Waikowhai School

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

381 Hillsborough Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland

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School Context

Waikowhai School provides for students from Years 1 to 6. Thirty percent of students are Samoan, Tongan or from other Pacific nations. The roll includes small numbers of Māori students and students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Almost a third of students are English language learners.

The school’s vision has a focus on equipping students with the knowledge and skills to help prepare them for change in a global society. The school’s value of ‘Respect - Manaaki’ encourages students to demonstrate respect and care for themselves and others.

Since ERO’s 2014 evaluation, the school has established innovative learning environments, where students and teachers work collaboratively, in some learning areas. Student-led conferences and online systems for communicating with parents have been introduced. Teachers have participated in professional development to strengthen culturally responsive practices and the use of digital technologies to support student learning.

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

  • student wellbeing and engagement
  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • provision for students with additional learning needs.

The school is part of the Ako Hiko cluster of schools, which has a focus on achieving equity and lifting achievement through technology in classrooms.

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 continuing to work towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

School achievement data indicate that over the past five years most students have achieved at or above expected curriculum levels in writing. The majority of students achieve at or above expectations in reading and mathematics. Māori students achieve particularly well in mathematics.

Students with English as an additional language receive appropriate support. Home languages and cultural diversity are recognised and celebrated within the school’s curriculum.

Leaders regularly collect, analyse and respond to ongoing surveys about students’ wellbeing. This information shows almost all students feel safe, included and valued. Leaders and teachers respond effectively to any identified concerns through a variety of well-considered actions.

Students actively demonstrate the school’s valued outcome of respect in their interactions with others.

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

Leaders and teachers are continuing to work towards achieving parity for students who need to make accelerated progress. There is now parity for Māori students in literacy.

Achievement data indicate persistent in-school disparity for boys in reading and for Pacific students, particularly in mathematics. In 2018 just over half of Pacific students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in mathematics. Although the school has implemented a variety of teaching strategies and interventions in the past five years, disparity for Pacific students remains.

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?

Students learn in a very caring, respectful and inclusive environment. Highly effective support systems help to sustain students’ social, emotional and holistic wellbeing. Positive relationships between teachers and students, and amongst students, are highly evident.

Students engage actively and enthusiastically in their learning. Well-integrated digital technologies enable students to collaborate and learn alongside their peers. Students participate confidently in sports and arts experiences. They learn about and celebrate cultural events and practices. Students have good opportunities to undertake leadership roles within the school.

Teachers use a range of reliable assessment tools to track students’ achievement. All students have opportunities to set and respond to achievement goals that are linked to their assessments. They confidently share what they have learned and how well they are achieving.

Very effective learning-focused partnerships are a feature of the school. Deliberate steps are taken to actively involve parents in their children’s learning, in meaningful ways. Students with additional needs and their families are very well supported. Effective communication strategies contribute to the school’s sustained close connections with the local community.

Strong leadership promotes a supportive environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing. Leaders maintain high levels of relational trust across the school. They consult widely and are very responsive to feedback from families.

Professional learning is deliberately focused on adapting teaching approaches to maximise student learning. This focus includes teachers helping students to take ownership of their learning. Students’ interests are well considered, and they are supported to make choices about aspects of the curriculum.

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

Prior to the ERO review, school leaders identified improvement goals that focus on assessment and self review. They recognise the need to prioritise strategies that will accelerate the progress of Pacific students. Evaluating how effective this learning support initiative to increasing parity for these students is a priority. This could support leaders and teachers to build on the successes and extend strategies for other groups of students who need to make accelerated progress.

Key priorities for further development are:

  • strengthening teachers’ use of assessment data to inform classroom planning and students’ learning goals
  • a schoolwide review that focuses on the consistency of teachers’ judgements in relation to the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) achievement and progress indicators.

It would be useful for the school’s review of internal evaluation systems and practices to include:

  • improving the analysis of strategic and annual goals to ensure they contribute meaningfully to evaluation and improvement
  • developing more specific achievement targets to increase parity for Pacific students in mathematics and for boys in reading.

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 Waikowhai School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • an inclusive school culture that supports students’ wellbeing and engagement in learning
  • learning-focused partnerships with parents, whānau and the local community
  • collaborative leadership and good quality teaching practices.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to focus on increasing the rates of acceleration for Pacific students
  • strengthening assessment practices to support next steps for learning and setting accelerated progress targets
  • strengthening internal evaluation to monitor how well the school is achieving equitable outcomes for all students.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

8 February 2019

About the school


Mt Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Year 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 8%

NZ European/Pākehā 25%

Samoan 15%

Indian 12%

Tongan 8%

Chinese 6%

Middle Eastern 6%

other Pacific 6%,

other Asian 6%

other ethnic groups 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

7 February 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014

Education Review December 2011

Education Review January 2009



How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

Waikowhai School works in partnership with whānau and the community to provide high quality education for its diverse groups of learners. The school has a culture of high expectations and provides an inclusive and relevant curriculum where all students can experience success as learners.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Students at Waikowhai School are confident, friendly and proud of their school. They appreciate the inclusive family culture of the school, based on the core value of respect. Students, teachers, parents and whānau benefit from a wide range of academic, cultural, arts and sporting opportunities.

The current roll includes 12 percent of students who identify as Māori and 36 percent who have Pacific heritage. The school has experienced steady roll growth over the past three years.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Previous reports have commented on its culture of respect, the high expectations set for student achievement, its future-focused curriculum and its effective governance and leadership practices. These positive features continue to be evident.

A significant change in school leadership has taken place since the 2011 ERO review with the appointment of a new principal in 2012. The principal, staff and trustees have worked strategically to build partnerships with parents and whānau. They have strengthened self review across the school. The school continues to contribute to developments in the community and the education sector.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information is used very effectively to make positive changes for all learners.

The school’s culture is focused on learning. School leaders and teachers work collaboratively and use reliable, well analysed achievement information to inform teaching programmes. They share expectations for learning with students and help them to identify their next learning steps.

Processes for analysing student progress and achievement information are robust. This information is used well to make decisions about strategies to accelerate the progress of individuals and groups of students.

Students are highly engaged in their learning and progress and achieve very well. Their achievement in reading, writing and mathematics compares favourably with data from national and local schools. Māori students consistently achieve very well and have made significant gains in mathematics. Data on Pacific students show evidence of steady and sustained improvements, particularly in writing and mathematics. Teachers know their Māori and Pacific students well and closely monitor their progress and achievement.

Relationships between teachers and students are mutually respectful and focused on learning. Students’ interest in learning and motivation to succeed contribute to their good levels of understanding and management of their learning. School leaders have identified that extending opportunities for students to lead their learning is a next step.

The school has good evidence of the success of initiatives aimed at raising the achievement of students who are achieving below National Standards. Most of these students are making good progress and progress for some is significantly accelerated. Students with additional learning needs receive very good support from caring and well trained staff.

Close relationships between the school and parent community benefit students’ learning. Transitions into and through the school are very well managed. Teachers work closely with families to develop and review learning plans and identify the best options for each student. Achievement information guides learning conferences with families and students. Sharing responsibility for student learning is a key factor in the school’s learning partnerships with families.

Trustees use well analysed and presented student achievement information to guide strategic planning and to make targeted resourcing decisions. Charter targets are appropriately focused on accelerating the progress of students not yet meeting national or school expectations. Trustees evaluate the impacts of programmes designed to improve student outcomes.

3 Curriculum

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

Waikowhai School offers a relevant, responsive curriculum that is highly effective in promoting and supporting student engagement in learning, progress and achievement.

The school’s broad, inclusive curriculum is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum and demonstrates a commitment to celebrating students’ languages, cultures and identities. Teaching and learning programmes clearly demonstrate the values and key competencies identified in the school philosophy. Inclusive practices affirm students’ wellbeing and promote their empathy for others.

The school’s promotion of bicultural approaches is evident across the curriculum, with Māori being acknowledged and respected as tangata whenua. Classroom environments reflect aspects of Māori language and culture. Tuakana/teina relationships are fostered across the school. Classroom programmes build all students’ confidence and competence in te reo me ōna tikanga Māori.

Curriculum review is ongoing and results in learning programmes that focus on developing students’ competence, curiosity and independence as learners. Priority is given to literacy and numeracy learning. Curriculum design responds to students’ interests. Pacific and Māori contexts are a feature of learning across the curriculum. Students have opportunities to contribute to their learning programmes in meaningful ways. Continuing to encourage and use student voice in curriculum design and review is a priority for teachers and leaders.

The quality of teaching is consistently high. Many highly effective and innovative practices are evident. A continued focus on improvement through professional learning and collegial support is a strong feature of the school. Self and peer critique is integral to teachers’ professional practice. An effective and well coordinated performance management system supports teachers’ professional practice and growth. Leaders and staff are prioritising a plan to further develop their understanding of cultural competencies.

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

School trustees, leaders and teachers have high levels of commitment to supporting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori student achievement is high and is a motivating factor for whānau engagement. Relationships with whānau are strong and mutually beneficial. The school acknowledges the wishes and aspirations of whānau and community. Māori students are proud of their culture and identify themselves as successful learners.

There is a shared responsibility for promoting whānau engagement and progressing school goals. Trustees and school leaders are using the Ministry of Education’s Māori education strategy,Ka Hikitia- Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017, to develop a Māori Education Plan that is both challenging and meaningful.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Waikowhai School is very well placed to continue to grow and sustain its performance. Self review is well developed and used effectively to continually improve outcomes for students.

The principal’s thoughtful, capable and skilled leadership guides the school’s direction. There are many opportunities for teachers and students to take leadership roles across the school. Teachers and support staff are valued as professionals and appreciate the supportive culture of the school.

The board’s vision for the school underpins effective governance practices. There is clear alignment between the strategic plan, annual plan and programme implementation. Board decision making is strategic and evidence based. It is aimed at sustaining improvement and promoting innovative practices across the school.

Strong partnerships with parents, whānau and community benefit students. Maintaining and further developing these partnerships is a deliberate and ongoing priority for trustees and leaders.

The board is leading a change process in response to roll growth. Trustees are committed to resourcing the environment so that it helps prepare students for future learning.'

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.

Waikowhai School works in partnership with whānau and the community to provide high quality education for its diverse groups of learners. The school has a culture of high expectations and provides an inclusive and relevant curriculum where all students can experience success as learners.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

22 December 2014

About the School


Mt Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Cook Island Māori

Middle Eastern

other Pacific












Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

22 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2011

January 2009

February 2006