Waitakere School - 19/06/2013

1 Context

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

Waitakere School, located in rural west Auckland, is an inclusive, full primary school catering for students from Year 1 to Year 8. The school attracts students from Bethells Beach (Te Henga), Waitakere township, and surrounding areas, resulting in a school with a strong urban and rural mix.

The majority of students attend pre-school prior to enrolling at the school. The board continues to support two boys-only classes, in response to views expressed in parent and teacher consultation.

The school benefits from an active parent community that includes representation in the Parent-Teacher Association, Te Runanga o te Kura o Waitakere, a sustainability group, and parents involved in school sporting pursuits.

The school has a good ERO reporting history and has responded positively to recommendations made in previous reports.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of student achievement information to make positive changes in learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are achieving well. The majority of students are succeeding at or above National Standards in literacy and mathematics. The board, through the senior leaders, has implemented effective strategies to support students who are yet to meet National Standards. The board has relevant school-wide goals that focus on raising student achievement and are based on robust information. Senior leaders regularly report students’ progress to the board.

Students are very well engaged in learning. Class programmes make good use of appropriate learning contexts. Teachers have reviewed and made changes to the school’s inquiry learning programme to make the process of investigating their areas of interest clearer to students. Parents have many opportunities to contribute to and support their children’s learning. Regular parent and student survey results inform learning programmes and the future direction of the school. Senior leaders and teachers know the strengths and next learning steps of students well and implement programmes to support their ongoing learning.

The board and teachers have high expectations for students to succeed in all learning areas. Many students participate successfully in the school’s two kapa haka groups and in sporting pursuits. Students enjoy a wide variety of experiences that develop and strengthen their leadership skills.

Senior leaders regularly review the impact and the ongoing usefulness of new initiatives in raising student achievement. This information is reported to the board. It would now be useful for senior leaders to clearly document review outcomes to inform ongoing self review.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

The board, senior leaders and teachers have a shared understanding of the vision, motto and values of the school. Teachers are well supported to provide an effective curriculum. Students and staff benefit from the school’s focus on developing and maintaining a strong team culture.

The school curriculum is delivered through a well designed integrated approach of all of the learning areas. An ongoing feature of the curriculum is a strong commitment to the sustainability of the environment. A group of teachers, parents and students collaborate to design the next year’s programme based on all of their interests.

Teachers use a broad range of initiatives and teaching approaches to best meet the learning needs of students. These include the boys-only classes, team teaching and specialist teachers of literacy and mathematics. Students with identified gifts and talents are appropriately catered for within class programmes and have opportunities to participate in programmes offered outside the school.

The board has high expectations for teachers to enhance their own practices. Teachers participate in a wide variety of professional learning and development, both internally and externally. Professional development opportunities are aligned to the school-wide focus and teachers’ personal goals. Senior leaders have developed clearly defined expectations for programme delivery and effective teaching practices.

The principal and senior managers have previously been appraised by the board against the teacher registration criteria. The principal is now using an external appraiser to further develop her professional knowledge and skills. The principal provides many opportunities for teachers to increase their leadership and professional capabilities. The Ministry of Education's 2011 publication, Tataiako: Cultural Competencies of Māori Learners, is integrated into the teachers’ appraisal process. Good induction and mentoring processes are in place to ensure teachers’ success at all levels of the school.

The students from the Pacific Islands are achieving results that are similar to those of all other students. However, they would benefit from the board reviewing and implementing the recommendations of the Ministry of Education's, Pacific Education Plan.

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

The board and teachers promote educational success for Māori as Māori effectively.

Seven percent of the school roll identifies as Māori. Students are achieving results that are similar to those of all other students.

The board has a close working relationship with Te Runanga o te Kura o Waitakere. The Runanga supports teachers to strengthen the implementation of kaupapa Māori in the school. A representative of the Runanga is a board trustee. A school kaumatua, who has been a long-standing member of the Runanga, has been recently appointed to support the school.

Teachers are becoming increasingly confident in including te reo and tikanga Māori into class programmes. This use of te reo is being led and monitored by a designated teacher. The deputy principal has had a major role in promoting the success of Maori as Māori in the school.

The school has implemented an optional programme, Ngā Tumanako, through which students learn about Māori values alongside the school values programme.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The experienced board works well as a team and is confidently led by a long-standing chairperson. The board is committed to implementing successful governance practices and is supported by clear guidelines. Trustees are well informed about the progress and achievement of students.

The school culture is positive and inclusive. The board has a good understanding of its role as an employer. Personnel practices, including recruitment and appraisal, are well managed. A focus of the board and senior leaders is on the retention of good teaching staff. The board identifies and respects the diversity of teacher strengths and interests and supports the use of these in classroom teaching and learning programmes.

Formal and responsive self-review processes are used effectively to improve outcomes for students. Self-review information is reported to the board by senior leaders and is used well to inform long-term school goals. This information is used to develop an annual plan, which is evaluated at the end of each year. Consultation with the wider school community, and student achievement data, form the basis of ongoing self-review information.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

19 June 2013

About the School


Auckland West, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā










Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

19 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

January 2004