Whitiora School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Education institution number:
2091
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
209
Telephone:
Address:

38 Willoughby Street, Whitiora, Hamilton

View on map

School Context

Whitiora is a long-established school located in central Hamilton. In 2019 the school will celebrate its centenary. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Almost half of the roll of 230 identify as Māori and 11% identify as being of Pacific origin. A diverse range of other ethnicities and cultures are represented. Transience continues to be very significant in the inner city school community.

Since the previous ERO review the principal has remained in his position, a new deputy principal has been appointed and there have been two new middle leaders appointed. There have been some other changes to staff. The school has experienced considerable roll growth.

The school’s vision is ‘We are a community of empowered, connected learners making a difference with ‘HEART.’ Honesty, Engagement, Attitude, Risk-taking, and Thoughtfulness are the ‘HEART’ values which support the school vision. The motto is ‘To Thine Own Self Be True, Whakapono ki a koe.’ 

The school strategic aims are to:

  • build teacher and leader capabilities through collaborative inquiry and effective teaching and learning
  • grow learner agency through culture, identity, partnership, voice and ownership
  • recognise and strengthen powerful connections and transitions with parents, whānau, community and other organisations
  • value diversity, validate culture, languages and identity.

Leaders and teachers have been involved in professional learning and development about positive behaviour for learning (PB4L), wellbeing, spirals of inquiry, leadership and Māori achievement. The school is a member of the He Waka Eke Noa Community of Learning (CoL)|Kāhui Ako.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing, mathematics and wellbeing.

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 outcomes for students.

Achievement information for 2018 shows the majority of students, including Māori and Pacific, are achieving at or above the expected curriculum levels in reading and mathematics and approximately half in writing. Information gathered by the school about student wellbeing showed a significant majority of students have a positive view of their learning, the school and of their relationships with teachers.

There is disparity in achievement for boys in all areas and for Māori and Pacific students as compared to Pākehā in reading and mathematics. Overall achievement information from 2016-2018 shows there has been an improvement in achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

The school is accelerating the learning of a few Māori and other students who need it. The 2018 school achievement information shows approximately one fifth of at-risk Māori and other learners made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Students with additional needs are making expected progress against their individual goals.

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?

Strategic leadership guides school operations effectively. Leaders actively promote the school’s vision and values. These are highly visible and integrated into every aspect of the school life. Leaders have developed explicit expectations for curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment. They have implemented comprehensive systems and processes to support the identification, monitoring and evaluation of student achievement.

Leaders deliberately build collective capability and collaboration within the school community. They access targeted professional learning and development that is aligned to school goals focused on raising achievement. Involvement in the Kāhui Ako is supporting the sharing of best practice. Leaders have developed an inclusive school culture focused on wellbeing and positive learning outcomes for students. There is a sense of urgency in responding to student needs.

The school responds well to parent and whānau aspirations. Increasing parent and whānau involvement with the school is supporting positive outcomes for students. Whānau engagement and participation in the school is actively encouraged through termly parent, teacher and student conferencing, along with regular hui with Māori whānau which focus on student learning. The diverse languages and cultures in the school community are recognised and valued.

The curriculum is responsive to students’ wellbeing and enhances engagement in learning. Strategies for enhancing wellbeing are explicitly taught to support this priority. Students with identified needs or abilities, including those for whom English is an additional language, are well-catered for. The school actively seeks external expertise to support the needs of students at-risk. Māori students’ language, culture and identity are valued and an integral part of the curriculum. All students experience respectful and caring learning environments that are responsive to their needs.

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

The school needs to place priority on the consistent implementation of their documented teaching and learning expectations. While ERO observed many examples of teachers using a wide range of effective teaching strategies which reflect school expectations, this was not consistent across the school.

Leaders are closely monitoring the progress and acceleration of all students. There is a need to further refine board targets to more specifically identify those students at risk of not achieving and to monitor and report to the board on the accelerated progress of these students on a regular basis.

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 Whitiora School’sperformance 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:

  • school leadership that provides a strategic approach to accelerating achievement in an inclusive environment
  • parent/whānau involvement that promotes a collaborative approach to support learning and wellbeing
  • a broad curriculum that enables students to enjoy success in a range of learning experiences.

Next steps

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

  • extending effective teaching and learning practices to promote consistency across the school
  • further refining school-wide targets to more specifically focus on accelerating progress for at-risk students.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

9 July 2019

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

2091

School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

230

Gender composition

Male 52%

Female 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori 47%
Fijian 2%
Tongan 2%
Cook Island Māori 2%
Samoan 5%
South East Asian 3%
Indian 15%
Other Asian 3%
NZ European/Pākehā 14%
Filipino 2%
Other 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

9 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review May 2013

1 Context

Whitiora School is located in central Hamilton and provides an education for students from Years 1 to 8. The school has a roll of 163 children and 57 are of Māori descent. In addition, there are 29 children of Pacific descent, 37 Indian and 12 Asian, of whom a significant proportion are English as Second Language Learners (ELL).

The school has two purpose-built centres designed to facilitate teaching in modern learning environments. The experienced principal and deputy principal are long serving leaders for the school. A new board of trustees has been elected in June 2016.

The school is a member of the newly formed North West Hamilton Community of Learners. This group of nine schools will work together to raise the achievement of all students with a particular focus on accelerating progress of boys and Māori.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for them to be members of a community of empowered connected learners making a difference. These outcomes are underpinned by the school's whakataukī, 'whakapono ki a koe.' The school states that it celebrates the New Zealand bicultural heritage and the diversity of its multicultural community.

The school's 2015 achievement information shows that a significant number of Māori students are not achieving at the expected National Standards (41/56). This pattern of low achievement in reading, writing and mathematics (2013 to 2015) is similar for Pacific (19/26). Over half of the 44 Asian/Indian and European children are achieving at and above the National Standards.

The school reports that in 2015 it enrolled 102 children and recorded 90 withdrawals. The school has evaluated the progress of children who have remained at the school for more than one year, and reports that the proportion of these children achieving expected levels has increased. For 2015, in reading 8/22 Māori and 4/13 Pacific have made accelerated progress in the year. In writing 6/22 Māori and 2/13 Pacific, while in mathematics it is 4/22 Māori and 3/13 Pacific children.

Leaders of learning have participated in external professional development to strengthen moderation processes. They support teachers to use evidence from multiple sources to make Overall Teacher Judgements (OTJs) about each child's achievement in relation to National Standards.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • implemented an improved electronic system for managing student achievement information
  • reviewed and strengthened written reports to parents on their child's achievement
  • continued to develop culturally responsive practices across the school
  • continued the integration of digital technologies into learning centre programmes
  • extended the opportunities for teachers to participate in professional development in aspects of literacy.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has identified and implemented specific initiatives to better respond to Māori children whose progress needs acceleration. They have an ongoing monitoring process in place and can identify current progress for these children in 2016 in reading, writing and mathematics.

Currently charter targets are expressed as an intention to increase the proportion of students at and above the expected levels of achievement. School leaders recognise that to accelerate student progress, they need more specific targets focused on at risk learners. More clearly defined targets and expected action, is likely to enable trustees, leaders and teachers to monitor and evaluate individual and overall progress and achievement.

Leaders have identified low levels of oral language as a school-wide trend. The provision of professional development for teachers in this area, and additional funding for teacher aide support is leading to intentional teaching in oral language.

In 2016 the school leaders and teachers introduced a targeted action plan to accelerate the achievement of identified Māori students. Assessment information is analysed against expected levels of achievement to identify those children below and well below. Teachers consult with parents and plan strategies and resources for individuals and small groups of children in response to identified learning needs in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

The school has identified and implemented specific initiatives to better respond to Pacific and other children whose progress needs acceleration. School leaders and teacher have taken the same approach to identifying and planning support for Pacific and other children, as has been recently implemented for Māori children. Targeted actions plans for children and teaching as inquiry initiatives are showing some good outcomes of accelerated progress being made.

Effective systems are in place for identifying the level of English language for children whose first language is not English. These children receive additional support from an appropriately qualified teacher who also provides guidance for teachers in ELL strategies. The board has provided resources to allow teacher aides to undertake professional development to support these learners. Data gathered over time indicates that many of these children make accelerated progress at expected levels.

The school reports that children who have experienced repeated changes of school are over represented in the at risk category of learners on entry. Leaders and teachers ensure that the learning needs of these children are promptly identified, and appropriate strategies are developed and implemented. Data shows that the progress of these children is adversely affected by their short period of attendance at the school. 

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school is working towards meeting its goals and targets for equity and excellence, and acknowledges that there is still more work to do.

The principal and senior leaders have successfully established and maintained a school culture where children are valued and celebrated for who they are and what they bring to their learning. There is an increasing awareness of the importance of engaging parents and whānau as contributing partners in their children's learning. The school has reviewed and modified its process for reporting to parents and whānau. Children's participation in parent teacher meetings allow them to be involved in setting goals for their learning. Teachers know children and their families well and successfully establish respectful, caring and affirming relationships.

Innovative learning environments are promoting for teachers an opportunity to provide greater flexibility of curriculum delivery. Children are highly engaged in their learning activities, which are planned to respond to their interests and identified needs. Mixed-age settings of the learning centres promote the tuakana-teina principle where children engage with younger and older peers. Teachers share the purpose of learning and encourage increasing independence, particularly in older children. They are maintaining a strong focus on literacy and numeracy in their programmes.

The Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) effectively coordinates the support programmes and interventions for children with identified special learning needs. This includes extensive liaison with external agencies that support equitable outcomes for these children and their families. Transition programmes into the school from early childhood education centres and to secondary school effectively support parents, whānau and their children.

School leaders model and articulate the value of engaging in ongoing professional learning. They ensure that all staff have opportunities to be involved in quality professional learning and development. The principal has guided the revision of the appraisal process, which gives importance to teachers reflecting on their practice through teaching as inquiry.

A next step for school leaders is to review the effectiveness of quality assurance processes to ensure that agreed expectations for professional practice are being effectively and consistently implemented.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • need to systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • need to have a plan in place to build teacher capability to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

Strengths are:

  • the experienced and well-informed senior leadership team
  • the shared commitment of teachers to the learning and wellbeing of all children, reflected in significant participation in professional learning and education reading
  • the well-resourced environment for learning and teaching including digital technologies
  • membership of the Community of Learning (CoL).

Challenges are:

  • to develop shared and agreed understanding of effective teaching practices most likely to raise achievement and accelerate progress
  • to develop more specific targets that are focused on at risk learners in each learning centre and aligned to revised school-wide targets
  • strengthen the role of whānau and parents as active partners in their children's learning.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop more targeted planning to accelerate student achievement. Planning should show how processes and practices will respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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 Recommendations

School leaders will work with teachers and the board to address the following matters:

  • Develop more specific targets focused on priority learners in each learning centre and aligned to revised overall school targets.
  • Strengthen the school's existing action plan placing greater and more specific emphasis on the expectation for accelerating learning for identified at risk learners.
  • Review the effectiveness of quality assurance processes so that the school leaders are certain that agreed expectations for professional practice are being effectively and consistently implemented.
  • Strengthen the role of whānau and parents as active partners in their children's learning. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

3 November 2016

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

2091

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

163

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Indian

Pacific

Pākehā

Asian

Other

36%

23%

16%

11%

8%

6%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

3 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

April 2010

May 2007