Wakefield School

Wakefield School - 22/01/2018

School Context

Wakefield School is a long-established, rural school for children in Years 1 to 6. The school has a roll of 278 children. Close to 20% of children enter or leave the school within the year.

The school’s vision is for children to be confident, life-long learners. The valued outcomes for children are to have the competencies, skills, knowledge and dispositions to achieve the school’s learner profile. This is underpinned by the following values:

  • showing respect

  • taking responsibility

  • aiming high

  • never giving up

  • doing the right thing.

The school’s aims and goals include raising achievement for all children through an effective curriculum that engages learners and continuous improvement through review.

The school’s targets:

  • to specifically raise achievement in writing and mathematics against National Standards:
  • to increase the percentage of students at or above the National Standards
  • for Māori students to achieve National Standards if below or well below and engage in tikanga Māori.

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

  • achievement in relation to the National Standards

  • engagement, progress and achievement of target children

  • student perceptions about their learning, school-wide attendance and use of the library.

Since the 2014 ERO review, there have been some senior leadership changes including the appointment of a new deputy principal. The board is made up of experienced and new trustees.

Leaders have established relationships with a number of local agencies. The school has been involved with two Ministry of Education support programmes, including Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) and research funding provided through the New Zealand Teacher Led Innovation Fund (TILF).

Some children learn in open and flexible spaces. School facilities, such as the swimming pool, hall and library are shared with the community.

The school is a member of Kāhui Ako ki Waimea | Community of Learning (CoL).The principal has a shared leadership role of this CoL.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is very effectively achieving equitable and positive outcomes for children.

Over the last three years, more than 80% of children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. A greater proportion of girls achieved this in writing than boys. There is a decrease in the disparity in boys writing with respect to National Standards for 2017.

Overall, Māori children are achieving at similar or higher levels to other students across the school. Almost all Māori children, at the mid-point progress assessments for 2017, are at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

The school very effectively responds to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school has high quality information about the progress and achievement of individual children.

Within 2017, there is evidence to show that two thirds of the children who were reading below or well below the National Standards have made accelerated progress. Close to 40% made accelerated progress in writing and mathematics.

The school can show that for the small number of Māori children who were below the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics, they have made positive progress.

For those children in the writing target group, some students have made accelerated progress so far in 2017.

The school is yet to show for this year accelerated progress for target children in relation to the mathematics. However, learning information clearly shows that there has been significant improvement in students’ confidence and attitude to mathematics.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has many processes and practices that are very effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence. These relate to the school’s engaging curriculum, approaches to building capability and knowledge and its relentless focus on improvement.

There is strong, improvement-focused leadership in the school. The principal, board and teachers have a clear vision and aspirations for learners that are well supported by coherent plans and practices. Trusting relationships and effective communication are evident at every level of the school. This fosters strong collaboration, risk taking and openness to change.

Children benefit from a rich, broad curriculum that is very well documented and planned. The curriculum is deliberately aligned to the school’s vision and valued outcomes for learners. School leaders and teachers place strong emphasis on the key competencies from the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) by developing and embedding self-awareness in learners. Collaborative teaching and learning supports children to become self-managing and directed learners.

Leaders and teachers respond in meaningful ways to children’s needs, abilities, wellbeing and interests. Children with additional needs are well supported to achieve their goals and personal best. Children have many opportunities to develop leadership skills by supporting each other and leading learning. They work closely together to co-construct their learning.

Shared learning (mahi tahi) energises teachers and leaders allowing them to be innovative, collaborative and flexible. Leaders and teachers are purposefully involved in relevant professional learning and development that is well aligned to school priorities. They regularly engage in whole-school moderation to ensure the consistency of teacher’s assessment judgements.

School leaders and teachers have built strong partnerships with the local community. The community is highly supportive of the school and children’s learning. Leaders and teachers create purposeful partnerships with parents that benefit children’s learning. School personnel contribute positively and in an ongoing way to the wider education community.

The principal, teachers and children strengthen and share leadership across the school promoting ownership and sustainable practices. Leaders and teachers gather relevant data and information, including research, as a basis for the effective evaluation processes within the school.

The principal and trustees ensure their strategic approaches and deliberate programmes of action are strongly improvement and future focused. The board’s decision making and resourcing is contributing to equitable opportunities for all children.

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

The next step for the school is to extend (beyond the target children) the analysis, evaluation and reporting of learner outcome information, particularly with respect to the sufficiency and expectations of progress school-wide and for specific groups such as:

  • girls and boys

  • children from different ethnic groups

  • those receiving learning support

  • those not at national expectations

  • children who enter the school with in the year.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • providing a very positive and inclusive school culture, building meaningful relationships with each child and family as partners in learning

  • the strongly engaging and rich curriculum that inspires children to become self-directed learners

  • collaborative practices that build teacher capacity and capability and promote positive outcomes for children

  • strong improvement-focused professional leadership that extends leadership across the school to promote ownership and sustainability.

Next steps

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

extending the analysis, evaluation and reporting of learner outcome information, particularly with respect to the sufficiency and expectations for progress school-wide and for specific groups, to better inform the board, teachers and parents about what promotes progress for all learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in four-to-five years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

22 January 2018

About the school


Wakefield, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary School (Years 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Males: 146

Females: 132

Ethnic composition

Māori: 11%

Pākehā: 88%

Pacific: 1%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

22 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2014

Education Review November 2010

Education Review September 2007

Wakefield School - 26/05/2014

1 Context

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

Wakefield School is a long-established, semi-rural school near Nelson. School facilities, such as a covered swimming pool, hall and library are shared with the community.

The school makes extensive use of the local and wider community resources, expertise and environment to enrich students’ learning experiences, particularly in sport, other outdoor pursuits and the arts.

A new principal was appointed at the beginning of Term 2, 2013. With staff, he is building on the many good aspects of the school’s past performance and managing a significant period of change to the way teachers teach and students learn.

Parts of the school are being remodelled in Term 1, 2014 to provide new teaching and learning spaces in line with the school’s goal of providing a modern, future-focused learning environment.

Parents continue to be valued as key partners in students’ learning. Communication with parents is being strengthened. They are kept well informed about new approaches and developments.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to promote students’ learning.

Teachers know students well and seek the best ways to extend their learning. A range of reliable assessments and practices are used to identify students’ strengths and needs and plan programmes.

The school’s achievement information indicates that most students are achieving at or above the expected National Standards and have made good progress since 2011, particularly in writing and mathematics. Achievement at the school compares favourably with achievement in the Tasman region and nationally.

Students who have not reached the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics are closely monitored and supported to lift their achievement. Students with special abilities are challenged and extended in a range of ways.

Annual targets are set by the board for some groups of students that need to make faster progress.

Student achievement and progress are reported to parents at regular intervals throughout the year. Students are appropriately involved in this process. These reports provide parents with useful ways to support their children’s learning at home.

Areas for development and review

Students’ involvement in assessing and reporting their learning could be extended further. Teachers should consistently develop and share expected outcomes with students so that they can monitor their own progress towards these and know what they need to do to improve.

The quality and usefulness of the board’s annual targets could be strengthened by including more students who are not achieving at the expected National Standard.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides many rich and varied experiences that engage and motivate students and support their learning.

The school’s vision, values and expectations for successful learning, developed in consultation with the school’s community, are actively promoted and contribute to a positive school culture.

At the time of this review, the school’s curriculum was undergoing considerable redevelopment. This development was in its early stages. Changes have been made to the organisation of classes and programmes so that students have greater choice about what, where and how they learn. These changes, including the introduction of modern learning environments, are well considered, based on up-to-date research and are being introduced in a measured way.

Teachers focus on putting students at the centre of their learning by deepening their understanding and involvement in decision making. An inquiry-focused approach allows students to investigate areas of interest and lead their own learning. For example, a camp held on the school grounds and a market day were planned and organised by students.

Students’ views are sought and acted upon. Many students have already reported increased interest and engagement in their learning since the introduction of new approaches to teaching and learning. They also have increasing opportunities to support the learning of their peers and younger students.

Curriculum reviews have led to improvements in teaching practices especially in literacy and mathematics. Teachers have made numerous changes to their teaching to respond more effectively to students’ needs and strengths. Environmental education has been given greater emphasis in 2014. The school is well resourced with technologies to support learning and teaching.

Student wellbeing is strongly supported. The staff, chaplain and outside agencies work together to ensure that students are well cared for and able to engage successfully in their learning. Positive and supportive relationships provide students with a sense of security and belonging.

Areas for review and development

School leaders and teachers are aware of the importance of reviewing the impact of ongoing curriculum developments on teacher capability and outcomes for students. This process is underway and is needed to give assurance to the board, staff and parents that students are continuing to progress at appropriate rates in all aspects of their learning.

Other aspects that school leaders and ERO have identified need further development include:

  • giving greater prominence to a bicultural perspective
  • a stronger focus on recognising the increasing cultural diversity of students
  • identifying what students should know and be able to do in the wider curriculum (beyond literacy and mathematics) and how this will be assessed and reported.

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

Most Māori students achieve very well in reading, writing and mathematics. However, the board and school leaders recognise that more could be done to promote their success as Māori.

Positive actions taken have included:

  • using community expertise to learn the protocols for a pōwhiri to welcome the new principal
  • teachers developing, in partnership with whānau, individual learning pathways for some students
  • the board and staff having training in the Ministry of Education resources, Tātaiako and Ka Hikitia.

Areas for development and review

The board and school leaders recognise the need to extend consultation with Māori whānau and involve them more fully in actions most likely to support their children to succeed as Māori.

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.

Professional leadership is having a positive influence on recent school developments. The principal promotes a shared model of leadership. With other school leaders, he makes good use of current research and thinking about effective leadership and curriculum development to extend their capabilities. School leaders provide ongoing encouragement and support for teachers as they trial and adopt new practices.

Teachers actively support the school’s vision and goals. They share experiences and ideas so that good practice can be spread across the school. Regular reflection and inquiry into their teaching helps them identify what is working in the best interests of students and where change may be needed.

Wide-ranging professional development within and outside the school is extending teachers’ awareness and use of effective teaching practices.

Expectations for teaching effectiveness are high. A comprehensive appraisal process recognises teachers’ good practice and provides constructive guidance for raising the quality of teaching.

The board and principal work well together to continue to improve the school’s performance. Trustees have had training in various aspects of governance to ensure that they are well informed about their roles and responsibilities, as well as current curriculum developments. The principal regularly reports progress in achieving the school goals and objectives to the board.

The board seeks the views of parents, students and staff about a range of school matters and uses this information in its decision making.

Area for development and review

The board would benefit from having a deeper understanding of self review at all levels of the school. This should include reviewing its performance on a regular basis.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

26 May 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 47%

Boys 53%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā





Other ethnicities







Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

26 May 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

September 2007

April 2005