Te Aro School - 16/05/2018

School Context

Te Aro School in central Wellington has a roll of 210 children in Years 1 to 8, and draws from a culturally diverse community. Of the learners enrolled, 42% identify as Pākehā, 13% as Māori and 10% have Pacific heritage. A significant number are English language learners. A large number of students from a range of cultures, including refugees, attend the school.

The school’s vision is for students to be curious, resourceful and resilient. This is reflected in its whakatauki: ‘Kake Tonu, Te Aro, Ever Upwards, Te Aro’. This aligns with their mission statement to provide a supportive, challenging learning environment that encourages independence through positive, inclusive teaching and learning.

There is an experienced and stable leadership team. Longstanding and newly elected members make up the board of trustees.

Teachers are regularly involved in a range of professional learning and development through external and internal initiatives to promote positive learner outcomes.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to strategic goals and targets
  • progress of those in targeted programmes
  • attendance, engagement and wellbeing. 

The school is a member of the Capital City Kāhui Ako. 

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?

Student achievement information from the end of 2017, shows that most students achieve well in reading and mathematics and a large majority achieve in writing.

Information reported by the school identifies that almost all learners who have been continually enrolled over time, achieve well across the curriculum by Year 8.

In-school disparity for Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics and for boys in literacy is an ongoing focus for improvement. 

A large number of Pacific and Asian learners successfully achieve in reading and mathematics. Raising achievement in writing for these groups is a known priority.

A significant number of children enter the school with limited or no English language. Well targeted support results in good progress for most students as they advance through their schooling.

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

There is evidence of acceleration for some students through school targets and intervention programmes. Further strengthening of school processes is required to promote acceleration for Māori across the curriculum and boys in writing to address in-school disparity.

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?

To achieve equitable outcomes, the school takes a comprehensive approach to addressing the wellbeing and learning needs of children. A wide range of systems, processes and strategies are used to identify, track and address the individual needs of students at risk of not achieving at expected curriculum levels. 

The trustees, leaders and staff have a clear vision that is strongly focused on wellbeing, valuing cultural diversity and learning. They work strategically to develop schoolwide systems, practices and processes to promote equity and excellence for all students. Purposeful consultation with the school community guides decision-making and strategic direction.

Trustees are well informed. Regular involvement in training supports them to effectively carry out their roles and responsibilities and strengthen organisational capacity. Good systems are in place for meeting statutory requirements. 

Building professional capability of staff is a strength of the school. An extensive range of professional learning and development aligned to improvement-focused appraisal and teaching as inquiry supports teachers’ development. Opportunities for regular collaborative professional conversations to purposefully discuss teaching strategies support student success.

A wide range of well-considered interventions support children’s individual learning and wellbeing. Skilled teacher aides are actively involved in class programmes and school initiatives and are valued partners in learning. External expertise is used appropriately to support children with additional needs.

A caring and inclusive community of learning, with a strong sense of belonging, is evident. The school has given priority to, and successfully developed, meaningful and respectful partnerships with families that enhance children’s wellbeing and learning. These also support effective transition into, through and out of the school.

The school is highly responsive to all students’ cultures, languages and identities. The established values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and ako provide foundations for the positive school culture. There is a strong collective response from trustees, leaders and staff to support Māori students to achieve valued outcomes determined by whānau. Mahi tahi is highly evident. Māori children experience a learning environment where they have opportunities to use their language and show leadership.

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

The school has identified the need to further develop shared understanding and use of internal evaluation to better determine the effectiveness of teaching practices, learning interventions and strategic actions on improving learner outcomes. 

Strengthening school targets to more clearly identify groups experiencing disparity is a next step. This should help the school to evaluate what has the most significant impact on accelerating the progress of these students and guide next steps for development.

The school continues to review and include new initiatives, interventions and programmes in its curriculum to be responsive to the needs of learners. It is timely to create an overarching document that provides teachers with a clear framework to support consistent practice and shared understandings. 

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 was one international student attending the school.

The few international students who enrol quickly become part of the school community. Parents often participate in school activities.

International students achieve and progress well. The specialist teacher, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), monitors and reports on academic progress and facilitates appropriate support for students’ social needs. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • strategic vision that is strongly focused on improving wellbeing and learning and valuing cultural diversity
  • a culture of collaboration among trustees, leaders, teachers and parents that focuses on continuous improvement for teaching and learning
  • leader and teacher capability that systematically responds to students’ needs, for improved outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening school targets to better identify groups experiencing disparity
  • documenting the school’s curriculum, to develop shared understandings and to support teaching and learning
  • continuing to build internal evaluation processes and practices, to better understand the impact of programmes and initiatives on acceleration and achievement for learners at risk of not achieving.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

16 May 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 57%, Female 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                  13%

Pākehā                                42%

Asian                                   18%

Pacific                                 10%

Other ethnic groups         17%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

16 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review             July 2014

Education Review             July 2011

Education Review             August 2008