Upper Harbour Primary School - 22/02/2012

1 Context

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

Upper Harbour Primary School, in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore, opened in February 2006 and was first reviewed by ERO in 2008. The school serves as a hub for its growing diverse community of new migrants and established families. A large variety of cultures are represented in the school and more than thirty percent of the students speak more than one language.

New families are welcomed and acknowledged and children are supported to make effective transitions into the school. Teachers develop purposeful and engaging relationships with students and their families. All students have opportunities to learn and achieve alongside their peers in an inclusive culture of trust and respect. A wide range of academic, cultural, sporting, music and arts opportunities enables students to experience success and helps to give them a sense of pride and identity in their school.

The principal, with a new leadership structure of two new deputy principals and three team leaders, provides the school with strategic leadership. The leadership team has a collective responsibility for the school and has direct oversight of all school operations. The team is focused on developing the professional strengths of teachers and improving student achievement. The culture of the school is growing from the vitality and energy of trustees and staff and the school's philosophy of "Sharing the Journey" is an important touchstone. As a result, innovative teaching practices engage students in their learning.

Good governance practices support the provision of targeted staffing and resourcing and appropriate property management. The board’s decision making is focused on improving achievement for all students.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are actively engaged in their learning, make very good progress, and their achievement levels are high. Many students achieve in reading, writing and mathematics at levels that are above the National Standards. They talk about their learning with confidence and an evident sense of ownership.

Teachers are well supported to work with the National Standards. They use a variety of assessment and observation strategies to form judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. Their overall judgements are moderated within the school and are reported clearly to parents.

Teachers use achievement information effectively to plan classroom programmes, identify target students, and accelerate their learning. Classroom environments are developed so that they support students’ learning and celebrate their achievement. Students enjoy positive relationships with each other and with staff.

The school’s culture is one of inclusion. Teachers respond well to the diversity of learners, using a range of appropriate approaches. Students who achieve below the National Standards are well supported through precision teaching, targeted programmes and specialist staff. These students make accelerated progress and have opportunities to share their thinking and to learn alongside their peers.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students make up four percent of the school roll. The board is assured that Māori students are engaging, progressing and achieving well. Levels of achievement for Māori learners are similar to those of their peers.

Māori student achievement is analysed and students’ strengths and next steps for learning are identified. Students set learning goals and parents and whānau are involved in decisions about their children’s learning and educational pathways.

School leaders and the board have a good understanding of the importance of Māori students achieving well in their learning and experiencing success as Māori. Senior leaders and the board plan, through the school’s kaupapa of partnership, participation and protection, to make greater use of the Māori voice, including that of students, parents and whānau so that they actively participate in decision making about the ongoing direction of the school.

3 Curriculum

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

Upper Harbour Primary School’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The leadership team and staff, with input from parents and whānau, continue to develop a curriculum that is evolving, responsive and flexible. Significant elements of the school curriculum design include:

  • a strong foundation based on the principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • an inquiry approach to learning that provides a wide range of opportunities for students to investigate their ideas in meaningful contexts
  • skilled use of information and communication technologies (ICT) that enable students to extend their learning in the local and global communities.

Students have a range of opportunities for leadership. These include supporting new students to settle into school, peer mediation, student-led initiatives, and taking leadership roles in school assemblies. Students are confident communicators and active participants in learning.

The curriculum is underpinned by effective teaching practice. Teachers use student progress and achievement information to evaluate their teaching and make changes to their practice to improve outcomes for students.

Senior leaders work collaboratively with teachers so that they continually refine and improve strategies for school-wide teaching and learning. They have established an environment in which teachers are confident to try innovative teaching practices to stimulate and motivate students. They also plan to increase opportunities for parents and students to participate in designing and reviewing the academic and social aspects of the school’s curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Upper Harbour Primary School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The strengths of school leadership include:

  • a responsive and evolving educational vision that is well planned and is informed by student achievement
  • a culture of high expectations for students and staff
  • collaborative approaches to building leadership capacity, professional learning , self review, planning and programme implementation
  • innovative and effective systems for critique and self review.

The board of trustees and leadership team take collective responsibility for promoting a school focus on engaging students in stimulating and challenging high quality learning opportunities. They use self-review information to determine areas of focus and development in the school and to monitor progress and success of initiatives. They make informed decisions and set targets for on-going improvement based on high quality information about student progress and achievement.

Teachers are well resourced to deliver high quality education in classrooms. Collaborative inquiry and appraisal processes enable teachers to reflect on the impact of their teaching practices on student learning.

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
  • 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.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

22 February 2012

About the School


Albany, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Middle Eastern


Other Asian

Other European















Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

22 February 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2008