Waterlea Public School

Waterlea Public School - 14/12/2018

School Context

Waterlea Public School in Mangere Bridge caters for children from Years 1 to 6. The school has a roll of just over 400 students.

The school’s vision is for great learning to happen at Waterlea through connecting to the community, culture, the world and the future. Strengthening productive partnerships with the school community is a key aim. The school’s valued outcomes for learners include building children’s knowledge, skills and attitudes, with an emphasis on social competencies, collaboration and inclusion so that they can successfully continue their own education.

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

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress and achievement for target learners

  • learning support programmes and initiatives.

In Term 2, 2018 the board appointed the school’s deputy principal to the position of principal. By the time that this report is published a new deputy principal will be in place.

ERO’s 2015 report commented favourably on leadership and the good use that leaders and trustees made of internal evaluation. These continue to be strengths of the school.

Waterlea Public School is part of the Maungakiekie 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?

Waterlea Public School is working towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all of its learners.

Student achievement information over the last three years shows that most students achieve at and above expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Leaders analyse school assessment data and identify strengths and patterns of achievement. They look at the achievement of different year levels, boys and girls and groups of students at risk of not achieving. Leaders then make recommendations regarding teacher practice and promoting learner progress.

Students engage in learning that is tailored to meet their needs. Team leaders and teachers regularly monitor and track target students to ensure their progress and achievement is being improved. Teachers adapt their programmes in response to their analysis of outcomes.

Trustees, leaders and teachers are aware of a slight achievement disparity for Māori and Pacific learners in literacy, and Pacific learners in mathematics. Leaders and teachers are making good progress in addressing the continued gender disparity in literacy.

Children achieve well in relation to other valued outcomes. They are confident and articulate and increasingly have opportunities to inquire into their areas of strength and interest. Children demonstrate the school’s commitment to ako (children as teachers and learners), mahi tahi (working together), and tuakana and teina relationships (older learners supporting younger learners). Teachers are promoting children to become lifelong learners.

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

The school responds to accelerate learning for Māori, Pacific and other students identified as not achieving at expected curriculum levels. School processes identify students early and teachers provide relevant targeted programmes to accelerate achievement.

Multi-layered strategies to support student learning both in and out of class operate well. These strategies result in accelerated achievement for some learners.

Teachers use flexible grouping, teaching as inquiry and a variety of other strategies to engage learners. Learning support programmes are delivered by appropriately trained learning assistants. These are effectively accelerating the literacy learning of students. A good number of students are making accelerated progress over time.

The school’s heightened priority on building teachers’ and students’ knowledge, understanding and practice of te reo Māori and tikanga is benefiting all learners, particularly Māori learners. The school works in collaboration with its kāhui ako and this has increased opportunities for learning te reo Māori and tikanga. The board funds a specialist te reo Māori teacher to deliver te reo across the school and to upskill teachers. Leaders plan to continue this support and further build teachers’ confidence. Students, including Māori and Pacific learners, show a strong sense of belonging and pride in their individual identity, language and culture.

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?

Effective stewardship is a key condition in enabling achievement and equitable outcomes for learners. Well established internal evaluation processes provide a basis for clear and coherent strategic decisions. School leaders have recently reviewed and refined strategic planning and aligned key school documents to support the school’s direction and development.

Trustees’ strategic capability is reflected in the school’s clear, succinct and measurable goals. They know their community well and are committed to realising the vision for the school. They bring a variety of expertise to their roles and provide good support for the principal. Trustees scrutinise the student achievement information they receive to better understand barriers to students’ achievement. The board provides appropriate resources to address learning issues and promote equity and excellence.

The leadership of the newly appointed principal is enabling a renewed focus on learning and ongoing school improvement. Leaders use collaborative and inclusive approaches effectively to manage change and build shared ownership and collegiality. The principal has established relational trust with stakeholders. Effective leadership is contributing to building teachers’ and leaders’ capacity to inquire into, and develop innovative teaching practices to promote students to lead their own learning and experience a sense of achievement. A deliberate and planned approach to leadership development is in place.

The school’s curriculum promotes the principles of ako where students are recognised as teachers and learners. The principle of mahi tahi is reflected in opportunities for students to collaborate, negotiate and find solutions to problems and undertake inquiry. Students have good opportunities to learn in tuakana/teina relationships where cooperation, care and supporting one another is valued. These principles and skills are setting students up well for lifelong learning. Students have good opportunities to develop e-learning and enjoy the depth and breadth of a wide, future-focused curriculum.

The school’s curriculum is becoming more responsive to meeting the strengths and learning needs of students. Teachers are developing approaches that support students to lead their learning through inquiry. There are examples of very good practice where teachers are providing provocations and encouraging students to think critically and inquire to make sense of their learning. Teachers are developing different ways for students to learn, to promote their engagement and enjoyment of learning.

Leaders and teachers are developing greater commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand, with an increasingly multicultural student population. Teachers plan relevant contexts for learning that include students investigating their turangawaewae. An increased use of te reo Māori is noticeable. Pride in students’ identity, language and culture is fostered.

Very good internal evaluation continues to be evident. Trustees are well informed to support their strategic decision making and effective resourcing. Leaders and teachers evaluate the impact of learning on outcomes for students. Teaching as inquiry is well established and very clear next steps are identified and well planned.

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

Further developments are needed in aspects of teaching and learning. Leaders are aware of the need to:

  • embed agreed schoolwide teaching and learning practices to support consistency so that every learner experiences effective teaching practices

  • continue to build teachers’ understanding about bicultural and multicultural practices to cater for the school’s increasing diversity of student cultural backgrounds.

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:

  • effective stewardship and leadership that establishes relational trust and works strategically to provide an inclusive learning environment to ensure success for all learners

  • a broad and responsive curriculum that promotes student led inquiry and opportunities for students to collaborate, negotiate and be supported to find solutions to problems

  • sustained internal evaluation systems, processes and practices that contribute to a schoolwide focus on continuous improvement.

Next steps

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

  • consolidating effective teaching practices to ensure consistency in the quality of teaching and learning across the school

  • continuing to build teachers’ understanding and responsive teaching practices so that the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is promoted and the school’s increasingly diverse student population is well supported.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

14 December 2018

About the school


Mangere Bridge, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Year 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                    19%
Pākehā                                 44%
Samoan                                12%
Tongan                                  8%
other Pacific                         7%
other ethnic groups              10%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

14 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Revie September 2015
Education Review December 2011
Education Review November 2008

Waterlea Public School - 10/09/2015

1 Context

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

Waterlea Public School caters for children in Years 1 to 6. The school roll has increased slightly since the 2011 ERO review. Students from diverse cultural backgrounds attend the school and a number speak languages in addition to English. Twenty-one percent of students identify as Māori, and 23 percent have Pacific heritage.

The 2011 ERO report commented positively on the school’s effective leadership and the considered approaches being used to build teacher capability. The report also commended the school’s strong focus on improving student learning and achievement. These strengths have been sustained.

School leaders and the board have responded well to the areas identified for improvement in the 2011 ERO report. Teachers now report to parents in plain language about student achievement in relation to the National Standards. School leaders and teachers have also reviewed how well bicultural perspectives and culturally responsive practices are integrated into the curriculum.

The board and school leaders consult widely with the community to set the school’s strategic direction. The school’s mission, vision and values are used as guides for decision making and strategic planning. Strategic thinking and planning decisions are centred on students.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement information shows that approximately 85 percent of students are consistently achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Publically available National Standards data shows that the majority of Pacific and Māori students are also achieving at or above the National Standards. However, the overall achievement of these two groups is slightly lower than that of their non-Māori and non-Pacific peers in the school.

The board, school leaders and teachers use achievement information well to make positive changes for learners. Achievement information is used to set school priorities, develop curriculum programmes and as a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching.

Teachers use achievement information to plan programmes to cater for students’ different strengths and learning needs. They also share achievement information with each other to help students make smooth transitions within the school. Senior leaders, team leaders and teachers use achievement information to identify and plan relevant professional learning and development for teachers.

Achievement information is used well by teachers to identify students who are underachieving and whose progress needs to be accelerated. Teachers are well supported in ‘teaching as inquiry teams’ to implement strategies that will assist groups of students. In these teams teachers also track and monitor student progress and critically reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practices.

The school has a good range of interventions and strategies to provide extra learning support for students who need to make accelerated progress in literacy and mathematics. School data shows that most of these students make good progress.

The school has a good range of practices and systems to support students with special education needs. Teachers and teacher aides have a shared commitment and responsibility for helping students to progress. This approach helps to ensure that students participate in appropriate learning programmes and classroom activities. Transitioning of students with high learning needs into, through and out of school is well managed.

Students’ engagement in learning is evident. Most students can confidently talk about their learning and many are increasingly able to lead aspects of their own learning and support the learning of peers. Students have good opportunities to grow their leadership skills both in the classroom and across the school. They can undertake roles such as being a peer mediator or librarian, lead assemblies, tutor peers and act as buddies for children attending the local kindergarten. Teachers also support students to lead discussions about their learning with their parents and teacher.

The school and ERO have identified the following priorities to continue to enhance learning opportunities for students:

  • review the complexity and level of challenge offered to students through independent learning activities
  • continue to increase students’ opportunities to develop a sense of responsibility for, and ownership of, their learning by exploring ideas on a 'growth mind-set'
  • continue to extend and deepen children’s learning and achievement in writing.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum at Waterlea Public School promotes student learning well. The school’s vision, values and strategic priorities are well integrated into the curriculum. Curriculum priorities are informed by the school’s communities and cultures and reflect Māori and Pacific themes and perspectives.

Students benefit from, and respond well to, the school’s focus on learning. Key features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • a rich variety of learning opportunities both within the school and in the wider community
  • a strong focus on literacy, mathematics, and the arts
  • a conceptual approach to inquiry learning
  • a strong commitment to knowing children and their special talents and whānau well, and using this information to inform curriculum design and planning
  • a natural integration of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance learning opportunities for students

To enhance the quality of the school curriculum, school leaders plan to continue to reflect on modern approaches to learning and review the effective teaching profile in the school.

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

Approximately 21 percent of students at Waterlea Public School identify as Māori. Achievement data shows that, while levels of achievement for Māori students are slightly below other students overall, the majority of Māori students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Good initiatives and developments to promote educational success for Māori as Māori include a review of Māori achievement in reading and writing. The school has also undertaken a review of the school’s cultural responsiveness and inclusion. These reviews led to the development of specific strategies designed to lift achievement and promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. Strategies include the use of texts that reflect Māori students’ cultural capital and Māori contexts, stories of marae visits, tangi, Matariki, hangi and kapa haka.

Educational success for Māori as Māori is also promoted through;

  • the value placed on Māori cultural practices such as pōwhiri at the beginning of the year for new students and their families
  • the establishment of a Māori lead team to provide guidance for teachers about Te Ao Māori and the teaching of te reo Māori
  • the use of external expertise to support students and teachers to increase their confidence and knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori
  • a staff workshop focused on the Ministry of Education Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017
  • Māori representation on the board of trustees.

School leaders and ERO agree that senior leaders and teachers could continue to explore Ministry of Education documents as part of their plans to specifically review the school’s effectiveness in promoting success for Māori. Such a review could provide the basis for an action plan to further enhance Māori student success in the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The school vision provides clear strategic direction for the school. The board chair and trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to the board and are clear about distinctions between governance and management. The board is willing to use external expertise in their review and decision making processes.

Since the 2011 ERO review, in response to concerns raised by some parents, a number of board processes have been reviewed and strengthened. Developments have included:

  • establishing formal processes for communicating with the board
  • reviewing the school’s complaints policy and procedures
  • using external expertise to review the school culture and the effectiveness of the school’s behaviour management systems.

School leadership is effective and the move to extend the leadership team is helping to grow new leaders. This is complementing and enhancing school developments by creating a culture of collaboration and reflection.

Self review is used well. Ongoing critical reflection and the outcomes of school-wide self review are being used to provide a clear rationale for positive improvements. Students, staff and the school community are consulted as part of the school’s self-review processes.

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.

ERO identified that to meet regulatory requirements the board must:

  • ensure that it is properly elected and constituted [Section 94 of the Education Act 1989].


Students at Waterlea Public School benefit from good quality teaching and are responding well to a curriculum that is relevant, increasingly student-centred, and appropriate for modern learners. School leadership and governance make good use of self review to maintain and build the school’s performance.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

10 September 2015

About the School


Mangere Bridge, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 47%

Māori 21%

Pacific 23%

Asian 7%

other 2%

Special Features

Host school for two satellite classes from Sir Keith Park Special School

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

10 September 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2011

Education Review November 2008

Education Review June 2005