Geraldine Primary School

Geraldine Primary School - 24/05/2019

School Context

Geraldine Primary School is for Years 1 to 6 students from the town and surrounding rural areas. It has a roll of 296 students, 38 of whom are Māori and 29 of other ethnicities.

The vision of the school is: ‘Desire to learn, Aspire to achieve’. Its values are for students to be: ‘Caring, Achieving, Respectful and Responsible’ citizens. The school’s valued outcomes are for students to strive for personal excellence, be effective communicators and team players, confidently face challenges, and have a strong sense of who they are.

The strategic goals for 2019 are focused on enhancing the use of digital technologies; supporting smooth transitions into, through and out of the school; and, ensuring the health and wellbeing of students and staff.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • wellbeing

  • progress of students who receive learning support.

Since ERO’s 2015 review, the school has a new board. School staffing has remained stable over several years. The school has initiated work to address all the recommendations from the previous review. While significant progress has been made in most areas, some of this work is ongoing.

The school is a member and the principal is the lead principal of the Ka Awa Whiria Kāhui Ako |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 provides equitable opportunities for all students to learn. However, disparity exists for some Māori students and boys in literacy.

The school’s achievement data shows that over the last three years most students have achieved at or above the school’s expectations in reading and writing, and the majority in mathematics. Disparity over the last three years is evident for boys and Māori students in literacy. An upward trend in achievement is evident for Māori students in mathematics, with little difference between them and their non-Māori peers in 2018.

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

The school effectively identifies, tracks and closely monitors the progress of individual students and can show good levels of acceleration for those who need extra support to succeed. While analysis and collation of this information is occurring, some of this information needs to be further analysed to better show how successful the school has been in accelerating the progress of these students overall.

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?

Through a sustained strategic focus, the school effectively promotes children’s wellbeing. Children learn in a positive and supportive learning environment. The school is inclusive and welcoming. Children learn in settled and well-managed classrooms where they are able to focus on their learning. They know and show the school values.

There are very effective systems to identify, monitor and support children who need extra help to succeed in their learning. Teachers know each child well as an individual and as a learner. They use assessment practices well to target their teaching. Children with additional learning needs are very well supported. Those needing extension take part in a range of engaging programmes to enrich their learning.

Children benefit from a wide variety of learning experiences and opportunities. Māori language and culture are valued in the school environment and events, and within the classroom. As a result, Māori children in the school feel proud in their identity as Māori. Older children are encouraged and supported to develop their leadership skills.

The school’s strategic and annual plans clearly set out the direction and priorities for school development. School goals are intentionally aligned to Kāhui Ako goals. Within the school there is also strong alignment from strategic goals and priorities to other practices, such as professional learning and appraisal.

The principal and other senior leaders have implemented very effective school-wide systems. There is a systematic approach to introducing new initiatives and curriculum developments, such as digital technology, te ao Māori and wellbeing. There are well-considered systems to build consistent practices and understandings across the school.

Amongst the staff, there is a collaborative and collegial culture. Teachers are supported to take on leadership roles. Their skills and strengths are valued and used to lead different curriculum areas or other developments.

There is useful regular and evaluative review of each curriculum area informing ongoing improvement. Students’, parents’ and staff contribute to this. The school consulted widely when developing its desired learner profile. This profile explicitly recognises the voice of Māori whānau.

The school has effective governance practices. Trustees have relevant work skills and knowledge, and a sound understanding of effective governance.

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

The school’s charter targets should focus on accelerating the progress of all students who are below expectations. Leaders need to show and report how successfully the school has accelerated the learning of children who have not reached these expectations.

Leaders and teachers should extend internal evaluation to cover other aspects of teaching, learning and school priorities. Formal observations of teaching need to become part of the appraisal process.

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 Geraldine Primary 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:

  • strategic and annual planning which clearly set out the direction and priorities for school development
  • a strong collaborative and collegial culture which is highly evident throughout the school
  • a positive learning environment that supports students’ wellbeing and engagement.

Next steps

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

  • achieving equity for all groups in the school and raising levels of achievement overall to improve outcomes for students
  • using data from a range of sources, for internal evaluation, that better identifies what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

24 May 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54%, Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 13%
NZ European/Pākehā 77%
Asian 4%
Other ethnicities 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

24 May 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2015
Education Review December 2012
Education Review June 2009

Geraldine Primary School - 21/12/2015


Students at Geraldine Primary School enjoy their rich and varied curriculum. They learn in an inclusive, positive and caring school culture. Overall, students achieve well. Student achievement is closely monitored. There are high-quality student learning support programmes in place. Staff and students take great pride in their school. The school is well governed and led.

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

1 Context

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

Geraldine Primary is a Years 1 to 6 contributing school within the South Canterbury town of Geraldine. School programmes align well with some local initiatives, for example “Incredible Edible Geraldine”. The school hall is used by the local community. An enrolment scheme is in place which means the school roll changes little. Class sizes are well managed with numbers kept low in the junior school.

Students and staff are welcoming and friendly. Students benefit from an inclusive, positive school culture. A school-wide positive-behaviour programme is in place. This is ensuring that the school’s values of ‘caring, achieving, respect and responsibility’ are known, enacted, recognised and celebrated by staff and students. There is strong support for the wellbeing of staff, families and students. Students and staff told ERO that they ‘love Geraldine Primary School’.

Since the last ERO review in 2012, a new principal and deputy principal have been appointed. Most trustees are new. In addition, some other leadership roles have changed. These changes have been carefully managed. The school is well resourced. Every student has access to ICT as a learning tool. The school grounds are very well maintained. Students are proud of and enjoy their garden plots and the school environment. The school’s focus on caring for the environment and supporting sustainability is clearly evident in learning programmes.

Teachers are extending connections beyond the school to enrich students’ learning. Community partnerships support and enhance this learning. Partnerships between home and school have been strengthened. The school values the ways in which parents, other local schools and organisations contribute to programmes and activities. Key examples of this include:

  • the recent introduction of student learning conferences with parents and teachers
  • partnerships with local early childhood centres, schools and the polytechnic where expertise and activities are shared.

The school continues to provide well for its students. Positive progress since the last ERO report in 2012 has been closely monitored and reported on. Leaders and trustees seek and act on external advice and guidance.

2 Learning

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

Since the last ERO review in 2012, there has been an increased focus on the use of student achievement at classroom level by teachers and leaders.

School-wide information from 2014 shows that over three quarters of students were achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and writing. Slightly fewer students were achieving at this level in mathematics. Raising student achievement in mathematics is a current school focus. There are early indications that this is being successful for students, particularly in the junior school.

Students at the senior level can confidently describe how well they are achieving and their next learning steps. They have useful systems and frameworks to help them assess their own learning. Students ERO spoke with enjoyed participating in recently introduced meetings with their parents and teachers, where learning and progress goals are set.

Teachers use very good school-wide systems to track and monitor each student’s achievement and progress. Student achievement information is being used by teachers very effectively to target the achievement and progress of students below the National Standards in mathematics and reading. The progress of these students is regularly reported to leaders.

Leaders have reviewed and improved reporting formats to parents about students’ achievement and progress in relation to the National Standards. They are coordinating syndicate reviews to update other leaders and sometimes the board, about what is going well or can be improved for students.

The next steps for leaders and teachers are to:

  • extend the school-wide analysis, interpretation and reporting of student achievement information to include the progress students, including that of targeted groups, have made by mid-year and the end of the year
  • redefine school charter targets to more clearly show the school’s focus on raising the achievement of all students achieving below expected levels
  • ensure school-wide student achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics is reported to the school community annually.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and supporting student learning. The following areas of strength support this judgement:

  • the rich curriculum makes very good use of the local environment, resources and expertise
  • recent curriculum developments in literacy, mathematics and the inquiry approach to learning integrated skills has resulted in clear, progressive guidelines for teachers
  • a significant increase in outdoor education learning experiences beyond the classroom benefit students in years 4 to 6.

Students’ learning needs and abilities are well supported and provided for. High-quality programmes and interventions are very well managed by the Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO). Students benefit from this. Leaders and teachers effectively identify and monitor these students. Students and teachers are well supported by experienced, skilled and valued teacher aides.

Students’ learning is well supported by:

  • parents and the wider local community who contribute to their programmes inside and outside the classroom
  • the many opportunities they have to participate in activities with students from other local schools
  • the increased range of learning activities for students with special abilities
  • classroom environments and good-quality teaching which provide students with a wide range of opportunities to learn.

Teachers work well together. They plan collaboratively within syndicates, sharing ideas and developing units of work. The recently developed comprehensive framework for mathematics, writing and integrated learning is an example of this. Through effective syndicate leadership, there are stronger school-wide systems in place for consistency of practice. The teachers regularly attend useful professional development chosen specifically to improve students' learning in the areas of greatest need.

Areas for development

Leaders and teachers should:

  • ensure curriculum reviews focus on and report outcomes for students
  • include a greater Māori language and culture perspective in the curriculum and units of work.

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

Māori students participate fully in the school programme. Their achievement compares well with their peers. Positive relationships are being built with whānau within and beyond the school. In recent years, Māori whānau have worked hard to increase the appreciation and awareness of Māori language, identity and culture throughout the school. The impact of this has been significant for students and teachers, at the leadership level and within the board of trustees.

Aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori are now becoming a regular part of school practice. Concepts such as manaakitanga (caring) and whanaungatanga (family-like relationships) are very evident particularly when the school welcomes visitors and new students. The kapa haka group gives all students the opportunity to experience aspects of Māori culture and the group is well supported by students and the community.

A whānau committee of teachers, leaders and a parent, oversees the development of bicultural practices at the school. The committee is committed to supporting students and teachers to continue to develop their skills and confidence around te ao Māori.

Area for review and development

The whānau committee and ERO agree that leaders need to develop a comprehensive, progressive plan to support the school to implement, monitor and fully resource bicultural development. This should include appropriate consultation processes. Progress with implementing the plan should be monitored to ensure positive outcomes for students.

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 board and school leaders are focused on building and supporting high-quality teaching and learning for all students. Trustees understand their roles and responsibilities and access external professional support to develop their skills. The principal works well with the board to ensure good systems are in place to make it easy for teachers to focus on student learning.

Other ways leaders support teachers and students include:

  • revising governance documents
  • taking a measured approach when making change
  • resourcing significant support for learners with particular needs
  • strengthening teachers’ appraisal processes.

Leaders and teachers have conducted some useful reviews and are open to reconsidering existing practices. This has had a positive impact on students and practices at the school. Reviews may be further improved by developing and documenting guidelines to support the review processes.

The board and leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that their next steps should include:

  • developing a new charter with a strategic plan and annual planning that reflects the school’s key priorities
  • agreeing on the school’s vision and values for learners, in consultation with the community
  • continuing to strengthen teachers’ appraisal.

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.


Students at Geraldine Primary School enjoy their rich and varied curriculum. They learn in an inclusive, positive and caring school culture. Overall, students achieve well. Student achievement is closely monitored. There are high-quality student learning support programmes in place. Staff and students take great pride in their school. The school is well governed and led.

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

Chris Rowe,

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting),

21 December 2015

School Statistics


Geraldine, South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 55%

Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition









Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

21 December 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

June 2009

May 2006