Bell Block School

Education institution number:
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

31 Bell Block Court, Bell Block, New Plymouth

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Bell Block School - 24/12/2018

School Context

Bell Block School is situated north east of New Plymouth. It has students in Years 1 to 8. The school community represents a range of cultures. At the time of this review, of the 438 children on the roll, 20% are Māori and ten of Pacific heritage.

The school vision statements ‘Kaha I nga wa katoa, Our best always’ is underpinned by the values ‘Respect, Honesty, Helping Others, Fairness and Taking Responsibility’. Restorative practices are the foundation of the school culture.

The 2018-2020 strategic plan prioritises on-going improvement in student achievement with a focus on priority groups, including: Māori and Pacific students; learners with special education needs; and those who are not achieving as well as expected.

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

  • mid-year and end-of-year achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum

  • progress and achievement termly for target learners

  • special/additional learning needs including English Language Learners

  • engagement and wellbeing for success.

The major areas of focus in 2018 and 2019 for leaders’ and teachers’ professional learning and development includes writing development.

The school has undergone staffing and leadership changes since the June 2014 ERO report. There is a new first-time principal supported by two new deputy principals.

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?

Reported information shows the school is achieving equity and excellence for most students. Student achievement data shows most students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

There is disparity between boys and girls, and Māori and their peers, in writing that the school has identified and is focused on addressing in 2018.

The majority of Pacific students achieve at or above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics.

Year 8 outcomes show nearly all students leave Bell Block School achieving at or above expectation.

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

The school is developing its effectiveness in responding to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. In 2018, there are systems established for collecting, analysing and interpreting data to assist in evaluating outcomes for students.

The majority of boys and Māori identified at the start of 2018, have made accelerated progress towards being at expectation in mathematics. Some target students have made accelerated progress in reading.

A well targeted and resourced English Language Learners (ELL) programme has contributed to significant progress in 2018 for these students.

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?

Leadership has established clear and consistent expectations to enable a supportive and collaborative environment conducive to learning and wellbeing. Leaders and teachers focus on ensuring schoolwide practices and processes promote student voice and enable students to learn and achieve at the appropriate level.

The school is relationship focused. Restorative practices and a schoolwide culture of reflection and review for improvement for teachers, students, their families and whānau are embedded. Making connections and building relationships continues to be a priority for the school.

Children learn in settled, inclusive classes. They are supported to become self managing and agents of their learning. Risk taking and problem solving are encouraged. Engaging learning contexts are used to respond to students' interests. Leadership is promoted, student voice is deliberately gathered and their contributions are valued.

Students with complex and additional needs are well known to staff. Specific plans are developed for these children. Goals are linked to social, behavioural and learning needs. Students are effectively supported through individual planning and monitoring, and responded to through relevant interventions and a range of internal and external supports.

Digital tools and resources are used appropriately to support teaching and learning. The pride the students have in their school and the high expectations for learning are reflected in student voice, participation in a range of cultural and sporting opportunities and work displayed.

The school values its distributive leadership model. Developing leadership is promoted and strengths and interests of teachers are recognised and valued.

Focused professional learning is responsive to school needs, aligned to goals and supported by external expertise. Systematic processes used to review school practices include collecting and using the views of trustees, staff, parents and students to prioritise goals and actions for further improvement.

Trustees are actively involved in the school. Equity for all students is prioritised through resourcing and provision of experiences.

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

Leaders should continue to strengthen inquiry and internal evaluation, through a sharper focus on targets, to support leaders, trustees and teachers to know what is working well for individuals and what needs to change to improve outcomes for all children.

The school has identified that further development in understanding and implementing writing assessment for teaching and learning is a priority and professional development is already underway. The school processes should be strengthened by external moderation and continued development of measures for progress and acceleration in writing.

Leadership and staff identify embedding appraisal as a key next step. They have developed a robust framework to ensure the appraisal process and practices are fully implemented. They should ensure that goals continue to promote teacher development and are linked to measurable outcomes for students.

The current documented curriculum appropriately outlines expectations for teaching and learning. The upcoming charter review should enable the school to better reflect its values, context and vision for learning in its enacted curriculum.

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.

Appraisal audit

There is variability in the quality and consistency of the appraisals undertaken.

A framework for appraisal has been developed. It is aligned to the standards. All the required components are built into the framework. Continuing to develop and embed the understanding of the purpose of teacher appraisal is a key next step.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative relationships between leadership and teachers that support and enhance students’ learning and wellbeing

  • identifying individual learning needs of students and providing support to promote achievement of equitable outcomes

  • effective teaching practices and learning environments that are successfully developed and managed to support increased student collaboration, participation and engagement.

Next steps

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

  • a sharper focus on equity targets to allow for an evaluation of achievement, progress, and acceleration to improve outcomes for all

  • reviewing and revising some of the key school documentation, systems and practices that promote positive outcomes for students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

24 December 2018

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Female 50%, Male 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 20%
Pākehā 61%
Pacific 2%
Other ethnic groups 17%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

24 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Education Review April 2011
Education Review December 2008

Bell Block School - 04/06/2014

1 Context

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

Bell Block School caters for Years 1 to 8 students and is situated north east of New Plymouth. The current roll is 337, with 24% of students identifying as Māori. The school recognises the historical significance of its location and acknowledges Te Atiawa as mana whenua.

The whakatauki ‘Kaha i ngā wā katoa – Our Best Always’ underpins curriculum. Restorative practice is embedded in the school culture and supports student wellbeing. The atmosphere is welcoming, inclusive and settled.

Involvement and relationships with the wider community provide students with academic, sporting and cultural opportunities. The school has joint ownership of the community hall and heated indoor pool and uses these in teaching and learning. Grounds are expansive and well maintained.

2 Learning

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

The school reports that the majority of students achieve at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers in reading, but not as well in the two other areas.

Assessment information is used effectively to set annual targets for identified groups of students. Appropriate interventions and programmes are implemented to promote their engagement and achievement and accelerate progress.

Information is collated and analysed each term to monitor performance schoolwide. The principal and staff work together to identify patterns of progress and achievement for individuals and groups. Leaders have identified that their next step is to support teachers to reflect more specifically on the impact of their teaching in promoting positive outcomes for all students.

Teachers collect a useful range of assessment information. They use it to monitor student achievement and plan next steps for teaching and learning. Teams regularly moderate assessments to be confident that judgements are reliable and valid. The 2014 assessment plan includes a focus on building and extending moderation across teams.

Teachers assist students to be self-managing learners. Students know what they are learning, their next steps and what they need to do to improve. They are cooperative and enthusiastic.

A planned and considered process guides reporting to parents. Teachers work positively to engage parents in students’ learning and encourage families' participation in school activities.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum effectively promotes student learning, engagement, progress and achievement. It is based on the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Extensive and ongoing consultation with parents, teachers and students ensures that the curriculum is increasingly reflective of its area and commitment to mana whenua. School values are highly visible in all class programmes. Literacy and mathematics are appropriately prioritised.

Authentic contexts are planned to engage students in learning and promote positive outcomes for them. Programmes are responsive to student needs, strengths, interest and abilities. Students are provided with an extensive range of learning activities, experiences and challenges within a broad curriculum. Programmes for students with special needs and abilities are coordinated and implemented effectively.

Expectations for the quality of teaching across all learning areas are high, clearly defined and collaboratively owned. Leaders know the next step is to support teachers to:

  • develop further knowledge and understanding of tikanga and te ao Māori
  • use te reo Māori more consistently within teaching and learning.

Teaching is high quality and successful in engaging students in meaningful learning. They work confidently and purposefully. Classroom displays celebrate cultural diversity and student effort. Information and communication technologies are used to enhance learning, make connections and access the wider world.

Teachers know their students well. Relationships are positive and interactions amongst teachers and students respectful. Students have opportunities for leadership in class programmes and schoolwide activities. Student leaders are positive role models for their peers.

A flexible and responsive process assists transition of students from early childhood to school. This is well supported by relationships between teachers and local early childhood services.

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

The curriculum promotes opportunities for Māori students to experience success as Māori. Consultation with whānau, hapu and iwi contributes to plans for improving achievement and fostering success. The school responds to opinions and suggestions and evaluates the impact of actions taken. Māori student achievement is reported to whānau and hapu.

Māori students are highly engaged in learning and school life. Strong relationships contribute to their positive attitudes toward school. Teachers have high expectations for Māori students’ success and closely monitor their progress and achievement. Actions have been taken to raise performance in writing and mathematics. Māori students are well represented in school leadership roles.

School leaders support teachers to develop awareness and understanding of strategies that are effective in promoting outcomes for Māori 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.

Self review is purposeful. Findings are used to identify priorities for improvement. Parents, whānau, staff and students contribute to review information. Their opinions are valued and suggestions acted upon.

The recently implemented format to support curriculum review is likely to strengthen evaluation of the curriculum's effectiveness and be useful for future planning. A focus on the impact of planned improvements on student learning will provide greater coherence and rigour to individual and schoolwide self-review processes.

Trustees are well informed about curriculum matters. They use reported information to make resourcing decisions. The charter, strategic and annual plans provide clear direction for school operation, teaching and learning.

The principal leads the school effectively in implementing the vision and goals. Teachers have opportunities to develop their leadership capability and grow practice. Staff development goals are aligned to school priorities and supported by focused professional development.

Teachers are encouraged to reflect on practice, using the Registered Teacher Criteria. Leaders are considering using Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to strengthen these development 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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.Image removed.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

4 June 2014

About the School


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 53%

Male 47%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

4 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2011

December 2008

December 2004