Sunnybrae Normal School - 13/12/2017

School Context

Sunnybrae Normal School caters for children in Years 1 to 6. Of the approximately 430 students on the roll, nine percent are Māori and eight percent have Pacific heritage. Children with Asian heritage, mostly Chinese and Korean, comprise 40 percent of the roll. This student group has increased significantly since ERO’s 2013 external evaluation.

The school’s vision of ‘a connected community of positively engaged learners|he hapori rangitāmiro ō ngā ākonga pai whai wāhi’, is designed to support students’ confidence and involvement in their learning and wellbeing. The school’s values: respect|whakaute; independence|motuhaketanga; cooperation|pahekotanga; and excellence|hiranga, underpin this vision.

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

  • the progress of groups of priority learners in relation to school targets that are focused on raising achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • the achievement of all students in relation to the National Standards, and other learning areas

  • the quality of provision for children with additional learning needs

  • student engagement and wellbeing.

Schoolwide professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives have focused on increasing staff capability to lift achievement levels for learners who are at risk of not achieving. Culturally responsive teaching and learning practice has been integral to much of this PLD.

Sunnybrae Normal School is a part of the Pupuke (Westlake) Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL). The CoL has a focus on improving student learning and wellbeing outcomes, including strengthening pathways for learners, into and beyond school.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school is highly effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. Most students achieve National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. Māori children achieve at similar levels to the rest of the school. The school is aware that work needs to continue to accelerate the learning of some Pacific students.

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

  • are involved in their learning, and actively contribute to the life of the school

  • have a strong sense of belonging and connection to others in the school community

  • use school values to support their positive interactions with others

  • are caring of others and respect their differences.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds highly effectively to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

School targets are focused on accelerating the progress of all groups of children, including Māori and Pacific learners. Progress towards these targets is monitored by school leaders and the board. The tracking of other students who are below the National Standards shows positive shifts in achievement for the majority of these students.

Individual Pacific students are well supported to accelerate their progress. Key initiatives to overcome disparity in achievement include early intervention programmes, successful transitioning and a strategic staff appointment. These approaches are producing positive outcomes for Pacific learners. They are also benefitting other groups of learners who are at risk of not achieving.

High quality provision for children with additional needs supports them to make progress in their learning and wellbeing. Focused teaching approaches successfully respond to these students’ specific learning requirements. This positive facet of school operations has influenced and informed ways that the school provides for other groups of students whose learning requires acceleration.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has many processes and practices that are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence. High quality school leadership inquires into ways teaching and learning practice can be enhanced to cater for children’s diverse learning requirements. School leaders support staff to accelerate children’s progress, for those students who are at risk of not achieving, and for those whose learning warrants extension.

Several significant school processes contribute to students’ progress and success as learners. Teachers identify students’ strengths, interests and learning needs in order to develop acceleration plans to cater for their specific learning requirements. Effective teaching and learning practices support children to succeed, and actively contribute to their learning pathway. Teachers provide all children, from their foundation years at school, with achievement information that informs them how well they are progressing, and supports them to plan their own next learning steps. Staff knowledge of individual students helps with transitions into the school, and from one year to the next.

A broad curriculum enables children to engage and succeed at school. Programmes are well integrated, and support children’s overall learning and development. As a result of a recommendation in the 2013 ERO report, the profile of te reo and tikanga Māori across the school has been enhanced. This development has contributed to children and staff having an increased understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s dual heritages. Māori students benefit from programmes and interactions that provide opportunities for them to experience success as Māori.

The strong partnership the school has with parents, whānau and the community supports the school’s ongoing focus on improved outcomes for children. Trustees, school leaders and staff respect the aspirations of parents/whānau, and their role in their children’s success as learners. They provide good opportunities for parents to understand their children’s learning and progress.

Trustees use well-analysed and evaluated information to prioritise decision-making. They seek clarification about achievement information, and affirm actions that are focused on enabling the achievement of equity and excellence. The school’s moderation processes for assessing students’ progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics are rigorous. Teachers work collaboratively to check that their overall judgements are reliable.

Since ERO’s 2013 external evaluation, continuity in leadership and stewardship has contributed to successful ongoing school review and improvement. Evaluative practice is well developed and informs next steps for school leaders and staff, and for school direction. The board has well-considered plans to sustain the school’s high quality practices over time.

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

Ongoing refinement of the school’s curriculum will contribute to an enhancement of current very good practices. The refreshed school curriculum could provide increased opportunities for students to construct knowledge, make meaning, and apply understandings to everyday situations.

Consistent with very good evaluative practices school-wide, the board could evaluate how well its own operations support the school’s ongoing efforts to strengthen its cultural responsiveness in relation to different groups of students and their families.

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 theEducation (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 two international students attending the school.

Sunnybrae Normal School has high quality systems to maintain the quality of both education and pastoral care for international students. Their achievement and progress are well monitored. International students are well integrated into the educational, community and cultural experiences offered by the school.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative leadership that supports equity and excellence for all learners and provides the means to accelerate the progress of children who are at risk of not achieving

  • connections and partnerships with parents, whānau and community that are focused on improving children’s learning and wellbeing

  • processes that support teachers to inquire into, and adapt their practice to cater for children’s diverse learning requirements.

Next steps

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

  • embedding a school curriculum that enhances students’ identity and builds on their capabilities and interests

  • enhancing evaluation processes at all levels to support all learners who are at risk of not achieving.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

13 December 2017

About the school


Hillcrest, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Indian/Sri Lankan
Middle Eastern
other Pacific
other Asian
other ethnicities


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

13 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

May 2013
May 2010
January 2007