Upper Harbour Primary School - 15/08/2016

1 Context

Upper Harbour School celebrated its 10th year of opening at the beginning of 2016. Trusting relationships and partnerships between staff, children and whānau continue to play a key role in supporting children's progress and development. The cultural diversity of families brings a richness to the school and wider community. A new leadership structure has created opportunities to grow teacher's individual leadership capability and to extend leadership capacity within the school. At the time of the evaluation new trustees were being appointed to the Board.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are captured in the school's vision: 'connect, climb and create'. The schools mission, 'sharing the journey,' and vision align well with the values and principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. An emphasis on restorative practices and fostering optimal learning conditions link closely to the school's values of resilience, manaakitanga and a growth mind set.

The school’s achievement information shows that around 90 percent of all children, consistently achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and Mathematics with Māori and Pacific, historically having similar achievement.

It continues to support its Māori learners through the creation of the Ngā Kākano group, with the intention of connecting these children to each other in order to better know themselves and their cultural whakapapa. This groups therefore affirms and enriches their language, and sense of themselves as capable, confident learners. Children in the group report positively on the impact of this initiative. Senior leaders now plan to use the Ngā Kākano model to celebrate and more overtly recognise the cultural diversity of children within the school.

There is a strong commitment to supporting learners whose learning and achievement needs accelerating. Good systems and processes are used to identify these children, with leaders and teachers across the school demonstrating a collective knowledge of, and accountability for, improving their educational success.

The school uses the internal expertise of teachers well to build whole-school understandings of effective teaching strategies. The senior leadership team continues to provide well considered professional development to further build staff capability to evaluate their teaching practices and identify those strategies that are most helpful in promoting children's learning.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • restructured management approaches to further distribute and build leadership skills at all levels of the school with a view to strengthening its capacity for sustained and ongoing improvement in outcomes for children
  • established whānau class groupings to foster tuakana-teina relationships and promote a sense of family, collaboration, and understanding of one another's needs, strengths and aspirations
  • introduced the "fast track zone' classroom and specialised teaching and learning in 2016 to accelerate the learning and achievement of children who are at risk of underachieving.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds very well to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Effective systems and evidence-based teaching strategies are in place for accelerating progress for these children, including those for whom English is not a first language. There is a shared understanding across the staff about the need for urgency in bringing about acceleration to improve their learning outcomes. Personalised action plans inform how the school coordinates support for children with special learning needs.

Achievement information gathered by the school shows it is well able to notice, recognise and respond to the needs of these children. Senior leaders are now planning to access additional external professional development that complements its use of internal expertise to further strengthen its capacity in this area.

The board of trustees receives regular information about the progress of priority learning groups. The introduction of the 'fast track zone' helps with the strategic allocation of resources to support school-wide and classroom programmes aimed at meeting the needs of identified individuals and groups of children. School support staff also serve as a valuable resource to support children who require additional learning support. Trustees agree that more frequent reporting about the progress and achievement of these learners would further enable them to provide targeted resourcing.

Children are kept informed about their progress and set goals for improvement with their classroom teachers and specialist teachers. Leaders and teachers meet regularly with children whose learning need acceleration and their families. The school continues to develop and strengthen the sound foundations it has laid for helping students to be well informed about their progress towards achieving their goals and next steps for improving their learning.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices promote the school's vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence very well.

Teachers plan collaboratively and personalise learning to meet individual children's learning needs. A variety of leadership teams come together to design a broad curriculum that is responsive to children's strengths, interests and needs. Leaders have ready access to achievement data to monitor individual progress and have developed sound internal evaluation processes for guiding ongoing curriculum development and other school improvement initiatives.

Children are immersed in a learning environment that recognises them as capable learners. Teachers and school leaders set high expectations for their progress and achievement. They benefit from a vibrant and learning-focused school culture that supports diversity and flexibility in children's learning pathways.

Students are encouraged to take an active role in leading their own learning. Individual learning maps and goals are developed with them throughout the year. Student-led conferences provide opportunities for children to share their learning with parents and whānau. Parents receive clear and useful information about their child's progress and achievement. The school's online platform enables children, parents and teachers to work together with greater collaboration and transparency to support children's learning and wellbeing.

Opportunities for parents, whānau and community to be involved in children's learning is actively promoted. Senior leaders are bringing the wider community into the school and taking the children out into the wider community. This is providing children with opportunities to progress their learning in settings that encourage innovation and the development of their planning, leadership and other self‑management skills and abilities.

Effective governance is evident. The board seeks external training to support its governance role. Trustees have a trusting and positive working relationship with the principal. They work in strategic and responsive ways to bring about positive outcomes for students, helping to ensure that the school has effective systems for providing a supportive and caring environment for children and adults.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:  

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Upper Harbour School is well placed to sustain the current good practices that promote equitable and excellent outcomes for children. A strategic and coherent leadership, management and governance approaches are strongly aligned with the school's vision, values and priorities.

The school's charter and annual plans are integral to developmental and review work. Parents contribute in many and various ways to help inform the current and future direction of the school. This collaborative and inclusive decision making approach enables and sustains ongoing improvement and learning.

ERO and senior leaders have identified relevant priorities for future development. They include:

  • deepening evaluative thinking to more strongly focus on outcomes for children and associated implications for teaching and learning
  • exploring further ways in which children's capability as leaders can be fostered to inform and enhance their learning.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to progress its strategic focus on bringing about equity and excellence in outcomes for all children through the continued strengthening of its internal evaluation capacity and capability. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

15 August 2016

About the school 


Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       54%
Boys      46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā/NZ European
other European
other South East Asian


Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

15 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review

February 2012
November 2008