Panama Road School

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Education institution number:
School type:
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

139 Panama Road, Mt Wellington, Auckland

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School Context

Panama Road School in Mt Wellington, provides for children from Years 1 to 6. The school roll has grown and is now more than 250. Most children have Māori or Pacific heritage, with the largest groups being Tongan and Samoan. Māori children make up a quarter of the roll and most whakapapa to Ngāpuhi.

The school mission, “Learning together, success every day”, underpins the school’s strategic direction. The Panama Pride values are participation, respect, integrity, determination and empowerment. The board is focused on raising student achievement in literacy and numeracy, and improving student attendance.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • student engagement and wellbeing
  • provision for students with additional learning needs
  • students’ attitudes and cultural identity, in relation to the mathematics inquiry programme.

The local community is committed to the school. Past students have recently formed a support group, Friends of Panama Road School. They are using their knowledge and connections to support the school in achieving its mission.

Since the last ERO evaluation there have been significant staff changes. In 2017 a new principal was appointed from within the staff and new teaching staff have been appointed.

Trustees, leaders and teachers have participated in a wide range of professional learning and development (PLD). Some of this PLD focused on wellbeing, the Pacific Education Literacy Programme (PELP), collaborative learning, and literacy and numeracy programmes.

The school is a member of the Otāhuhu Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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 is working towards greater equity and excellence in student achievement and outcomes. Significant roll turnover in recent years hinders the identification of patterns in achievement data. This turnover has considerably decreased in 2019.

Greater consistency in teaching, learning and assessment processes is beginning to enable leaders and teachers to analyse and make better use of achievement data. School data for the last 18 months show that the majority of learners are achieving at the expected curriculum level in reading, writing and mathematics.

Mathematics has been an area of concern. In some years, less than half of the children achieved at expected curriculum levels.

Disparity between boys and girls has been significant over past years. However, most recent data show a marked change, indicating that this disparity has been addressed successfully.

Leaders’ and teachers’ professional learning is strongly aligned with developing a culturally responsive learning environment. Improving attendance and achievement outcomes for all in literacy and numeracy is the current focus.

Learners achieve well in relation to other school valued outcomes. They generally have a strong sense of identity and culture, show pride and belonging in their school, and are confident and collaborate with each other.

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

The school is improving its ability to accelerate student learning progress for Māori and other students who need this.

Leaders and teachers are focused on continuing to increase student attendance and whānau engagement. These initiatives have been a factor in improved achievement and more positive trajectories for learners whose learning and achievement are at risk.

Leaders, teachers and staff provide significant pastoral support to whānau and children who have additional learning needs. Leaders and staff work collaboratively with families and a wide range of internal and external support networks and agencies. Along with internal expertise, these outside networks provide appropriate support for children who most need this.

School processes that support leaders and teachers to collate and analyse achievement information are being strengthened. Leaders and teachers are re-focusing school practices on identifying, monitoring and appropriately responding to children’s learning needs. This re-focusing should help teachers to enhance strategies for accelerating student learning.

There is an increasing emphasis on professional learning discussions amongst leaders and teachers about children most at risk of not achieving. Team meetings provide an opportunity for teachers to discuss the effectiveness of their teaching practice and its impact on accelerating student progress.

For the last 18 months leaders and teachers have participated in professional learning aimed at accelerating learning in mathematics. Mentors support teachers to engage students in collaborative mathematical learning communities. Early indications are that shifts in teacher practice and improved student attitudes toward learning in mathematics are contributing to accelerated learning.

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?

Senior leaders place a strong emphasis on equity. They build relational trust and engage in collaborative activities to build collective responsibility for student achievement. Senior leaders identify and develop internal expertise with the intent to progress outcomes for all learners. Leaders are highly reflective and focused on making improvements to enhance equity and excellence.

The school is proactive in involving whānau and Pacific communities in partnership to improve engagement for all learners. Staff know children and their families very well. They are positive in identifying and responding to individual children’s needs. Parents and whānau report helpful partnerships with the school in pastoral care practices that promote wellbeing and support learning success. Children’s use of their own Pacific languages through PELP supports the acquisition of early literacy skills.

There is a strong community commitment to and involvement with the school. The school vision and values underpin the positive culture and sense of wellbeing for this community. Relationships are respectful and productive. Difference and diversity are valued. The values are evident in school practices and upheld by the school community. Pōwhiri, cultural groups, including kapa haka, and Language Week events are promoted and well celebrated. During the review parents and trustees shared their display celebrating Cook Island culture and heritage.

Trustees represent the culturally diverse community and their expertise is used well. Outcomes for children are the focus of board and staff decisions. The board and senior leaders are committed to creating greater alignment and cohesion across organisational processes and practices. Consultation with whānau, staff and students and access to relevant expertise supports the school’s ongoing improvement.

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 development priorities include continuing to:

  • develop teacher capability and improve the consistency of effective teaching practices
  • scaffold student learning actions to support their acquisition of skills and competencies to accelerate their learning progress
  • develop processes and practices to enable teachers and leaders to know about and respond to new initiatives that support accelerated learning and improved student achievement
  • strengthen internal evaluation practices to inform and sustain improvement and innovation.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Panama Road School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • senior leaders’ strong focus on equity that emphasises improved outcomes for all learners
  • positive school partnerships with whānau and community that support learner success and wellbeing
  • the school vision and values that underpin a positive culture and sense of wellbeing for this community
  • trustees’ culturally diverse representation that serves the community well.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to develop teaching practices to strengthen the school’s teaching capacity
  • scaffolding students’ learning to support improved achievement outcomes
  • leaders and teachers knowing and responding to the impact of new initiatives on accelerating learning and achievement
  • strengthening internal evaluation processes and practices to support evidenced-based decision making.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

24 October 2019

About the school


Mt Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 - 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%
NZ European/Pākehā 1%
Tongan 34%
Samoan 22%
Cook Island Māori 9%
other Pacific 6%
other ethnic groups 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

24 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016
Education Review May 2013
Supplementary Review September 2009

1 Context

Panama Road School caters for children from Years 1 to 6. Most children are of Pacific and Māori descent with the largest group being Tongan at 39 percent, Māori at 19 percent, Samoan at 18 percent and Cook Island Māori at 11 percent. Most Māori children identify with Ngāpuhi and Waikato Tainui. The parent community is supportive of their school and participate in school events.

The board of trustees are considering which community of schools (CoL) would best support their needs in raising student achievement and improving other learning outcomes.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are promoted by children and adults through an approach the school calls Panama PRIDE. These values are linked to The New Zealand Curriculum and aligned to the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) approaches the school has been developing during the last three years. The vision of the school, "Learning together, success every day, is a message visible in every class. The vision, values and the positive learning and behaviour practices are helping to promote a learning community.

The school's achievement information overall shows a positive trend over time in reading, writing, and mathematics. However, around 50 percent of children are yet to achieve at National Standard expectations. Māori children are especially at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. The board and senior leaders should urgently plan to accelerate the achievement of Māori children to help ensure they are well placed to achieve educational success as Māori. Planning should include setting specific achievement targets for Māori and other groups as risk of not achieving. Pacific children overall are achieving better than their peers.

School leaders identify that the high transient rate impacts negatively on the overall data. They agree that they need to improve their analysis of achievement data and identify how well children achieve when they stay at the school from Years 1 to 6. They could also use this achievement data to identify how well other groups of children are progressing and achieving.

The 2013 ERO report noted that senior managers had agreed that urgency was needed to improve the achievement and progress of all learners. Since then, the school has been involved in several initiatives to raise student achievement, including those to improve the school's curriculum, and the quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices. The school has participated in a strategy to improve student engagement, and has introduced professional learning groups and coaching approaches for teachers. In addition the school has improved the way teachers track student progress and plan for target students. These initiatives are promoting more effective and consistent teaching practices across the school.

Teachers continue to support children to know how well they are progressing in their learning. While some good progress has been made, this is an ongoing area for development, particularly for target learners. The school has participated in the Mutukaroa initiative to strengthen partnerships with whānau. The board and school leaders are exploring ways to continue with this initiative.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is developing its capacity to respond effectively to Māori children who need acceleration, particularly in reading and mathematics. Teachers know their children well and are identifying their strengths and needs. Their next step is to evaluate how well their teaching strategies are working and monitor more closely the progress each child is making.

During the last three years, there has been a gradual improvement in achievement for Māori children in relation to National Standards, particularly in writing. The school continues to work to decrease the disparity between the achievement of Māori children and their peers.

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

Senior leaders and teachers need to support target children better so that they can make the accelerated progress that they need to make. They agree that they need to be clearer about children's specific learning goals and set higher expectations for their rate of progress. Teachers need to ensure that feedback to these children is explicitly clear in guiding their progress to the next step in their learning. This needs to be in writing, reading and mathematics.

While there has been a gradual upward trend over the last three years in reading, writing, and mathematics, nearly half of the children are not yet achieving at the National Standard.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The curriculum supports the school's vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence and is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. Through the leadership and assessment initiative, leaders have aligned professional development to support teaching and targeted student achievement. Although the school has worked hard to develop these processes, it is still only partially effective in providing the expected achievement outcomes for at least half its student roll.

The leadership team is consolidating new systems and processes to build consistency across the school. Leaders have become more evidence based in their decision making. They are a collaborative and cohesive team that has the ability to develop capability and capacity amongst staff. Leaders are focused on improving and developing good frameworks for planning, assessment and expectations for teaching practice. Staff have been involved in a leadership and assessment professional learning contract with a focus on literacy for the last two years. This professional learning has also supported teachers in developing their teaching as inquiry approach and building theirleadership capacity.

Children in all classes engage well in their learning, some more purposefully than others. Many children have opportunities for leadership in the school through various activities. The senior students take a lead in important events and are role models for their peers in the school. Children know the importance of the vision, values and setting goals to support their learning expectations.

School leaders could also further consider reviewing how well culture, language, and identity is reflected through the school's curriculum to ensure that all children and their whānau are evident in their learning journey.

School leaders are building relational trust with parents and the community and plan to further progress these connections and relationships. They recognise the need to work closely with the parents of those children whose achievement needs accelerating so that equitable achievement outcomes are achieved.

The board of trustees continues to develop its capacity in its stewardship role. Trustees reflect the cultural backgrounds of their community and understand it well. They have accessed professional development through the New Zealand School Trustees Association and have recently attended the Vulnerable Children's Act workshops.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

School leaders are committed to making a difference for learners. They recognise that further progress is needed to ensure that the school is able to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes. The challenges the school faces include student transience and language diversity. Many children start school without a strong foundation of early learning. The professional leaders have tried a number of strategies and initiatives to raise student achievement during the last three years, and can demonstrate significant progress in some areas. However they are not yet getting sufficient traction in their teaching in making a difference for all their children.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes.

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

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.

During the review ERO identified areas for improvement. To improve its practice the school should:

  • improve its record keeping for complaints, stand-downs, suspensions and exclusions, and for police vetting of non-teaching staff
  • further consult with its Māori community to develop policies and plans to accelerate Māori student achievement, and to develop partnerships with whānau Māori to support learning.

6 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board of trustees and senior leaders continue to progress internal evaluation to ensure that all children achieve excellent and equitable outcomes before they move to the next stage of their learning pathway.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 June 2016

About the school


Mount Wellington, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition





Cook Island Māori




other Asian

other Pacific











Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

24 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

May 2013


2009 June 2008