Snells Beach Primary School - 30/05/2014

1 Context

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

Snells Beach Primary School is situated in the semi-rural community of Snells Beach on the Mahurangi peninsula. It is near the township of Warkworth, north of Auckland.

Twelve percent of the schools’ students identify as Māori. Ngāti Wai is the local iwi and Ngāti Manuhiri the hapu. A close learning partnership has been developed between the school and the local Māori community. The wider community is positively involved in the school.

The school caters for students from Years 1 to 6 and Year levels work together in well resourced modern learning environments. The school’s eco-friendly buildings were purpose-built in 2009 and are set in a spacious landscape of native plants and wide green areas. Children benefit from the school’s educational focus on wetlands. The school’s native bush is designed and maintained to attract and support large numbers of birds and other species. Each teaching block is named after a native tree and has a native bird as its iconic symbol.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the newly elected board of trustees has worked constructively to plan the school's development. Trustees bring business and professional expertise to their governance role.

The 2011 ERO review highlighted the successful establishment of this new school. This report notes the school's ongoing and positive development.

2 Learning

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

Snells Beach Primary School uses achievement information positively to make changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

School leaders and teachers analyse student achievement data and make reliable judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards. They also make use of the Ministry of Education’s public achievement data to assist with their analysis.

Students who have not reached National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics get additional learning assistance from teachers. Students with special learning needs are well supported within the school’s culture of caring respectfully for others. The board of trustees is well informed about student achievement.

Teachers consistently help students to understand their next learning steps. Students use criteria and other expectations to assess their own achievement and learning progress. In student-teacher-parent conferences children are able to talk about their progress towards their learning goals.

The school recognises that it needs to do more to promote success for its Māori and Pacific learners. This will be addressed through more specifically targeted teaching strategies and plans.

Trustees, school leaders and ERO agree that the quality of learning could be further enhanced through:

  • strengthening the school’s capacity to evaluate the impact of its strategies and programmes for improving student learning.
  • continuing to review the reporting format against National Standards so that parents can better understand children’s learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively.

The school has a calm, settled and purposeful tone. Learning programmes reflect student perspectives and views. The school’s inclusive culture has a strong and positive influence on the wellbeing of children.

The school’s curriculum is designed around the foundation skills of numeracy and literacy. The curriculum reflects the community’s views about providing children with a values-based education. The school’s deeply embedded values are connected to living and learning experiences that are authentic and meaningful for 21st century learners.

Children's social development through key competencies is another strong feature of the school's curriculum. Co-operation and collaboration are considered to be essential strengths to learn. These skills and competencies are successfully promoted through classroom programmes.

Students benefit from the focus on ecological sustainability that characterises the curriculum. Children learn about the strong historical iwi links to the sustainability issues of the local environment. In addition, local Māori iwi and hapu are involved in supporting Māori students’ cultural identity. They are helping children throughout the school to learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa.

The school's curriculum effectively links learning areas and is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. Children have opportunities to choose what they want to learn. They are also learning how to conduct their own learning inquiries. The digital resources in classrooms support this approach to learning. Children work with ease and familiarity in this context. Teachers have an effective range of teaching approaches and strategies which enhance this inquiry learning approach in classrooms across the school.

Children enjoy numerous opportunities to become responsible leaders. Student-led activities and events promote frequent celebrations and fun.

School leaders and teachers work within a professional learning culture and are engaged in educational networks and cluster groups. Relevant and recent educational theories are part of the school's and community’s strategic visioning. School leaders could consider linking some staff performance goals to the strategic goals in the school’s charter.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori as Māori very effectively. The commitment of the school principal and the leadership team to this aspect of school development is outstanding.

Meaningful relationships are being established between the school and the Māori community to develop a shared vision for raising Māori student achievement. A Māori Education Plan is being developed.

The school’s partnership with the Māori community is supporting professional development for teachers to help them promote Māori student success. Māori children acknowledge the support and encouragement they receive from staff and are proudly aware of their identity as Māori.

The board of trustees is very committed to promoting the Māori dimension of the school.

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 board of trustees works positively with the senior leadership team.

The principal challenges staff to be innovative and focuses on the development of high quality, educational practice. Teachers work together in professional learning groups. These groups consider different aspects of the school vision in order to make plans and decisions that will benefit students.

Leadership is shared and expertise from within the school is encouraged. School organisation, systems and operations are well documented. This supports the sustainability and consistency of school initiatives.

At the time of this review, the board of trustees and school leaders were using a range of self-review practices. Self review would be improved by more in-depth evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of the school’s strategies for improving outcomes for children. More input into self review from a broader range of stakeholders could also enrich this process.

In particular, the board should improve the way that it reviews school performance and student learning outcomes in relation to its annual goals in the school charter.

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

30 May 2014

About the School


Snells Beach, Rodney District

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52%

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā




other Pacific









Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

30 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011