Insoll Avenue School

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School Context

Insoll Avenue School is a contributing primary school located in Hamilton East, catering for students in Years 1 to 6. It has a roll of 372, including 268 Māori students and 55 students of Pacific heritage.

The school’s values system encourages students to be an Insoll HERO by being honest, excellent, resilient and organised.

Insoll Avenue School’s strategic goals for 2019 include identified actions to improve students’ literacy and numeracy achievement, and to build bicultural practices within the curriculum.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the previous ERO review in 2016, the school roll has grown significantly, increasing by approximately one third, and an enrolment zone has been implemented. There have also been personnel changes in key positions, including the appointment of a new deputy principal to the senior leadership team and new staff on the middle leadership team. The board is comprised of two long-standing trustees, including the board chair, and several recently-elected trustees.

The school roll has a continued pattern of student transience with approximately one third of the roll turning over annually.

The school is a member of Te Pae Here Kāhui Ako Te Raki Rāwhiti o Kirikiriroa | Community of Learning.

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 achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The school’s achievement data from 2016 to 2018 shows that the majority of all students achieved at or above national curriculum expectations in reading, and approximately half in writing and mathematics.

In writing, Pacific students achieve at higher levels than their Pākehā peers and achievement levels are comparable for Māori and Pākehā students. There is an ongoing pattern of significant disparity in writing for boys, who achieve less well than girls. The school’s achievement data for 2018 shows that approximately one third of boys achieved at or above national curriculum expectations in writing. There is significant disparity between Māori, Pacific and their Pākehā peers in reading and mathematics.

Leaders reported to ERO that the school’s entry data shows that a significant percentage of students who begin at the school each year enter below expected curriculum levels.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the learning of Māori and other students who need this.

The school’s progress data for 2018 to 2019 for students that remained for the year shows that the school effectively accelerated the learning of Māori and Pākehā boys and girls in mathematics, and Māori and Pākehā boys in reading. Pacific boys and girls were effectively accelerated in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school is able to show that a number of targeted programmes and interventions support high levels of acceleration in literacy for students with additional learning needs.

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?

Leaders and teachers prioritise student wellbeing. The school values are highly visible and enacted in meaningful ways to support a strong sense of belonging. Students have opportunities to be part of decision making about their environment and their learning. Student endeavour and success is regularly acknowledged and celebrated. Leaders and teachers know the students well and work collaboratively to provide effective pastoral care. Leadership has established strong links with a range of community services to provide holistic support for students. There are clear systems to identify and respond to students with additional learning and behaviour needs, and to track their progress.

A rich curriculum caters for a range of student interests and strengths. Tikanga and te reo Māori is woven into aspects of the curriculum and cultural diversity is celebrated and explored in learning. Leadership is continuing to strengthen bicultural practice through a range of initiatives and productive relationships with the local iwi and wider Māori community. The board of trustees supports the broad curriculum coverage, including recently funding music and dance programmes within the school. The board also provides resourcing to ensure equitable access to curriculum opportunities for all students.

Students learn in an orderly and supportive environment. Students are settled and encouraged to self-manage through well-established, consistent classroom routines. There are warm interactions between teachers and students. Teachers use a range of strategies to scaffold learning. There is an inclusive approach to students with additional needs through the provision of in-class support and teacher aides. A schoolwide framework is used for the longitudinal tracking of student progress from the time they begin at school to the time they leave. Careful transitions of students into and through the school respond to individual student needs.

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

Strategic professional learning and development is strengthening some areas of teacher practice. There is a need to continue to build collective capacity for ongoing strategic improvement and sustained practices. Priorities should include developing:

  • teacher understanding and use of effective formative assessment practice to support student learning

  • consistent teaching approaches that support students’ awareness and understanding of their learning goals and next steps.

Leaders have developed useful systems and tools to track and monitor student progress. It is now time to develop the capability of staff at all levels of school organisation to analyse and use data for evaluation purposes. This should be aligned to the school’s strategic achievement goals in order to accelerate the learning of at-risk students and improve achievement outcomes for all.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Insoll Avenue 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:

  • inclusive practices that support students’ wellbeing and sense of belonging
  • an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to learning.

Next steps

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

  • a schoolwide approach to building student agency to increase students’ understanding of their next steps in learning
  • the effective use of achievement data to evaluate the impact of teaching practice on accelerating the progress of all at-risk learners.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to health, safety and welfare. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • develop policy, practices and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members
    [Education Act 1989, Sections 139AAA to 139AAF; Education (Surrender, Retention, and Search) Rules 2013].
  • address aspects of the physical restraint regulations, including:
    • ensuring that the names and positions of authorised staff are documented
    • taking appropriate steps to ensure that parents, students, school staff and community know about the school’s policies for managing challenging behaviour and using physical restraint
      [Education Act 1989, Sections 139AC to 139AE].

Phillip Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services Central
Central Region
31 October 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 52% Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                    72%
NZ European/Pākehā       7%
Pacific                                   15%
MELAA                                   4%
Other                                     2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

31 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016
Education Review January 2013
Education Review November 2009

1 Context

Insoll Avenue School is located in the Hamilton suburb of Fairfield and provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The school's roll of 272 includes 186 students who identify as Māori and 41 of Pacific origin. In addition there are 26 Pākehā students and a small group of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Since the previous ERO review, the principal continues in her role and there have been significant changes to the teaching team.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are 'to develop as confident learners who succeed in today and tomorrow's world'. This vision is underpinned by the HERO values of honesty, excellence, resilience and being organised. These values are well known to children and established as a shared language between teachers, children and whānau.

The school's achievement information shows that for 2015 shows approximately half of the Māori children in reading, and slightly more in writing and mathematics, were achieving below National Standards. For Pacific children, the school's achievement information for 2015 shows that there were 24 children in reading, 18 in writing and 17 in mathematics who achieved below National Standards.

Other groups of children achieved at similar levels. All children achieving below expected levels are either included in a target group within their classroom or are receiving specialist support to accelerate their achievement. While these interventions and target initiatives have successfully increased progress for some students, further work is needed to ensure this approach more effectively responds to and accelerates progress for all children achieving below National Standards.

The school has implemented significant and ongoing professional learning and development for teachers, primarily in the areas of writing and mathematics. This professional learning has focused on accelerating achievement, particularly for students achieving below expected levels. Teachers and leaders have also worked as part of the Ministry of Education (MoE) initiative Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) to establish, clarify and embed the school expectations for student behaviour and engagement. This initiative has contributed to a more settled tone for learning that is evident in the school.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has comprehensive systems and processes in place to identify, respond to and accelerate the achievement of Māori children. Although the achievement of Māori students improved during 2015, overall levels remain low. A recent initiative has been to identify the names, numbers and needs of children whose learning requires acceleration and maintain a focus on accelerating progress for these children. This initiative provides a system for teachers to:

  • closely monitor the achievement of students achieving below expected levels
  • reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching practice in consideration of student progress
  • share knowledge and expertise with colleagues and school leaders.

The principal and teachers have prioritised extending and embedding these effective systems across the school. A wide range of other specialist support programmes is also implemented to accelerate progress for Māori children, particularly in literacy learning. School data shows that many Māori students make accelerated progress as result of these programmes.

Māori children's language, culture and identity are supported by:

  • the strategic appointment of Māori staff who have strong links to the local community
  • the implementation of a sequential te reo Māori programme
  • the active involvement of kaumātua with links to Ngāti Wairere, the local iwi
  • teachers' use of contexts for learning that reinforce tikanga Māori practices and local iwi history
  • school-wide involvement in kapa haka and a specialist performing kapa haka that participates in local festivals and events.

School leaders and teachers should now consider the implications for the school of the MoE document Tātaiako to support them to further strengthen culturally responsive practices across the school.

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

The initiatives and practices that are effectively promoting achievement for Māori children are also effective for other groups of children who are achieving below expected levels.

The culture and identity of Pacific children is promoted and celebrated through school-wide events and celebrations. Many of these children have English as their second language and benefit from additional support that accelerates their literacy learning.

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?

All children, including Māori, benefit from a curriculum that promotes equitable opportunities, their wellbeing, and activities that support success. Curriculum practices and processes are effectively integrated to promote student engagement and achievement with a strong focus on literacy and mathematical learning. Aspects of curriculum practices and processes that support Māori children's engagement and achievement are:

  • a wide range of support programmes that specifically target the learning and developmental needs of individuals and groups of children
  • Māori support staff who work with students with behavioural needs
  • the increasing engagement with parents and whānau in a partnership focused on student engagement and learning
  • students with a wide range of complex learning
  • the development of a culture of high expectations for student behaviour and a shared language to support student engagement
  • strategic long term focus on building teachers' professional capability.

Achievement information for Māori and other children's achievement and progress is well used by:

  • trustees to set good quality strategic targets focused on accelerating progress of children achieving below expected levels and to make informed decisions about school resourcing
  • school leaders to review the effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes and support initiatives
  • teachers to group students for instruction and increasingly to inquire into and improve their effectiveness.

It is important that trustees receive information about the progress made by target groups of children, including Māori, throughout the year.

Parents and whānau are well informed about their children's achievement through comprehensive written reports and meetings with teachers that celebrate their children's progress and achievements. There has been increased participation in school events by parents and whānau of Māori children.

Relationships between teachers and students are respectful, and teachers implement a range of effective strategies that build on children's learning and ideas. School leaders continue to provide effective professional leadership for teachers, trustees and the school community. They have high expectations and set clear guidelines for teaching, learning and for promoting children's wellbeing.

Evaluation, inquiry and accountability are embedded in the culture of the school and well supported by high levels of professionalism and relational trust. The board, senior leaders and teachers are committed to providing equitable opportunities for all students. This commitment is evidenced by:

  • the way the board resources learning programmes to ensure all children benefit from a range of camps and outings in the local and wider region
  • the range of support programmes provided to accelerate student achievement
  • effective systems in the school to keep all children engaged and safe.

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 who need their learning and achievement needs to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Experienced and knowledgeable professional leadership, sound governance, and teachers' commitment to professional learning and accelerating progress for all students contribute to the school's ability to sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for children.

The school is currently being supported through a Student Achievement Facilitator (SAF) MoE initiative to further engage parents and whānau in the learning process and to promote children's active participation in their own learning and learning goals. This initiative is well supported by externally facilitated professional development that began in 2016.

Attention to the following areas is likely to more effectively accelerate progress for all students while maintaining a focus on those achieving below expected levels:

  • the continuation of professional development to improve teachers and children's knowledge and use of learning progressions
  • to embed the school's 'teaching as inquiry' processes that have been trialled in one section of the school in 2015
  • to explore, define and implement the cultural competencies for teachers outlined in the MoE document Tātaiako.

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

6 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.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues with planned professional development for teachers to address the areas outlined in Section 5 of this report. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

24 May 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55%

Girls 45%

Ethnic composition





Other Pacific


Other European










Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

24 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

January 2013

November 2009

November 2007