Waikowhai Intermediate - 25/04/2014

1 Context

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

Waikowhai Intermediate caters for students in Years 7 and 8. It is situated in Mt Roskill and the school uses some of the public grounds in the adjacent Sir Keith Hay Park. Students come from a wide geographical area; many are bilingual and come from diverse multi-ethnic backgrounds.

The school hosts a satellite class from the Carlson School (Cerebral Palsy) and provides facilities for a Gifted Kids programme, which some of school’s students attend.

Students do most of their learning in their home rooms. They also have access to specialist teaching and purpose built classrooms for science and subjects such as technology and the Arts. One day a week, students have opportunities to pursue areas of special interest to them.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. Many staff are long serving and dedicated intermediate school specialists. They understand the significance and challenges associated with adolescence. Teachers have a positive approach to student management.

Teacher professional development is ongoing and is currently focused on writing, inquiry learning and integrating specialised subjects into homeroom programmes.

Since the previous ERO review in 2010, the library has been rebuilt and the school’s information and communication technology infrastructure has been improved. Senior leaders are considering how enhancing e-learning approaches and having students use portable devices might help modernise learning environments.

2 Learning

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

The school effectively uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement. Students are well engaged in school life and value opportunities to engage in a range of student leadership opportunities. The well organised classrooms and clear expectations for student behaviour support a settled school tone.

Very effective data tracking systems have been developed to closely monitor student progress and success. Student achievement information shows that while some students are below national standards in reading, writing and mathematics, their rates of progress are beginning to accelerate. Māori students succeed at levels above other groups in the school. It would now be useful for the school to set more specific achievement targets to continue to support their achievement.

Pacific students’ achievement is now consistent with national levels of Pacific achievement. However, Pacific boys’ achievement in mathematics and writing remains a concern. School leaders are well placed to deepen their analysis of successes and to evaluate achievement patterns and trends over time. Documenting approaches that are proving most successful for teaching writing is underway.

The board funds specialised reading and language programmes for over half the school. Teachers are expected to build on these programmes through their classroom planning. There is some evidence that these initiatives are helping students succeed. The board and school leaders should now:

  • comprehensively review the sustainability and success of this approach
  • strengthen teaching practice so that teachers can meet students’ specific learning needs in their homeroom programme
  • evaluate how well the content of teaching programmes connects with the learning in the classroom.

Teachers use achievement information well to target the learning needs of groups of students and individuals. Students with additional learning needs, including gifted and talented students receive good support. Teachers, students, families and other specialists work together to set individual goals aimed at promoting each of these student’s wellbeing and achievement.

Teachers have implemented national standards well. Robust achievement information provides a basis for school decision making. Students are aware of their achievement levels and what they need to learn next. Teaching students how to evaluate and select evidence of their own learning to share with others could be a next step. Reports to parents are increasingly helpful and teachers’ efforts to write in plain language is supporting the development of learning partnerships with families.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. The curriculum is well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and places a significant emphasis on literacy and mathematics. The curriculum is underpinned by well resourced learning environments and good access to information and communication technologies.

Students experience a wide range of subjects and enrichment opportunities. Teachers are developing inquiry learning to promote students’ thinking skills and are working to integrate specialised subjects. Continuing to increase the challenge in learning tasks could further accelerate student learning.

ERO and school leaders agree that the curriculum could be enhanced if teachers strengthened:

  • the connection between the curriculum and students’ home languages and cultural knowledge
  • opportunities for students to design learning experiences and topics
  • the use of te ao Māori and Pacific perspectives across the curriculum.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori and has identified that further work is needed to foster students' success as Māori by further promoting their language, culture and identity.

Māori students’ achievement is monitored very well. They are currently achieving at above the level of other groups in the school, and ongoing work is needed to sustain school approaches.

Teachers are implementing a useful te reo Māori programme. They would benefit from professional development and Ministry of Education (MoE) support to build their capacity to be more confident with te reo and tikanga. The use of MoE resources and acting on recommendations from hui with whānau could also offer ways to strengthen biculturalism.

To promote success as Māori the school could consider:

  • defining and developing a school plan to promote success as Māori
  • using Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success and Tātaiako resources to inform planning and self review
  • revisiting school policies and philosophy to better document the aspects of manaakiatanga and whanaungatanga that are evident in school practices
  • consider ways to sustain successful practices over time.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

A new three year charter is in place with key strategic priorities to guide future directions. Self review is effective and used to make positive changes. Review processes continue to develop and school leaders have recently documented a new self-review approach. Trustees and school leaders agree that developing a more evaluative self-review process using indicators could assist school leaders, trustees and teachers to reflect more deeply and comprehensively on developments.

School leadership is effective and thoughtful. There is a focus on developing leaders and empowering teachers. Senior leaders have high expectations and model professional leadership and learning. They make good use of external links and professional development.

Very good support is in place for beginning teachers and coaching and mentoring approaches support teacher development well. Performance management is thoughtfully designed and promotes useful teacher reflection.

The school effectively promotes and supports student wellbeing through well connected support systems. Staff demonstrate empathy for students and have developed effective approaches for noticing and responding to students’ needs.

Effective pastoral care and good relationships between students and teachers underpin the school’s respectful and settled culture. The board could now consider how best to allocate resources and to explore ways in which students might have more regular access to a qualified counsellor.

Transition to intermediate is well planned and monitored. As some families have long-standing connections with the school, many students connect readily with the new environment. Making successful transitions to secondary school is a priority for leaders and students. Senior leaders could seek a range of evidence from secondary schools to monitor and review how well this is working.

School governance is effective and the board comprises both newer and more experienced trustees. The positive relationship between the board and senior leaders supports the school’s focus on student achievement. Trustees have a useful range of skills and expertise to offer the school.

The board is well informed about student achievement and key steps to continue strengthening governance include:

  • enhancing the school vision and philosophy to include bicultural and multiethnic perspectives
  • developing more specific charter targets for groups of learners
  • seeking community input and evaluation on a regular basis
  • refining the school policy and procedure framework
  • receiving reports that evaluate progress towards meeting charter requirements and priorities, including reports on the success of specific interventions programmes.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review, there were no international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. When reporting to the board orally, school leaders should ensure the evidence is documented with the attestation to show how the school meets the Code.

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.

During the course of the review ERO identified one area of non-compliance. In order to address this, the board of trustees must clearly distinguish between voluntary donations and fees in all school documentation, including invoices to parents and whānau.[Education Act 1989, s3/MOE Circular 1998/25, 2013/06].

To improve current practice, the board should also ensure that school personnel management policies are updated to include reference to the registered teachers’ criteria.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

25 April 2014

About the School


Mt Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Other Pacific

Other Asian

Other European












Special Features

Carlson School (Cerebral Palsy) satellite class Gifted Kids Charitable Trust satellite class

Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

25 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

May 2007

August 2003