Wharenui School - 15/11/2016

1 Context

Wharenui School has a very diverse learning community. Children and families come from many different cultural backgrounds. Many children have English as a second language. The school site is shared with students from the Van Asch Deaf Education Centre who are well included in school events.

The school has experienced some roll changes. Many new children arrive at the school during the year. The board is looking at the implications of roll growth in managing learning spaces and class sizes. The board has a mix of new and experienced trustees following the 2016 elections.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are focused on supporting children's learning around the key areas of responsibility, respect, fairness, caring and "being the best me I can be".

The school's achievement information shows that many children in this school need additional support for their learning to reach the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori children achieve at similar levels to their peers at school. Overall, children's achievement is highest in reading.

A particular focus on mathematics in recent years has raised achievement in this area. The school needs to focus on raising boys' achievement in reading and writing. The school has identified writing as a targeted area for curriculum development. Additional support in oral language and social skills is given to children when they first arrive at school so they are better prepared to learn. Most children are making good progress in aspects of their learning in their first years of schooling.

Teachers regularly moderate their judgements about children's achievement. They work collaboratively, use a range of tools to support the consistency of their judgements and work with teachers from other schools.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has continued to focus on developing its curriculum and teaching practices to accelerate learning and achievement. This includes:

  • undertaking an extensive review of the way mathematics is taught and the introduction of a maths specialist teacher role
  • reviewing and updating teachers' appraisal practices and ways teachers inquire into their practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school effectively identifies and responds to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers know students well. They recognise children's interests and strengths. Māori language, culture and identity are celebrated and valued. Leaders and teachers closely monitor children's progress and teachers collaborate through ongoing professional dialogue to promote best outcomes for students. They access and implement a wide range of well targeted initiatives and support, both within school and from external agencies. Teachers and leaders have improved the ways they involve parents and children in goal setting and learning partnerships.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Teachers use similar processes and practices to effectively respond to other groups of children whose learning requires acceleration. The school implements a well-planned programme to support the significant number of children for whom English is a second language.

Senior leaders agree that the next step is to develop a clearer school-wide system of using achievement data to track and report on progress and acceleration of individuals and groups over time.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The curriculum and other organisational processes successfully support the school's values and goals.

The school provides a stable, secure whānau-like environment to support children in their learning. A strong emphasis is placed on respecting diversity. The inclusive culture is highly responsive to the children and their families, creating a strong sense of belonging. Children have many opportunities to see their language, culture, and identity valued and reflected across the curriculum. Positive relationships are a feature of the school community.

Leaders and teachers place a priority on supporting children's well-being in order to enhance their readiness for learning.

Children are increasingly taking responsibility for managing themselves and their learning.

Children experience a wide range of curriculum activities within the school and the community that extend, accelerate and enhance their learning. School leaders and teachers have developed strong links within the community to provide additional support for families. The school maintains ongoing relationships with some local early childhood services and secondary schools to support successful transitions for children.

The recent review of the mathematics curriculum, aligning with the school's vision, values and context, has provided a useful template for the ongoing review of other curriculum areas.

School leaders and teachers are undertaking regular targeted professional learning and development that is well-aligned to school goals. School leaders have actively promoted collaborative practices among teachers and developed a culture of more professional discussion and reflection to improve teaching and learning across the school.

The school leadership agrees that they need to establish better systems and practices to evaluate the impact of interventions and initiatives. This would benefit the board's strategic decision making.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

ERO, the board and school leaders agree that the next steps are to:

  • strategically plan to implement changes to the school's curriculum, teaching practices and environment in line with modern learning practices
  • continue to develop school-wide evaluation practices
  • strengthen the board's understanding of its stewardship role, including strategic planning and evaluation.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

  • provision for international students.

Provision for International Students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on 1 July 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements by December 1st 2016.

The school is making good progress in aligning its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code. At the time of this review, there were no international students attending the school.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends:

  • using robust internal evaluation to support ongoing curriculum development
  • continuing to focus on accelerating children's achievement
  • continuing to build the board's capacity to fulfil its stewardship role. 

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Waipounamu Southern

15 November 2016 

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Males 56%; Females 44%

Ethnic composition





Other Asian


Other ethnicities








Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

15 November 2016

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2013

October 2010

June 2007