Redwoodtown School

Redwoodtown School - 30/06/2017


Redwoodtown School is a full primary school with a roll of 299 children that includes 63 Māori and 50 Pacific children.

A new principal was appointed in February 2016. The new chairperson is an experienced board member. Four new trustees joined the board after the last election.

The school has made good progress in addressing the recommendations identified in ERO’s 2013 report. This includes increased aspects of te ao Māori within the curriculum, improved tracking of children’s progress and achievement, and evidenced-based practices for internal evaluation.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all children. Learning support programmes strategically support those children not achieving at the National Standards.

School leaders and teachers are strongly focused on accelerating the progress and achievement of all children. Effective systems are in place to track children’s progress and to monitor the success of programmes specifically planned to support equitable outcomes for all children.

School leaders have made good use of internal evaluation practices to identify key areas for development that include:

  • increasing the rigour of appraisal by incorporating teaching as inquiry in the process
  • further strengthening moderation through collaboration across schools
  • ensuring specific training is provided to support new trustees in their stewardship role.

At the time of this review, the school’s processes and systems to achieve equity and excellence, or address disparities, were in place. The main area of concern was a number of students at risk of poor educational outcomes in writing and mathematics. School leaders, teachers and the board are relentlessly addressing these concerns.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school is responding to Māori and Pacific children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. School leaders are highly committed to raising achievement and accelerating children’s progress towards the National Standards.

Achievement information indicates that some children have made significant progress moving from well below to below or from below to at the National Standards. Targeted learning support is provided for Māori and Pacific children whose learning needs to be accelerated. Pacific children are receiving support in learning the English language.

Leaders and teachers use a range of assessments to monitor children’s learning and progress. Professional development in literacy and mathematics has strengthened teacher practice in supporting children who are below the National Standards. Training in moderation has sharpened the focus on expected levels of achievement. Trends in achievement have fluctuated as a result of this heightened expectation.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has a range of systems and processes in place that effectively enable achievement of equity and excellence. The school’s vision and values are well integrated into school documents and are evident in the interactions between children and staff.

Other key aspects that are promoting equity and excellence include:

  • a curriculum that is clearly focused on effective teaching and learning

  • an inclusive environment based on positive relationships with children and their families

  • the incorporation of Māori values such as manaakitanga to support wellbeing and engagement

  • expert tuition and support by members of the Māori and Pacific communities

  • professional learning groups for teachers, strengthening their shared knowledge for all children.

School leaders and teachers actively contribute to the wider teaching community through their involvement in the Piritahi Community of Learning. The board and school leaders strategically set goals that support children’s learning and wellbeing.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The school has introduced useful processes to achieve equity and excellence. While a number of these are still being embedded into school practice, some require further attention.

The teaching as inquiry approach does not align with the school’s appraisal process. Teachers critically reflect on the impact of their practice and this useful information could form an important part of their appraisals.

The school has not moderated their overall judgements about children’s achievement levels with other schools. This collaboration across schools is likely to increase the consistency and rigour of decisions about achievement levels from school to school.

The board of nearly all new trustees have had training. Expert advice and guidance must be used to build their knowledge and confidence in their stewardship role. This includes monitoring and evaluating the impact of the decisions and initiatives the board introduces or supports.

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
  • 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.

Going forward

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

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for Maori and/or other children remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children's learning and achievement.


To support the school’s ongoing efforts to raise overall levels of achievement, ERO will work with the school to: 

  • provide an internal evaluation workshop
  • monitor the impact of plans and programmes to raise achievement.

ERO also recommends that the MoE work with the school, through a Student Achievement Facilitator, to provide ongoing support for raising student achievement. 

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

30 June 2017 

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 56%

Girls: 44%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 54%

Māori 21%

Pacific 16%

Asian 5%

Other 4%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review


April 2013

March 2010


Redwoodtown School - 23/04/2013

1 Context

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

Redwoodtown School, situated in Blenheim, is a full primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 8. The school has a growing roll, and a stable staff and board. It occupies large, well maintained and resourced grounds which have areas to support students’ physical growth.

A sense of community and belonging are important to those associated with the school. A focus on the arts is a distinguishing feature of the curriculum. The school also focuses on sustainable environments and students maintain well-cared for communal, eco-friendly areas.

The school’s ERO reporting history shows steady growth in a positive culture for learning and planned responses to findings and recommendations in the March 2010 ERO report. Since 2010, leaders and teachers have undertaken professional learning in areas of identified priority and need, including the teaching of writing.

2 Learning

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

Redwoodtown School uses student data well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The school has developed sound systems for collecting, collating and analysing of student achievement data. This information is used to set both syndicate goals and school targets. Student attendance is monitored, reported and absences acted on.

Clear guidelines for assessment assist classroom teachers. End of year data for 2012, shows that in relation to National Standards two thirds of students achieve at or above for reading. Numbers for writing and mathematics are slightly lower. The school has identified these areas as target areas for 2013. Clear targets identify boys, specific year groups and Pacific students as focus groups for acceleration of progress.

Data is used in classrooms to group students in reading and mathematics and to identify student needs. Students receiving additional support are also identified and their progress tracked. Students with special needs are well supported through the Individual Educational Programme (IEP) process and by teacher aides. These students learn alongside their peers within classroom programmes.

Parents receive clear reports that indicate their child’s progress in relation to National Standards. Students are encouraged to lead goal setting and three-way conferencing with their parents.

Classrooms are settled environments where students take an active role in their learning. School values are clearly integrated into classroom programmes. Most students have a good understanding of effective learners’ behaviours and these were observed in most classrooms.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum plan and supporting documents provide clear guidelines for teaching. The school’s vision of “Effective Learners, Effective Citizens”, together with The New Zealand Curriculum, form the basis of the school curriculum. Skills to support the implementation of this vision are well defined and documented.

The introduction of an arts programme, which accesses and incorporates community expertise, successfully increases and enhances the range of learning opportunities for students. In addition, students take a leading role in the development and care of the school’s environment. Well-kept kitchen gardens, orchard and vineyard are evidence of ongoing student involvement.

Teachers actively build and maintain a constructive classroom environment and use a range of effective teaching strategies. Students have a wide range of learning experiences both inside and outside the classroom. Recently introduced restorative practices have had a positive impact on student behaviour.

Through a recent fono, attended by aiga and Pacific educators, school leaders are beginning to develop partnerships with Pacific families. Teachers and students are developing their use of Tongan and Samoan greetings and phrases. An action plan has been developed to provide teachers with professional learning to increase their knowledge of Pacific culture, language and identity and support the inclusion of appropriate contexts in teaching and learning programmes. The school’s next step is to give priority to the development of specific teaching strategies to accelerate the achievement of Pacific students.

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

Māori student achievement in relation to National Standards is similar to, or better than, schoolwide results.

The school has developed culturally responsive, schoolwide initiatives that promote success for Māori as Māori. These include an active kapa haka group, a camp for Year 4 students annually at the local marae, classes in te reo Māori and the development and promotion of a Ki-o-Rahi tournament between local schools.

School leaders are working to improve ways of sharing information about school initiatives with whānau and the wider Māori community. An action plan is in place to guide future development. Teachers and school leaders have identified the need to better include te ao Māori in the teaching programmes. ERO affirms this as an area for development.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Redwoodtown School is well placed to sustain gains made since the previous ERO review and continue to improve its performance. Leadership, by the board chair, principal and senior leaders, is student-focused, collaborative and effective. They share the vision, goals and expectations for student learning and wellbeing. The school’s strategic plan and annual plan are clearly linked and provide an effective framework to guide the school’s future direction.

The senior leadership team are reflective and improvement-focused and there is an emergent understanding of the importance of in-depth, strategic self review.

Positive relationships exist between the principal and the community and the school is responsive to community input. A variety of strategies is used to stimulate parent and community interest in the school and students’ achievements.

There is a demonstrated commitment to bicultural practices for all students.

Teachers have begun to inquire into their practice using focus groups of students and are developing their teaching as inquiry practices. Suitable templates guide the practice but more in-depth analysis of data, together with the identification and use of specific teaching strategies used to bring about improved outcomes, is a next step.

Developments, identified by school leaders and ERO, likely to lead to school improvement relate to the development of evidence-based, self-review practices. Areas identified for review include:

  • growing links and understanding between syndicates, including moderation of overall teacher judgements for students' progress and achievement against National Standards
  • further use of data to better inform target setting and resourcing, monitor and evaluate the impact of interventions to improve student outcomes and to direct and develop teaching programmes within classrooms
  • improved appraisal processes which include a continued focus on, and improvement in, teaching as inquiry practices.

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 three years.Image removed.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region (Acting)

23 April 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 54%

Female 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākeha




Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

23 April 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

April 2007

September 2004