Hillcrest Normal School

Hillcrest Normal School

School Evaluation Report

Tēnā koutou e mau manawa rahi ki te kaupapa e aro ake nei, ko te tamaiti te pūtake o te kaupapa. Mā wai rā e kawe, mā tātau katoa.

We acknowledge the collective effort, responsibility and commitment by all to ensure that the child remains at the heart of the matter.


Hillcrest Normal School is located in Hamilton and provides education for students in years 1 – 6. The school has a close association with the Waikato University Faculty of Education, assisting with the training of future teachers. Since the previous ERO report, there have been several changes to the senior leadership team. The school values are expressed as SHINE: succeed, honour, imagine, nurture, explore.

There are two parts to this report.

Part A: An evaluative summary of learner success and school conditions to inform the school board’s future strategic direction, including any education in Rumaki/bilingual settings.

Part B: The improvement actions prioritised for the school’s next evaluation cycle. 

Part A: Current State

The following findings are to inform the school’s future priorities for improvement.

Learner Success and Wellbeing

The school is achieving increasingly equitable and excellent outcomes for most learners.
  • Most students achieve at or above expected curriculum level for reading, writing and maths.
  • Boys and girls achieve at similar rates in reading and maths; however, there is significant disparity for boys in writing.
  • Māori students’ achievement rates have improved over time; however, significant disparity remains in writing and maths when compared to their Pākehā peers.
  • Pacific students achieve at comparable rates to their Pākehā peers in reading and writing. Disparity in maths has decreased over time.

Conditions to support learner success

School leadership works collaboratively and strategically to improve outcomes for learners.
  • Leadership values and nurtures a culture of professional growth and development.
  • Professional learning for teachers aligns to the school’s strategic priorities and the needs of learners.
  • Leadership prioritises and plans for inclusive learning for all students, particularly Māori and students with additional needs.
The school’s curriculum and teaching practices are increasingly responsive to students’ learning needs, interests, and cultural identities.
  • Teaching practices are relational and affirming, and classrooms have clearly established routines and expectations for learning.
  • Teachers identify the learning needs of students and increasingly plan and use responsive teaching strategies.
  • Curriculum initiatives and programmes that draw on tikanga and te ao Māori have been developed and are being implemented.
Leaders and teachers are increasingly using data and evidence to strengthen schoolwide processes and practices for continued improvement in student outcomes.
  • Leaders undertake regular review of programmes and initiatives to inform their decision making.
  • Student achievement, wellbeing and attendance data is regularly analysed by teachers and leaders.
  • Leaders have identified teacher planning and assessment as areas that could be further strengthened for greater schoolwide consistency.
  • Leadership is planning for the continued development and integration of te ao Māori learning opportunities throughout the curriculum and building teacher confidence and capability in te reo and mātauranga Māori.

Part B: Where to next?

The agreed next steps for the school are to continue to: 

  • decrease disparity of achievement for Māori students in writing and maths, and for boys in writing
  • build teachers’ cultural capability, responsiveness, and confidence in mātauranga and te reo Māori
  • strengthen the consistency of teacher planning, particularly the clear alignment of how formative assessment is used to select appropriate teaching strategies in response to students’ learning needs. 

The agreed actions for the next improvement cycle and timeframes are as follows:

Every six months:

  • use an agreed monitoring process to review and report on how effectively teachers are integrating mātauranga and te reo Māori in the classroom
  • develop clear expectations and guidance for teachers about the use of formative assessment and provide appropriate training.


Report to the board in relation to:

  • the annual and over time progress and achievement of Māori students and boys, including the levels of disparity for these groups
  • how effectively teachers are responding to the needs of students, particularly those students whose progress needs accelerating.

Actions taken against these next steps are expected to result in:

  • teacher practices that result in continued improvement in parity, particularly for Māori learners and boys
  • schoolwide consistency in the delivery of an inclusive, culturally responsive curriculum.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Me mahi tahi tonu tātau, kia whai oranga a tātau tamariki
Let’s continue to work together for the greater good of all children

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

22 April 2024

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.  educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Hillcrest Normal School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2024 to 2027 

As of March 2024, the Hillcrest Normal School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Hillcrest Normal School, School Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

22 April 2024 

About the School 

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Hillcrest Normal School

Provision for International Students Report 


The Education Review Office reviews schools that are signatories to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 established under section 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020.


The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 established under section 534 of the Education and Training Act 2020.  The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code and has completed an annual self-review of its implementation of the Code. 

At the time of this review there were three international students attending the school, and no exchange students.

Appropriate systems, processes and personnel are in place to provide for international students’ education and pastoral needs. Students who are speakers of English as a second language are supported by a specialist teacher to increase their English skills. New international students are matched with a student buddy who speaks the same language when this is possible.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

22 April 2024

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home 

Hillcrest Normal School - 28/11/2018

School Context

Hillcrest Normal School is located in Hamilton and provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school’s current roll of 604 students includes 11% Māori, 29% Asian and a large number of students from a range of other diverse cultural backgrounds. Approximately 15% of the school’s roll comprises of students who are English language learners.

The school has a close professional partnership with the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato, providing support and mentoring for teacher trainees.

The school’s vision of ‘growing creative learners from within’ aims to provide a holistic learning environment that encompasses the whole child, recognises individual strengths and interests, and fosters a lifelong love of learning. The school’s values of succeed, honour, imagine, nurture and explore, create opportunities for children to ‘shine’.

The school’s strategic goals focus on engaging students to be successful through a rich curriculum and embracing creativity and innovation. Goals are also prioritised for strengthening teacher capability and developing strong community partnerships.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • science and social sciences.

Since the previous review in 2015, there have been some changes to staffing and stewardship. A new principal was appointed in term 4 of 2015 and almost all trustees were new to their roles in 2016. The school has carried out review and development of its vision, values and charter. Leaders and teachers have undertaken professional learning and development in literacy, appreciative inquiry and dramatic inquiry.

The school is a member of the Hillcrest Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL) and Waimac (Waikato Māori Achievement Cluster).

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 achieving excellent outcomes for most students and is working towards equity for all.

The school’s data from 2015 to 2017 shows most Māori and other students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. High levels of achievement have remained consistent over the past three years. Disparity in achievement for Māori students with their Pākehā peers has decreased over time in writing. However, significant disparity still remains in reading and mathematics. There has been improvement in the achievement of Asian students in literacy and boys in writing and mathematics. Boys and girls are achieving at comparable levels in reading. Girls are achieving at higher levels than boys in writing. Almost all boys are achieving at or above expected levels in mathematics and are significantly outperforming girls.

The school’s data for 2018 also shows high levels of achievement in science and social sciences.

School’s overtime data indicates that by the time students reach the end of Year 6, almost all are achieving at expected levels in all areas.

Students with additional needs are well supported and make appropriate progress in relation to their individual goals.

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

The school is accelerating learning for some Māori and other students who need it.

The school’s analysed data from February 2017 to September 2018 shows accelerated progress for some Māori students in reading and other students in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students who were identified as at risk in 2018 have made accelerated progress in their learning with approximately half accelerating in reading and the majority in writing. This analysis was completed by leaders during the review.

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?

The leadership team provides effective leadership for learning and teaching. Leaders build teacher and leadership capability through intentional professional learning, coaching and mentoring. There are strong systems in place for the identification and monitoring of students’ progress and achievement. Leaders have high expectations and an ongoing commitment to extending learning for students to achieve excellent outcomes.

The board provides a well-resourced educational environment. Views and aspirations gathered through consultation with the school community inform strategic planning and direction. Positive relationships between leaders, teachers, trustees and parents contribute to collaborative and cohesive partnerships for learning. A well-managed and supportive learning environment enables equitable opportunities for students to learn and experience success.

Teachers use deliberate strategies to enhance learning. A range of appropriate assessment information is used to inform programme planning. Students at-risk are clearly identified and targeted intervention supports acceleration in learning. Students with additional learning needs including English Language Learners are well integrated and supported to achieve and make progress. Ongoing liaison with outside agencies supports students’ learning and behavioural needs. Regular opportunities for parents to be involved and informed of their children’s progress, enables positive partnerships for learning. Warm and respectful relationships between teachers and students contribute to calm and settled learning environments.

The school’s curriculum provides a wide range of experiences and authentic contexts for learning. Students have many opportunities to experience rich cultural, sporting and outdoor education activities. A strong focus is placed on creativity and the arts which supports students’ interests, strengths and caters for different learning styles. Cultural diversity for Māori and other groups of students is acknowledged and integrated into the life of the school through festivals and celebrations. The school’s holistic approach to learning enables excellent outcomes with high levels of student engagement and wellbeing.

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

Leaders and teachers should now:

  • further develop use of student achievement data to report on rates of progress and acceleration for at-risk students, and review the effectiveness of the teaching and learning initiatives for these students
  • continue to strengthen students’ understanding of their own learning , especially for those at risk.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were seven international students attending the school.

The school has a well-considered approach for the provision of pastoral care, quality of education and student involvement throughout the school and into the community. Students are well monitored and supported.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership for learning that promotes excellent outcomes for students
  • a rich and inclusive curriculum that enables high levels of student engagement
  • teaching practice that responds to individual students’ needs and supports their learning success.

Next steps

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

  • accelerating the progress of at-risk students to address in-school disparity for Māori, particularly in reading and mathematics
  • embedding a consistent approach to strategies which promote learner agency.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

28 November 2018

About the school

Ministry of Education profile number1739
School typeContributing (Years 1 to 6)
School roll604
Gender compositionGirls 49% Boys 51%
Ethnic compositionMāori 11% 
Pākehā 49% 
Chinese 14%
Indian 8% 
Sri Lankan 3%
Other 15%
Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)Yes
Provision of Māori medium educationNo
Review team on siteSeptember 2018
Date of this report28 November 2018
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review October 2014 
Education Review February 2010