Spotswood Primary School - 11/12/2018

School Context

Spotswood Primary School, in New Plymouth, has students in Years 1 to 6. Of the 321 students attending, 37% identify as Māori.

The school states that its vision is: Me ako tātou – Learning for all. It aims to create a school culture where all are supported to learn in an inclusive and supportive environment.

The school’s values of: Aroha, Korero and Ora (Ako), have recently been reviewed. These guide all areas of operation. Achievement in all areas of the curriculum is a valued expectation for all students.

Current goals and targets for improvement in student outcomes are linked to consistency of teaching leading to improved outcomes in writing; support for student wellbeing; and student attendance. The key achievement target is to have the majority of children writing at or above their age level.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • school culture and curriculum enrichment opportunities

  • wellbeing and attendance.

There have been several changes in staffing since the May 2015 ERO review. Five new teachers have been appointed with two of these in senior leadership positions.

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?

School leaders report that in 2017, most students achieved at or above school expectations in reading, with a large majority of students achieving in writing and mathematics. Girls achieve at slightly higher levels than boys in reading and writing, with boys achieving marginally better in mathematics. Māori learners achieve at higher levels than others in the school in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has yet to get Pacific student achievement to the same level as that of their school peers.

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

Most students make expected progress and the 2017 mathematics and writing data indicates acceleration for some students.

The school continues to work to implement effective practices and processes to address the equity of outcomes for all learners. This is reflected through their deliberate actions and strategic goals that focus on ongoing improvement. Tracking of student achievement for individual students is developing. The school has recently looked at the achievement of cohorts of students over time and is investigating reasons for the patterns found and identifying actions to address these.

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?

Leaders provide leadership that effectively promotes a supportive environment conducive to student learning and wellbeing. Well-considered systems and processes are in place to guide teacher practice and promote student wellbeing. School Ako values are highly evident and influence design and delivery of the school curriculum. Students experience learning environments that are warm, caring and inclusive of all. Those requiring additional support to achieve at the appropriate curriculum level are given additional opportunities over time to revisit and consolidate learning.

A focus on the success of Māori students as Māori has been identified as an important factor influencing curriculum development. The school’s local curriculum, built around the school’s pepeha, provides meaningful learning contexts. This acknowledges and incorporates places and history of significance to Māori, the region and the school community.

Students with complex additional needs participate in specifically designed learning opportunities, with appropriate support. Each student has an individual educational programme and personalised goals that are regularly reviewed. For other students with additional needs, areas requiring additional support are appropriately identified and suitably planned for. External agency support is accessed through the Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour network and other relevant agencies as required.

Change is well considered and implemented in a coherent manner. Effectiveness of actions leading to school improvement have been strengthened through clear alignment of practices and processes to support school priorities. A positive team culture has been established. Relational trust and collaboration across teams is strongly evident.

A strategic and coherent approach to build and support teachers’ capability is in place. The appraisal process is effectively implemented. Developmental goals are purposefully aligned to schoolwide strategic priorities focused on raising student achievement. Teachers’ leadership capacity is deliberately developed. Teachers regularly share and discuss student achievement, wellbeing and effective practice. They participate in professional learning opportunities related to the school’s strategic priorities.

Trustees are improvement focused and strategic priorities guide their work and decision making. They work well with the principal to pursue the school’s vision, implement the revised values and set the strategic direction of the school. Progress towards goals is formally monitored and regularly reported to the board by the principal.

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

As key to raising overall student achievement, leaders have identified and are implementing strategies for the following: improved assessment, moderation practices and consistency of teaching; learning and behaviour management; increased whānau involvement in their children’s learning; and upholding the culture, language and identity of students. Leaders should continue to work with teachers to build their understanding of the purpose and implementation of inquiry that is effective, evidence-based and focused on improving teacher effectiveness in relation to these school priorities.

Through review, trustees and senior leaders have identified several priorities to further support student success. These include: staff capacity to deliver the Māori focus within the curriculum; processes to better support students as they transition into school; raising Pacific students’ achievement; and the development of programmes of learning that involve greater use of digital platforms and technologies to support learning. To identify key steps for implementation and measure the progress and impact of developments on learner outcomes, the board and leaders should clearly define desired outcomes.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were four international students attending the school.

The school uses sound processes to monitor the provision of pastoral care, accommodation, English language learning and the appropriateness of learning programmes for international students.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • stewardship and leadership that support the implementation of well-considered change in a coherent manner

  • creating a positive and respectful learning environment that supports students’ engagement, culture and learning

  • building teacher professional practice that supports them to achieve positive outcomes for learners.

Next steps

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

  • enhancing internal evaluation to better measure the impact of programmes and initiatives on improving student outcomes

  • further building teachers’ understanding of inquiry to inform their practice

  • implementing strategies to strengthen school-identified priorities to better support students and student agency.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

11 December 2018

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 37%
Pākehā 52%
Pacific 7%
Other ethnic groups 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

11 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review August 2011
Education Review September 2008