local history and tradition, as well as national and global contexts, provide authentic experiences for developing students’ understanding of tangata whenua.

Teachers are committed to ensuring that students have positive learning experiences within the local curriculum. Stimulating and rich classroom environments feature colourful displays of student work. Teachers currently use the ‘flame model’ with students as an action learning process when inquiring and investigating.

Learning through inquiry is also evident in other curriculum areas. It could be helpful to now include science and technology topics more regularly into this approach to gain full coverage of the curriculum.The senior leadership team could also review the existing gifted and talented resources to determine how effectively they promote and challenge children’s thinking.

Te reo Māori is expected in teacher practice and is becoming consistently heard and seen throughout the school. Students proudly participate in pōwhiri, with senior students leading roles for protocols such as karanga. Iwi involvement in tutoring kapa haka is appreciated by the school. Tikanga is practiced in classrooms, sports, cultural events, and in the school playground.

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

Eighty one percent of students are Māori. Many features of the school effectively promote students’ confidence as Māori and provide a sound foundation for their ongoing success. Findings in this report provide an overview of ways in which the school supports and affirms its Māori students and fosters their success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

Whanaungatanga is highly evident and effective in the school. The board has used the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) resource, Hāutu, to evaluate the school’s cultural responsiveness to Māori. This has helped trustees, senior leaders and teachers to make well informed decisions about how best to support Māori learners to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori.

NZSTA’s effective succession planning tool is also assisting the board to be proactive in its practices for recruiting and retaining of trustees.

The board and principal are looking at the new School Evaluation Indicators and other educational research-based documents to prepare for 2016. This should assist the board, senior leadership team and teachers to implement more in-depth self review for ongoing improvement.

ERO, senior leaders and the board agree that further work on helping teachers to reflect on the impact of their teaching practices would be useful. This action should help strengthen the school’s performance appraisal processes to better meet revised Education Council requirements.

The principal is an experienced leader who successfully builds trusting relationships with students, staff, parents and whānau. The school’s positive tone, inclusive culture and committed staff provide a strong foundation for sustaining and improving student learning.

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.


Selwyn Park School provides good quality education. Teachers promote positive outcomes for students. Students benefit from a broad, relevant and culturally responsive curriculum. The positive tone, strong sense of identity and high whānau engagement promote students’ wellbeing. Pride in the local history is central to the school’s kaupapa.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 February 2016

School Statistics


Dargaville, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52% Boys 48%

Ethnic composition





Cook Island Māori






Special Features

Tongan Playgroup

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

22 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

March 2010

January 2007