Westport South School - 15/10/2018

School Context

Westport South School is a Year 1-8 full primary with a roll of 304. Due to fluctuations in employment opportunities within the local community, there is high student transience. The school has a long serving principal and staff. Since the 2014 ERO review, a new deputy principal, board chair and some trustees have been appointed.

The school’s mission statement is ‘Together We Can’. The overall vision is for children to be capable communicators, effective thinkers, self-managers, able to interact with others and their environment, and make positive contributions in a range of communities. The school’s valued outcomes are based on the HEART values of honesty, encouragement, attitude, respect and together we can.

Current strategic goals and targets focus on:

  • ensuring high levels of literacy and maths achievement
  • taking collective and individual responsibility for progress and achievement of all students
  • extending students’ critical, creative and reflective thinking
  • extending students’ fitness and participation in sport.

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

  • achievement and progress for reading, writing and mathematics
  • behaviour, wellbeing and engagement
  • information about programmes and interventions for targeted groups of children

The school is a member of the Buller Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL). 

Evaluation Findings

1 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 needs to continue to address in-school disparity in order to ensure equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

School data shows that most children consistently achieve well in reading over time. Boys’ reading achievement has improved slightly over time, however disparity remains.

Writing has been identified as an ongoing area for targeted support. Most girls achieve at or above expected levels but there is significant disparity for Māori and boys. Many of the children who are not reaching expectations in writing are new to the school.

Mathematics achievement for all children is lower than reading and writing. Achievement over time has been consistent, with little disparity for all groups of children.

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

The school effectively supports accelerated learning for some Māori and other children who need it.

Children whose learning requires additional support are clearly identified, assessed and tracked closely. They are actively supported to develop the skills to successfully access learning, and are provided with many valuable opportunities to enable engagement in learning. School data shows that many of these children make accelerated progress.

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?

The school’s inclusive culture supports a strong sense of belonging for children and provides a positive and welcoming environment. The school’s HEART values are highly evident in practice and are consistently modelled across the school by children, staff and parents.

Children’s learning and wellbeing is closely monitored. Leaders and teachers carefully consider the individual learning and pastoral needs of children and their whānau. They provide appropriate support and learning opportunities for children with specific learning and behavioural needs.

Children benefit from a wide range of meaningful opportunities which support their engagement in learning. Teachers ensure that children experience meaningful learning contexts which reflect children’s understanding of the world. The broad and interesting Education Outside the Classroom programme supports connections with and extends children’s knowledge of the local and wider outdoor areas.

A number of well-considered organisational structures allow for a cohesive and collective approach across a range of school programmes and practices. The experienced and caring leadership team have clear and consistent expectations to support teaching and learning, children’s wellbeing and positive behaviour. Leaders have led and participated in a range of appropriate and targeted professional learning opportunities. They are highly supportive of staff and make good use of individual strengths. The principal is building leadership through a distributed approach.

The board is genuinely responsive to the needs of the school community and is supportive of staff and children. Trustees regularly receive reports about school operations through a well-thought through and applied process for internal evaluation. This is capably led by school leaders.

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

School leaders and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to evaluate how well the curriculum:

  • embeds and integrates te reo and tikanga Māori across all school programmes and practices, as well as aligning te ao Māori to the school’s HEART values
  • provides greater opportunities for children to have responsibility for their learning .

The board and leaders agree that it is timely for the schools strategic and annual plans to be strengthened. School leaders and teachers need to continue to improve target setting processes and planning related to identified students, including having specific expectations for accelerated achievement for these students. The board’s internal evaluation process needs to be strengthened. This will enable trustees and leaders to know about the effectiveness and impact of strategies in raising achievement and to help inform their decision making.

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 the:

  • inclusive and supportive culture that is responsive to individual strengths and needs
  • adapted approach for children whose learning needs accelerating to support their wellbeing and positive outcomes
  • reflective culture that is effectively supported by the leadership team.

Next steps

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

  • strengthen understanding of internal evaluation in order to inform future school directions and decision making, including strategic planning processes
  • review aspects of the school’s documented curriculum. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

15 October 2018

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys:   53%

Girls:    47%

Ethnic composition

Māori                       14%

Pākehā                     79%

Other ethnicities      7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

15 October 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review       November 2014

Education Review       July 2011

Education Review       January 2008