Sylvia Park School - 22/12/2014


Sylvia Park School provides high quality education for students in Years 1 to 8. This is a dynamic and successful school with a well-designed curriculum, and high levels of collaboration between students, whānau, teachers and leaders. Effective school leadership maintains and extends the school’s very good performance.

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

1 Context

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

Sylvia Park School in Mt Wellington provides high quality education for students in Years 1 to 8. School leaders have maintained and extended the school’s very good performance. This is a dynamic and successful school that features high levels of collaboration between students, whānau, teachers and leaders.

The school enacts its vision to empower students to stand tall and be proud. Students are clearly at the centre of adults’ decision making. Trustees are experienced and are representative of the community. They work in partnership with the senior leadership team. New leadership structures are being developed as the roll continues to expand.

Since the last ERO review in 2010, the school has created whānau groups. They begin in Kowhai (Years 1 and 2) and progress to Pohutakawa (Year 3) and then Te Manawa (Years 4, 5 and 6). In Years 7 and 8, they enter Te Roopu o nga Manukura with high expectations for leading their learning and service to others.

New student and teacher leadership roles have been created through the establishment of each school whānau. Students and teachers have also collaborated to create their own identities within their whānau. At the same time they have retained a strong sense of loyalty to the school as a whole.

Te Puna Waiora, the school's bilingual whānau, has recently changed from a full immersion to a partial bilingual programme. After a thoughtful consultation process with whānau, the revised approach now offers Māori students a programme that supports their language, culture and identity and yet is also able to be assessed in English.

The school has continued to develop and consolidate their successful Mutukaroa partnership programme with whānau. Key school leaders now lead educational initiatives aimed at developing this partnership approach in other schools, locally, nationally and internationally.

2 Learning

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

School leaders monitor and evaluate students’ progress and achievement very effectively. They analyse achievement information and know how well groups of students and individuals progress over time. Leaders and teachers are well informed by educational research and they work collaboratively to enhance student learning.

Leaders prioritise the urgency for teachers to support students not achieving sufficiently to make accelerated progress. Teachers use achievement information well to evaluate student progress. Students also closely and clearly monitor their own work, taking responsibility for their progress.

National Standards are being well implemented. High quality and robust processes are evident. These systems ensure that, despite fluctuations in patterns and trends, the school has very good quality information to help teachers to meet students’ individual learning needs. Current school data compares well locally and nationally in reading and writing and locally in mathematics.

Equitable outcomes are evident for diverse groups of learners. The school finds ways to embrace the language, culture and identity of students to enhance their learning outcomes. Students with additional learning requirements receive very good support from caring and well trained staff. Further reporting on the success of these programmes would provide the board with good information about such initiatives.

Students’ enjoyment and understanding about their learning is also highly evident. They thrive on the school’s culture of high expectations and inquiry. Students’ aspirations and ambitions are valued and they are empowered to achieve them. As a result, students show a strong sense of belonging and pride in their school. They are self managing learners and highly engaged in learning.

Close relationships between the school and its community benefit students’ learning. Transition into and through the school is highly effective. Mutukaroa, the school’s partnership programme, begins at enrolment. Teachers work closely with families to develop and review personalised learning plans throughout students’ time at the school.

Useful achievement information underpins learning conferences with families and students. Whānau know how well their child is achieving and how they can help them achieve their learning goals. Sharing responsibility for student learning is an integral part of the school’s kaupapa,

Overall, trustees use student achievement information very effectively to inform planning and decision making. Challenging targets focus on promoting student learning and realising student potential. Other self-review information is also used well by trustees and leaders to review resourcing decisions and respond quickly to learners’ requirements.

3 Curriculum

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

Sylvia Park School’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. It is very well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and enhances students’ key learning competencies.

The inquiry-based curriculum is well designed and innovative. Students report that the curriculum is interesting and enables them to develop skills and to make connections across learning areas. The inquiry process integrates literacy and mathematics, across curriculum areas. High quality arts programmes are also valued by students. They benefit from a wide range of opportunities to be physically active and enjoy their new, challenging playgrounds.

The curriculum continues to be broad, holistic and affirming of students’ cultural identities and heritages. Pacific and Māori contexts are very evident. The curriculum emphasises inclusive practices, affirming students’ wellbeing and promoting students’ empathy for others.

Students are challenged and inspired by meaningful, open-ended inquiries that provide a clear purpose to their learning. They have opportunities to contribute to the design of learning experiences. Students demonstrate a strong sense of social justice and respect for environmental sustainability.

The school’s learning environments are adapted to suit student learning preferences, interests and needs. Thoughtful use of technologies enhances learning opportunities and supports students to be self-managing learners. Classrooms are well resourced, vibrant places for student learning. School leaders are considering ways to reinstate a library space as they manage roll growth.

Teachers share decision-making with students and support student exploration in their learning. They are highly professional educators who work collaboratively together. Skilled support staff work closely with teachers in complementary ways to support student learning.

High quality teaching practices are evident throughout the school. Leaders and teachers have a shared understanding of effective teaching practices. An integral part of teachers’ effective practice is their active inquiry and a determination to continually improve their teaching. Comprehensive performance management processes promote teacher reflection and development.

ERO and school leaders agree that the school could review its mission and vision statements, aligning these with the school’s future focus. Strengthening career education in the senior school and supporting teacher’s ongoing learning and use of te reo Māori in the mainstream would also further benefit student learning.

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

Educational success as Māori is very well supported and promoted. The kaupapa of the school is strongly bicultural and Māori students benefit from this approach. The school has a well-developed kawa and deep understanding of tikanga Māori that is a part of regular school practice.

A range of opportunities are available for Māori students to explore their language, culture and identity. Bilingual learning opportunities gained through Te Puna Waiora result in Māori students who are confident and demonstrate high aspirations for their success. Ongoing consultation with whānau is appropriately planned to evaluate the recent changes from immersion to bilingual education.

Māori students in the mainstream benefit from a curriculum and a school culture that affirms their identity. Māori students achieve well and school leaders place a high priority on ensuring positive outcomes form Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Sylvia Park School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Self review is well developed and used to continually improve outcomes for students.

Highly effective and committed professional leaders serve the school community well. They continue to promote teacher leadership and development to benefit student learning. Other significant strengths of this school include:

  • a school culture which affirms whakawhānaungatanga, manaakitanga and kōtahitanga
  • a student-centred philosophy that is implemented through strong school management systems
  • experienced, well-informed and capable trustees
  • cutting-edge professional learning, based on highly effective practices, that is clearly building teaching capacity.

The school has highly developed reciprocal partnerships with educational and research-based organisations. School leaders’ high visibility in the educational community is increasing external demand for their time. It would be useful for the board to consider more formal ways of supporting leaders to manage the complex demands of their roles, while reducing any impact their new roles could have on staff wellbeing.

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.


Sylvia Park School provides high quality education for students in Years 1 to 8. This is a dynamic and successful school with a well-designed curriculum, and high levels of collaboration between students, whānau, teachers and leaders. Effective school leadership maintains and extends the school’s very good performance.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 December 2014

About the School


Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Cook Island Māori




South East Asian












Special Features

Bilingual unit: Te Puna Waiora

Two satellite classes of Somerville School

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

22 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

June 2006

ERO has also published an exemplar report on Sylvia Park School: Exemplar Review - Sylvia Park School - June 2018