Wharenui School - 27/03/2013

1 Context

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

Students are very well supported in a caring and friendly school environment. Staff members know students and their families well.

A large number of the students are from non-English speaking backgrounds (NESB). The school is actively responsive to students’ diverse cultural needs and provides a well-organised English language support programme.

The school includes and celebrates students’ differences. In 2011 staff and junior students from the Van Asch Deaf Education Centre shifted to Wharenui School. These students learn in a separate class and are well integrated into school routines and some programmes.

All students and their families are well supported by an extensive community-support network. Parents are welcomed into the school and there is a high level of participation in community events at the school. Staff members are focusing on strengthening parent involvement in students’ learning.

Since the October ERO review there has been a small increase in the school’s roll. There has also been a reduction in the number of students arriving and leaving during 2011 and 2012.

A new principal started at the school in Term Two 2011. The senior managers have been continuing to focus on reviewing the school’s curriculum.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers have developed the way they use assessment information to identify students’ specific learning needs. They use this information to group students in ways that enable the teachers to address individual and group needs. Students are well supported by experienced teacher aides.

Teachers’ achievement information indicates many children make good progress in reading particularly during the first two years at school. The improving information about students’ learning, and analysis of this, will help the principal and teachers to more clearly determine how students progress over time. The board is getting better quality information on students’ learning. This assists trustees in their decision making about directions for the school.

Most teachers have effective ways to foster students’ interest in learning and engage them in their classroom programmes. They are developing ways to evaluate their teaching practices and programmes to better meet the needs and abilities of students in their classrooms.

In 2011 and 2012, reports to the board showed that most students with English language learning needs made accelerated progress with their language skills. The board and principal acknowledge that those students who continue to be at risk in this area should be targeted for additional teaching and ongoing monitoring.

The teachers have continued to improve the way they report student progress and achievement to parents. Students set learning goals and are becoming more involved in monitoring how well they are learning. Teachers are continuing to review the school's written reports so they are in plain language and easily understood by parents.

3 Curriculum

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

Students are provided with a wide range of learning experiences that develop their interest in learning. The school’s vision and values are becoming integrated into school programmes and positively influencing the culture of the school.

The school has positive relationships with local early childhood services and the secondary school where the majority of students eventually attend. These links help to prepare students for their entry to school and their transition into the high-school system. Teachers are working to continually improve these transitions so that they are as smooth as possible for students.

Senior leaders have clear expectations of how teachers plan and organise their programmes. Teachers plan well individually and at syndicate level. Senior leaders are now bringing this information together across all areas of the curriculum.

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

The school provides a range of initiatives and events that celebrate Māori language and culture. This includes a learning programme for all classes delivered by a specialist te reo Māori teacher. Emphasis is given in the school’s values to te reo and tikanga Māori.

The inclusive culture of the school and the many different student groups support Māori students and whānau to feel confident and have a strong sense of belonging to the school.

The principal has identified that teachers could better include te reo and tikanga Māori in students' learning. They could also develop the partnership with whānau to increase involvement in students' learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is in a good place to sustain and improve its performance. The board, principal and teachers are strongly committed to improving student learning and achievement.

The board and the school leaders work positively together to promote the school and have a focus on improvement. Trustees now receive better quality student achievement information to inform their decision making.

The principal is providing a carefully planned approach to change. She guides the board in leading the strategic direction of the school. She is increasingly sharing decision making within the leadership team and amongst staff.

The principal and teachers are beginning to make good use of self review to improve teaching and learning. Teacher appraisals and the links between the principal’s appraisal and student achievement targets have been strengthened. Evaluation of these revised systems will be implemented in 2013.

A plan for school-wide self review is being developed. The principal and teachers are working on a clear process that shows when and how ongoing curriculum review will be carried out.

The school has strong parent support and a number of successful strategies to increase parent and whānau engagement with the school.

The board is aware that with trustees' elections approaching it is timely to promote interest and participation from the direct parent community in the governance role.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were no international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

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 three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

27 March 2013

About the School


Riccarton, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 57%

Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/ Pākehā




Other Ethnicities






Special Features

Host to RTLB cluster and Van Asch Deaf Education Centre Satellite Class

Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

27 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2010

June 2007

March 2004