Wanaka Primary School - 11/07/2011

1 Context

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

The school’s vision of empowering a community of learners is obvious throughout the school. The students, parents and teachers all understand and can explain the school’s vision. A positive feature of this school is that teachers' value and build on the strengths and abilities students bring to their learning.

The school has an inclusive culture. There is a strong focus on positive relationships so that students are settled and feel a strong sense of belonging and eagerness to learn. Teachers, leaders and trustees have created an environment and context where learning is enjoyable as well as purposeful.

The physical design and facilities of the new school clearly focuses on:

  • students being actively involved in their learning
  • teachers and students being able to make best use of resources and teaching spaces
  • students having access to up-to-date information and communication technologies (ICT).

2 Learning

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

Achievement reports show a very high proportion of students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students with high needs are making good progress towards their goals in their individual education plans (IEP).

Areas of strength

Student engagement. Students are highly involved in all aspects of their learning. This is evident where students:

  • enjoy having choice in their learning
  • are involved in goal setting and planning how to achieve next learning steps
  • have opportunities to lead their learning, and the 3-way conferences with their parents and teachers
  • have an active involvement in analysing their own assessment information.

Students know what they are learning, the role they play in their learning and why it is important.

Assessment practices. Students, teachers and senior leaders make good use of assessment information. ERO found:

  • with the assistance of teachers, students have an increasing understanding about their own achievement, progress and learning
  • purposeful analysis of school-wide achievement data is carried out to identify patterns and trends for groups of students and individuals over time
  • syndicate reports include analysis of student achievement data and the implications for teaching programmes.

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

Māori students are achieving well and are highly supported in their learning. Māori students told ERO that teachers have high learning and behavioural expectations of them. All Māori students in Years 3 to 6 are achieving at or above National Standards in reading. Most Māori students are achieving at or above National Standards in mathematics and writing. Māori students are actively engaged in a wide range of extension and learning support programmes. Students in those programmes make good progress. They take on leadership roles and the strengths and abilities they bring to these are highly valued.

Bicultural values are fostered and are an integral part of the school’s vision and values. Māori concepts of learning are purposefully integrated into all practices throughout the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning. Key factors that contribute to this effectiveness are the following areas of strength.

Areas of strength

Curriculum design. The curriculum sets clear directions for student learning in line with the school’s vision, and the principles and values of the national curriculum.

Clear links and integration are evident between key competencies, values, principles and all learning areas.

Learning programmes have appropriate sequences and coherent progression over the class and year levels.

The students value the times when teachers gather and respond to their ideas, and the wide ranging and stimulating learning experiences.

The school’s unique locality is reflected in the design of learning programmes.

Effective teaching. All students benefit from high quality teaching.

Teachers have high expectations of students and share their belief that all students can achieve.

Teachers use evidence from research, their colleagues and their own practice to reflect on and improve their teaching.

ICT is effectively integrated into learning programmes, including students being able to access interactive sites within and beyond school.

Across the school, progressive strategies are taught and used to develop students’ understanding of the learning process.

Learning support. Students identified as needing learning support and extension are well catered for. ERO found:

  • there are good processes to identify students’ abilities and needs
  • the special education needs coordinator( SENCO) and specialist teacher offer high levels of expertise
  • teacher aides are well supported and trained to fulfil their specific roles
  • inclusive practices meet the diverse needs of students; providing a good balance between time in specialist and home classrooms
  • IEPs are regularly monitored to check that learning goals are still relevant and progress is celebrated.

Area for review and development

Teachers and senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, the need to continue the refinement and development of their assessment practices. This means:

  • as the school roll increases teachers and leaders continue to develop the consistency in language and practice in line with their vision for learning
  • continuing the conversations within and between syndicates to reinforce common understandings of expectations, moderation, including those for National Standards.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Wanaka Primary School continues to be a high-performing school and is well placed to sustain and further improve its practices. The leaders of the school stress the importance that everything that happens at the school reinforces the vision of empowering a community of learners.

The following areas of strength contribute to the school’s sustainable performance.

Areas of strength

Leadership. Strong professional leadership in all areas and at all levels is a key factor in the school’s provision of high-quality education for all students. Leadership is strategically based on the strengths and research interests of staff. It is equitable and transparent to ensure all staff have opportunities to develop their leadership capability. Real-life opportunities and support help students to develop and demonstrate their leadership skills.

Self review. Strategies to achieve sustainable practices and progress are clearly documented, followed and regularly reviewed.

Self-review processes focus on raising levels of student achievement and engagement.

There is clear alignment from the strategic plan through the annual plan to curriculum delivery and programmes.

Evidence-based research supports the way decisions are made to improve targeted aspects of learning and teaching.

The appraisal process links to school targets and syndicate goals, and encourages teachers to continue to explore new ways to be more effective.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' 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.

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 July 2011

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)



School roll


Gender composition

Boys 206 Girls 203

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori





Review team on site

May 2011

Date of this report

11 July 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2008

June 2005

June 2002