South Auckland S D A School - 14/02/2019

School Context

South Auckland Seventh Day Adventist School (SASDA) is a faith based Christian school catering for students from Years 1 to 8. The school has a growing roll that currently consists of 350 students. Māori learners make up 12 percent of the roll, and 73 percent identify as Pacific. Of the students who identify as Pacific, 27 percent are Samoan, 25 percent Tongan, 19 percent Cook Island Māori, and a small percentage are of Niue heritage. There is an increasing number of students who are from a Filipino cultural background.

The school’s vision is that “students will be equipped by leaders embracing every opportunity to make a positive impact”. School values include family, excellence and respect, underpinned by the philosophy of ‘E tupu ora ai ngā tamariki i roto i te rangatiratanga, ka pā te aroha o te ngākau, ko te manawa o te tamaiti: Every child thriving in the Kingdom, because the heart of the child matters to us’. Valued student outcomes espoused by leaders are academic achievement, and students being confident in who they are with a strong self-awareness that is centred in God.

Since the 2015 ERO report, and in response to student achievement information, a new organisational structure has been established. The deputy principal and three of the four team leaders are new to their leadership roles. The board has a range of new and experienced trustees who are committed to serving and contributing to the SASDA School community. A new chaplain will soon be appointed.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs

  • overall progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • outcomes related to staff and student wellbeing for success

  • outcomes of faith development.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

SASDA is effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. Leaders and teachers pursue excellence for all students. A large majority of students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Student achievement information over the last three years indicates that overall there is an upward trend.

Leaders and teachers critically analyse assessment information and show in-depth knowledge about how well students achieve. They are aware that there is gender disparity, with girls performing better than boys, particularly in reading and writing. Māori learners achieve higher than other cultural groups in reading.

Leaders and teachers have a deliberate focus on successfully addressing a small disparity in achievement for Pacific students and boys’ writing. School systems, practices and personalised approaches have resulted in increasing parity for students in key learning areas.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Students:

  • reflect pride in who they are, and relate well with each other
  • demonstrate the school’s values
  • articulate a strong sense of belonging to their faith.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

Leaders and teachers are focused on accelerating learning for all students who need it. These students are identified and strategies are put in place to support them. The board sets specific targets, and monitors and scrutinises reported data to ensure accelerated progress is occurring.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported with ‘wrap around’ approaches. Good use is made of external agencies and internal expertise. Students receive quality support from well-trained support staff who provide mostly in-class learning support. Students with English as an additional language are well supported and monitored to ensure they access the curriculum and make accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

They operate well to resource and monitor student achievement and wellbeing, and to ensure that leaders and teachers are enabled to realise the vision for the school. The board receives good quality information to support decision making. The board’s trustees reflect the diverse community, and bring a variety of knowledge, skills and expertise to their governance role. They regularly consult to ensure that community aspirations are reflected in the school’s local curriculum. Consultation outcomes are shared with the community and used for strategic direction setting.

The principal and leadership team maintain strong systems for teaching and learning that prioritise equitable outcomes. They work collaboratively to develop the school’s vision, goals and targets for equitable outcomes. Leaders ensure an orderly and supportive environment promotes student learning and wellbeing. There is a strong focus on building teacher and leadership capability and collective capacity. The principal skilfully identifies and develops internal expertise for the achievement of school goals. Leaders promote trusting relationships with staff, students, parents, whānau and community.

Processes for internal evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building are systematic and coherent at all levels. There is critical evaluation, clear identification of what is working and next steps to support continued improvement. Evaluation outcomes are shared, and promote a strong sense of ownership by teachers, leaders and trustees.

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

Students have good opportunities to learn in a broad, holistic curriculum that reflects the school’s special character. Leaders are aware that further development is needed in the school’s local curriculum to further facilitate students leading their own learning.

Leaders, teachers and students have recently embarked on a curriculum that builds on students’ strengths, interests and inquiries, and promotes critical thinking. They have also started developing bicultural practices that reflect the dual heritages of Aotearoa New Zealand. Leaders agree that strengthening bicultural practices is an area for development to deepen shared understandings and engagement in te ao Māori.

Leaders have an appropriately strong focus on building teaching capabilities. SASDA, as part of its commitment to its deed of integration, often attracts overseas trained teachers and graduates from the Australian-based Adventist teacher education programme. Consequently, leaders are continuously supporting new teachers to New Zealand and newly graduated teachers to settle into a new country, and become familiar with the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and the diversity of students of Aotearoa New Zealand.

ERO recommends that trustees and leaders should continue to strategically and deliberately plan for the induction of new teachers unfamiliar with the New Zealand education context to minimise interruption to student learning.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • strong governance practices and strategic resource management and decision making

  • effective leadership underpinned by a culture of relational trust

  • systematic internal evaluation that focuses on continuous school improvement.

Next steps

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

  • further developing the school’s local curriculum to promote student inquiry, and support students to lead their own learning

  • strengthening bicultural practices to deepen shared understandings about te ao Māori

  • strategically and deliberately planning for the induction of teaching staff to minimise disruption to learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 February 2019

About the school


Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Y1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
Samoan 26%
Tongan 24%
Cook Island Māori 19%
Filipino 4%
other ethnic groups 13%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

14 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2015
Education Review October 2012
Education Review October 2009