Upper Moutere School - 03/07/2012

1 Context

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

Upper Moutere School, situated in a small historic village in rural Nelson, provides high quality education for students from Years 1 to 8. It features New Zealand’s oldest existing classroom. This is put to good use as an additional teaching space for supporting identified groups of students. The school and community have a strong partnership. There is a positive reporting history with ERO.

The collaborative vision and values are clearly expressed through ‘learning lights’ that provide a meaningful focus for the whole school. These are demonstrated through respectful relationships between teachers and students. Learners are confident and creative and show pride in the school.

Stability in leadership, staffing and at board level contributes to the continual ‘strive for excellence’. Professional development is well resourced for all staff. The principal and teachers regularly participate in professional discussion, critique their teaching practice and observe models of effective teaching. This has a positive influence on teaching and learning.

2 Learning

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

Students are highly engaged in productive learning environments. They work cooperatively and are focused and motivated to achieve. Students knowledgeably discuss their learning, the purpose of their work, how they are achieving and their next learning steps. They demonstrate strong sense of ownership of their learning, set goals and regularly reflect on progress.

The school reports that most students achieve at or above, in relation to the National Standards, in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement data is thoroughly interrogated to identify school-wide priorities. Student achievement targets related to National Standards are based on this well-analysed data. Progress is regularly reported to trustees.

Students who identify as Māori make up 6% of the school roll. The school reports that the majority achieve at or above National Standards expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement information shows these students made good progress in 2011 with a significant proportion making accelerated progress.

Students identified as achieving below expectations are effectively supported through a range of programmes, innovative use of staffing and generous resourcing by the board. Teachers use data to plan for individual and group needs and identify strategies to raise the achievement of target students within their classroom programmes. In 2011, many of these students made significant progress in mathematics, moving from well below to achieve at expectations.

A Special Education Needs Coordinator works closely with teachers and support staff to plan and implement individual programmes and record, track and monitor target students’ progress. This information has yet to be fully reported to the trustees to enable them to evaluate the success of their resourcing.

The whole school community works together to support the success and progress of all students. Practices and resources are continually reviewed and reallocated to best meet students’ needs. Outcomes of assessment are shared with students and used to set individual learning goals. Strategies are shared with parents so they can support their child with these at home. Progress is celebrated and reported to parents at student-led conferences twice a year.

3 Curriculum

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

The Upper Moutere School curriculum design is highly focused on students and responsive to their interests. There are clear links to the vision, values and 'learning lights' and the rich local geographical and historical perspectives, including Māori, are celebrated and reflected. The integrated approach is well used for inquiry learning. This emphasises the importance of students seeing the relevance of their learning and making connections with their prior knowledge and experiences.

The broad curriculum provides good opportunities for the creative arts, sports and thinking skills alongside reading, writing and mathematics. Benchmarks have been established in most learning areas. The curriculum identifies effective teaching practices, planning expectations, and assessment, implementation and reporting overviews.

Many effective teaching practices are evident in classrooms, and these are clearly focused on developing independent and successful learners. Practices include:

  • discussing success criteria with students, modelling good practice and giving clear, specific written and oral feedback
  • using good questioning techniques to promote thinking, recall, and develop understanding
  • high-quality class descriptions that provide comment on achievement, progress and strategies to accelerate progress to inform teaching and learning
  • planning that incorporates targeted teaching, deliberate grouping of students and appropriate and relevant learning tasks
  • using e-learning effectively as a tool to engage students.

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

Since the April 2009 ERO report teachers have undertaken professional development to build their confidence in te reo Māori. As a result of consultation with Māori whānau, kapa haka is now inclusive across the school.

A sound draft plan has been developed to increase effective teaching and learning and to promote higher levels of achievement specifically for Māori students. This plan is in the early stages of implementation and is being used for ongoing review and development during 2012. The school has identified that success as Māori is a priority focus for development and review and in 2012 all teachers have related appraisal goals. The embedding of all aspects of the plan is highly likely to raise the profile of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori across the school and further promote success of Māori students as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

High-quality self review drives a culture of continuous improvement and development at all levels of the school community. This is appropriately informed by student achievement data, the outcomes of consultation and relevant research. The process identifies next steps for development and implementation. These priorities are generously resourced to enable achievement of the set goals. A well-developed cycle of review is established and followed.

The charter, strategic and annual plans are clearly aligned. They provide clear direction for all school operations and a strong basis for ongoing self review. A comprehensive self appraisal of the board structure and function enabled trustees to identify strategies for improved performance. Succession planning provides for continuity of knowledge and leadership.

The principal effectively leads and promotes an inclusive, consultative and collegial team approach. The leadership structure has been widened to make the most of staff strengths. A sound appraisal system is well implemented and linked to school-wide targets. Teaching is observed and the regular, constructive feedback and feedforward informs reflection and improvement. School leaders are considering ways to strengthen aspects of this process. High levels of professional development are accessed to support ongoing practice.

Inquiry into teaching practice is deliberate and embedded in the culture of the teaching team. This has been fostered through participation in the Moutere Hills Cluster professional learning networks for the principal and all teachers. This contributes to positive outcomes for teaching and 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.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

3 July 2012

About the School


Upper Moutere, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

April 2012

Date of this report

3 July 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2009

May 2006

December 2002