Spotswood Primary School - 20/05/2015


Students benefit from a broad curriculum, engage purposefully in their learning and celebrate their successes. The school’s values are promoted and enacted well throughout the school. The new principal, staff and trustees are appropriately focused on enhancing outcomes for students and have put a range of initiatives in place to raise student achievement.

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?

Spotswood Primary School is located in New Plymouth’s western suburbs and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of the review, the school roll was 319, with 37% of students who identify as Māori and 10% from Pacific nations.

A new principal was appointed in early 2015. The leadership team includes the deputy principal, team leader and two acting team leaders with an assistant principal due to start in term 3. The principal and school leaders, supported by the board of trustees, are focused on enhancing outcomes for students and have put a range of new initiatives in place.

2 Learning

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees are strengthening the ways in which they use achievement information to promote student learning and progress.

Teachers collect a wide range of assessment information about student learning. This is used to group students, identify students who require additional support and report school wide patterns of achievement to the board. The school reports that three quarters of students achieve at and above the National Standards in reading and two thirds in writing and mathematics.

Leaders have identified, and begun to put in place, improved systems and processes aimed at raising student achievement and accelerating the progress of those most at risk of underachievement. These include:

  • processes that support teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching
  • better systems for monitoring student progress and reporting to the board about annual plan targets
  • increased accountability and shared responsibility for raising student achievement.

ERO and leaders agree that a next step is to provide support for teachers to make better use of analysed assessment information to inform planning, learning and teaching inquiry. Targeted teaching should respond to the specific needs and strengths of individuals and groups of students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school is focused on further developing the curriculum to improve the quality of learning outcomes for all students.

In 2014, the school’s vision was redeveloped in consultation with the school community. ERO found the school's values of respect, perseverance, responsibility, teamwork and caring were well promoted and enacted around the school.

Teachers and leaders have developed the Spotswood National Standard goals. These clearly convey school expectations and ensure shared understandings about what students must achieve to reach the National Standards at each level. They are used as a basis for assessment and planning.

Students benefit from a broad curriculum and access to a wide range of activities, including sports and environmental education. Literacy and numeracy are appropriately prioritised. Teachers and leaders work closely with external agencies to support students’ wellbeing.

Relationships across the school are affirming, respectful and caring. Students are purposefully engaged in their learning and work cooperatively and responsibly. Teachers actively celebrate students’ learning and successes. There are very high standards of presentation both in students’ books and in classroom environments and many good examples of effective teaching practice. Teachers regularly give students useful feedback about their work. Students are able to talk about what they are learning.

ERO and leaders agree that strengthening reflection of students’ cultural backgrounds in the curriculum and increasing opportunities for students to learn through culture are next steps. This should include deliberate and regular consideration of te ao Māori as part of ongoing curriculum review and development.

Leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that curriculum review should be more in-depth. This should include guidelines and regular reviews about the implementation of curriculum learning areas. Deeper, evidence-based evaluation of the quality of the curriculum and the effectiveness of taught strategies is likely to lead to ongoing improved outcomes for students.

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

Leaders and trustees are aware of the need to explore and implement strategies that increase Māori learner success. The 2015 charter target has an appropriate focus on improving the teaching of writing for Māori boys.

Students experience aspects of Māori language and culture as part of the curriculum and they have opportunities for leadership. Teachers demonstrate commitment to developing their confidence, knowledge and use of te reo Māori.

Leaders, teachers and trustees are focused on increasing engagement with families of Māori learners. They plan to work with whānau and the Māori community to define what success as Māori means at Spotswood Primary School. ERO affirms this direction. A clear action plan will be needed to achieve this. It should include indicators to measure how well whānau and school aspirations for Māori learner success are being addressed.

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.

Trustees demonstrate good understandings of their governance roles and responsibilities. They bring a range of skills and expertise to their roles. They are visible in the school and supportive of staff. The board receives a lot of information about student achievement. There are clear guiding documents to promote ongoing school improvement.

School leaders work collegially with a strong focus on improving outcomes for students. The new principal, in collaboration with leaders and trustees, has reviewed school systems and processes. Changes have been put in place to ensure improved accountability, alignment, evaluation and clear planning for sustainable improvements. These developments include:

  • clear expectations for planning and assessment, and feedback to teachers in relation to these expectations
  • an appraisal process that is more robust, linked to the Registered Teacher Criteria and supports teachers to enhance their practice
  • increased coherence of school processes for planning, improvement, review and decision-making
  • a stronger focus on engagement, consultation and development of learning partnerships with families.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (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 was one international student attending the school. The school has good systems and processes to effectively support and monitor the learning and progress of this student.

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.

5 Conclusion

Students benefit from a broad curriculum, engage purposefully in their learning and celebrate their successes. The school’s values are promoted and enacted well throughout the school. The new principal, staff and trustees are appropriately focused on enhancing outcomes for students and have put a range of initiatives in place to raise student achievement.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

20 May 2015

About the School


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 57%, Female 43%,

Ethnic composition





Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

September 2008

October 2005