West Harbour School - 04/04/2018

School Context

West Harbour School caters for children in Years 1 to 8. Of the approximately 440 students, 39 percent are Māori and 28 percent are of Pacific heritage. Children who identify as having
Pākehā heritage comprise 20 percent of the roll. Since the 2014 ERO external evaluation, there has been a 25 percent increase in the student population. This sudden roll growth has been most noticeable throughout 2017.

The school’s vision of ‘Inspire, Enrich and Equip’, is designed to support students’ curiosity, and involvement in their learning and wellbeing. The school’s values: show respect, take responsibility, and value achievement, underpin this vision.

Key school targets have focused on raising the learning outcomes for Māori and Pacific children in reading, and to increase the number of Year 5 students achieving above curriculum expectation.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics
  • outcomes related to engagement and wellbeing
  • valued outcomes of the school’s curriculum that include science, the arts, and health and physical education.

Schoolwide professional learning and development (PLD) initiatives have focused on increasing staff capability to lift the achievement of learners who are at risk of not achieving. Culturally responsive teaching and learning practice has been integral to this PLD.

The school is part of the Massey Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL). 

Evaluation Findings

Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for Māori and students of Pacific heritage. The school’s achievement information for 2015 to 2017 shows that the majority of children achieve at expected levels in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics. Parity of achievement between Māori, Pacific and Pākehā children is evident, but not so for gender. Girls achieve at significantly higher levels than boys in reading and writing.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Most students:

  • are actively involved in their learning and contribute to the life of the school
  • have a strong sense of belonging and connection to others in the school community
  • use school values to support their positive interactions with others.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school accelerates the learning for most of those Māori and other students who need this. The disparity between the achievement of girls and boys has not yet been addressed, and plans are yet to be enacted to lift boys’ achievement.

School targets are focused on accelerating the progress of Māori and Pacific learners. Progress towards these targets is monitored by school leaders and the board. The tracking of other students who are below expected curriculum levels shows positive shifts in achievement for the majority of these students, particularly in reading and mathematics.

Students with Pacific heritages are supported well to accelerate their progress. The promotion of early intervention programmes, successful transitioning, and strategic staff appointments have contributed to positive outcomes for Pacific learners.

Very good quality provision for children with additional needs helps them to make progress in their learning and wellbeing. Focused teaching approaches respond to these students’ specific learning requirements. They are helped by learning assistants in classrooms. As a result, children with additional needs are able to develop literacy and mathematical skills and knowledge in the broader curriculum, alongside their peers. Teachers work more intensively with students who require accelerated progress, supported by learning assistants who oversee the classroom programme.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Very good school leadership supports children and staff to be confident in their identity, learning and work. Well-founded connections contribute significantly to children’s sense of belonging and their active engagement in learning.

These connections and a respectful work environment provides opportunities for teachers to “enhance and extend their professional capabilities to improve student outcomes”. The board responds to this strategic goal by directing funding to initiatives and professional development that are focused on raising achievement.

Teachers provide good quality feedback to students about their achievement and progress. They use their extensive knowledge of children and their families and whānau to support children’s overall learning and development. Teachers identify students’ strengths, interests and next learning steps to cater for their individual learning requirements. They keep parents well informed about how well children are achieving and progressing.

The school’s broad curriculum helps teachers cater for children’s diverse capabilities and interests. Social justice is evident in the way children and adults accept and celebrate difference.

Transition to school processes are well managed by school and team leaders, in partnership with parents/whānau. Children enrolled at the school are guided to continue along their successful learning pathway.

The board shows very good stewardship by reinforcing connections with the community. Trustees are helpful to school leaders and staff in this and other dimensions of school operations. The school builds positive relationships with external support agencies, parents and community groups.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

School leaders agree that deepening evaluative practice will help trustees, leaders and teachers to identify and implement effective practices focused on improving learning outcomes for children at risk of not achieving.

At the time of the ERO external evaluation, priority was given to PLD to support students to develop their ideas, and help them overcome misunderstandings in their learning. To lift achievement in mathematics, school leaders were also exploring PLD options to improve teaching and learning in this learning area.

The local CoL’s PLD priorities of enhancing children’s literacies across curriculum areas aligns well with the school’s goals. School leaders are open to new ideas and possibilities and see great benefit belonging to and contributing to this network of leaders, trustees and teachers.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a learner-focused culture that promotes children’s sense of worth and belonging
  • collaborative leadership that focuses on equity and excellence for all learners, and supports teachers to accelerate the progress of children who are at risk of not achieving
  • connections and partnerships with parents, whānau and community that are conducive to children’s successful learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • ways teachers inquire into, and adapt their practice to support children who are at risk of not achieving
  • extending children who achieve well in relation to curriculum expectations but are yet to reach their potential
  • enhancing evaluation processes to focus on improving learning and wellbeing outcomes for all learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

4 April 2018

About the school


West Harbour, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      52%
Girls       48%

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
other Pacific Peoples
other ethnicities


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

4 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
October 2011
June 2008