Selwyn School - 20/05/2014

1 Context

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

Selwyn School is located in the Selwyn Heights district of Rotorua at the base of Mount Ngongotahā. It caters for students from Years 1 to 6. There are currently 442 students at the school of whom 364 are Māori. Most Māori students have whakapapa connections to Ngāti Whakaue, one of the local iwi.

A new principal began in 2012. A new assistant principal and the lead teacher for promoting a Māori dimension have joined the leadership team in 2014. A major focus for the school since 2012 has been the implementation of National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori assessment frameworks. Many teachers, support staff and families have a long history with the school. The promotion of trusting and respectful relationships with parents, whānau and the wider community for the benefit of students continues to be a school strength. The board of trustees has a mixture of new and experienced members.

During 2012 and 2013, teachers have undertaken focussed professional development to improve their effectiveness as teachers of writing and mathematics. Another major focus has been developing positive relationships for learning. This is well promoted in the school via the Selwyn School/Te Kura o Herewini '3Rs' – Responsibility, Respect and Right into Learning. This focus has contributed to a settled environment which effectively promotes learning.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

The school reports that many students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics, and in Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori in pānui, kōrero, tuhituhi and pāngarau.

The school uses achievement information to set appropriate targets for raising achievement and to identify those who are at risk of not achieving. The board is provided with useful information about achievement and progress, which is used to inform resourcing decisions. A collaborative approach ensures a wide range of targeted interventions that meet the needs of priority learners, those at risk of under achieving, and those with special abilities. These programmes are regularly reviewed to ensure they effectively support student progress.

Parents receive reports of student progress and achievement twice a year. These are well supported by parent interviews where students share their learning with whānau. Parents also appreciate the school’s open door policy and the approachability of staff.

Significant progress within a short timeframe has been made in the implementation of National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori. As a result, teachers are able to make increasingly reliable judgements about student achievement. School leaders and ERO agree that teachers should continue to strengthen their use of assessment data to identify learning needs. In addition, the leadership team acknowledges that it would be beneficial for teachers to share good practice that currently exists within the school. This should strengthen overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga Rūmaki Māori assessment frameworks.

There is also a need to continue to strengthen students’ ownership, knowledge and understanding of their current learning, next steps, rate of progress and levels of achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is successful in promoting and supporting student learning.

In both the English and Māori medium sections of the school there is a strong culture of promoting positive and inclusive relationships for learning. Students and whānau benefit from an holistic approach to student wellbeing. There is a well-planned and coordinated approach for identifying and meeting the physical, emotional and social needs of students and whānau in order to support learning.

Students enjoy a wide range of opportunities to develop their leadership skills, explore their interests, and have a voice in decisions about school wide and classroom programmes. Opportunities include:

  • a sports academy and a wide range of sports teams
  • active environmental and health groups
  • school wide kapa haka
  • a ‘drop-in’ technology, art and music hub which runs during the lunch time period.

Senior leaders set clear expectations for planning and assessment. ERO observed many examples of the use of effective teaching strategies that are well informed by professional development and current best practice. Teachers are well supported with effective internal mentoring and guidance.

There is an appropriate balance between literacy/te reo matatini, mathematics/pāngarau and other learning areas. The school has identified and ERO agrees that it is now timely to review the school charter and curriculum documents. A particular focus will be to ensure there is a systematic and sequential approach to the teaching of te reo Māori, local tribal history and other Māori knowledge in the English medium section of the school.

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

Effective and inclusive leadership has developed high levels of trust and openness to building the capability of teachers in the English medium section of the school. There are authentic opportunities for Māori students to participate and contribute as tangata whenua in school and community events. Pōwhiri, karakia, hīmene and waiata are embedded in the school culture. Two teacher aides give Māori language tuition in English medium classrooms.

Teachers and leaders in the Māori medium (Rūmaki) section of the school have successfully fostered high levels of whānau engagement. They have used a high-quality process to develop a graduate learner profile and curriculum content that effectively captures the aspirations of whānau. ERO observed Rūmaki students who were confident in their identity and use of te reo Māori.

The English and Māori medium sections of the school work well together. All students at Selwyn School/Te Kura o Herewini benefit from the strengths that both sections contribute to their learning.

Senior leaders and ERO agree that it is important to:

  • review and improve resourcing for the Māori medium section
  • complete the development of the graduate learner profile and curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Selwyn School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The senior leadership team provides a strong, clear vision for school development in raising student achievement and a strategic approach to managing change. The school is benefitting from the creative use of staff and the contribution of the community in leading aspects of curriculum implementation and development.

Strong self-review processes using a range of tools have led to consolidation and improvement. Self review effectively considers whānau, staff and student views and aspirations. Teachers’ systematic inquiry into student progress and achievement is becoming embedded as an integral part of their appraisal and professional development.

The board is highly representative of the school community. Trustees work collaboratively and have a strong focus on improving outcomes for students. They are committed to up-skilling themselves through training.

Parents and whānau are effectively involved and contribute to all levels of school operations. This partnership is providing a sound foundation for sustaining and improving student learning.

Trustees and ERO agree that it is important to develop a planned and systematic approach to carrying out governance responsibilities such as using an annual work plan. The plan should include systematic policy review. In this way the board will ensure that the best interests of students continue to be their central focus.

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 three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 May 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







Special Features

3 Māori immersion classes (80-100%)

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

20 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

July 2009

August 2006

June 2002