Sunnybrae Normal School - 20/06/2013

1 Context

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

Sunnybrae Normal School is a contributing primary school located in Hillcrest, on Auckland’s North Shore. The school is inclusive and welcoming and caters for a wide range of student needs. The school’s community is culturally diverse. As a Normal School, the school provides a partnership with universities to give student teachers a model of sound, current and effective teaching practice.

This cohesive, well organised school is focused on improvement. The school vision reflects the board’s commitment to providing students with opportunities to engage in high quality learning.

The capable senior leadership team works collaboratively with the experienced staff, many of whom have long-term affiliations with the school. The parent community is actively involved in the school’s calendar of events and contributes to the development of the school curriculum.

The school has a history of positive ERO reviews and has responded well to the recommendations of the 2010 ERO report. The development of robust self review, at all levels, has continued to enhance teacher practice, student achievement, and school leadership capability.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to make continued improvements in learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Managers and teachers have relevant data that indicates most learners are progressing and achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific students are achieving at levels similar to those of other learners. School-wide targets are set for priority groups of students who need particular additional assistance to make progress. Parents receive two written reports each year that show their children’s achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Students are actively engaged in learning programmes. They think about how they learn as well as about what they learn. Formative teaching processes support students to access their own learning. Students show how they are taking responsibility for their own learning during conferences with their parents and teachers.

The board uses achievement information to make informed decisions about resourcing, in particular for targeted priority groups and special needs provision. The coordination of learning programmes and transitions for students with high level special needs is effective and has a positive impact on students’ progress and achievement. Gifted and talented students are well catered for.

3 Curriculum

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

Sunnybrae Normal School’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning very effectively. The school curriculum is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). The school values of respect, independence, co-operation and excellence are explicitly taught and are reflected in school programmes. Students’ acquisition of key competencies is given a high priority in teaching and learning plans.

Strong collaborative teams lead the curriculum. Learning areas are integrated to maximise student learning. The teaching of literacy is aligned to the inquiry topics that are being investigated by each Year level of students. Parents are utilised as curriculum experts to support some of the inquiry investigations. E-learning is developing strongly as part of the inquiry programme. Inquiry learning is planned using a framework that supports children to be able to think and learn in depth about their areas of interest. Students develop an awareness of issues related to environmental sustainability.

Teachers are committed to continually improving their practice through professional learning and development. They reflect on their teaching so that they can identify learning strategies that work most effectively for specific groups of learners identified through school data analysis. School managers encourage teacher leadership of the curriculum.

Students are highly involved in co-curricular activities that are supported by community involvement. These include specialist arts, cultural, musical and sporting opportunities.

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

The school promotes achievement success for Māori students, who benefit from the affirming relationships that characterise the school. Effective practices for teaching and learning engage Maōri learners.

An education plan for teaching te reo Māori is being developed. Māori students extend their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Maori through integrated curriculum investigations that include aspects of te ao Māori. Students have opportunities to participate in kapa haka and perform at local festivals and community events.

A whānau group is consulted by school leaders, teachers and board of trustees about their aspirations for Māori students.

Senior leaders recognise that the school could show its commitment to biculturalism more clearly by raising the profile of te reo and tikanga Māori across the school. An increased understanding of New Zealand’s dual heritages would be of benefit to all learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Sunnybrae School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Coherent self review is centred on improving student outcomes. Perspectives are sought from leaders, staff, students and community to support internal review.

A close reciprocal relationship between principal, school leadership and board trustees ensures shared understandings of the ways in which the school is developing. Governance and board decision-making is well informed.

The long-standing, experienced principal is respected and is connected positively with the community.

Growing teacher leadership within a supportive team culture is a key aspect of school success and sustainability. The appraisal system for teachers is aligned to the improvement of student learning through individual reflection and team strategising, particularly in relation to students who are at risk of not achieving.

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 1998. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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 four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 June 2013

About the School


Hillcrest, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Other Pacific Islands












Special Features

Normal School

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

20 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

January 2007

December 2003