Waverley Park School

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School Context

Waverley Park School is a Year 1 to 6 school in Invercargill. The school roll is 297 students, with 40% identifying as Māori and 16% from a range of other ethnic backgrounds. A school enrolment scheme remains in place.

The school states that its vision is for each child to be valued in a safe and dynamic learning community and environment. Its mission is Ora i te Ako/Living the Learning, Kia Kaha/be strong, Kia Maia/aim high, Kia Manawanui/be courageous. Its values are for children to have respect for te ao and te reo Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi, and to show integrity and respect, strive for personal excellence and take responsibility.

The school’s strategic priorities, goals and targets include raising achievement, addressing any disparities, providing a supportive learning environment, and continuing to develop teachers’ expertise in te ao and te reo Māori.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics achievement

  • a mathematics intervention programme

  • aspects of the wider curriculum, such as te reo Māori, the arts, health, physical education and inquiry topics.

Since the 2016 ERO review, there have been very few changes in staff but the board has several new trustees. Since 2016, staff members have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) to build culturally responsive practices. The 2019 PLD focus is on improving teaching and learning in mathematics.

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 has made measurable progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students. Disparities in achievement between different groups in the school have been reduced or no longer exist.

From 2016 to 2018 most students achieved at or above expected levels in reading. Within this group, most students were reading at the expected level and a small number above.

For writing the majority of students achieved at or above the school’s expectations. At the end of 2018, girls were achieving better than boys.

Over the last two and a half years a large majority of students achieved at or above expected levels in mathematics. Again most students in this group achieved at expectations.

Student achievement in other curriculum areas shows that most children achieve at or above the school’s expected levels in science, inquiry learning, the arts, Māori and physical education.

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

The school has been very successful in accelerating the progress of children on individual or small group intervention programmes that occur outside the class programme.

For example, three quarters of the children in literacy interventions made accelerated progress, with a large group reaching their expected level. For mathematics, all the children in a Year 5 intervention and half of the Year 3 group made accelerated progress.

The school did not have information about the sufficiency of progress of other children below expected levels. These children are identified as the school’s target/focus groups.

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?

A very respectful and caring school culture strongly supports students’ wellbeing and readiness to learn. In this school relationships are seen as paramount. The school is welcoming and inclusive for children and their whānau. The cultural identities of children are celebrated and valued. Very good efforts are made to support the pastoral and wellbeing needs of each child.

Leaders and teachers deliberately foster culturally responsive ways of learning and interacting. Within and beyond the classroom, practices such as ako, tuakana-teina and whanaungatanga are strongly evident. Over time, there has been genuine seeking of Māori whānau voice to determine what and how children learn at school. Māori children know that their culture has mana. They frequently lead cultural experiences and share their knowledge and expertise with others.

All children have frequent and meaningful opportunities to learn about te ao Māori and to hear and learn te reo Maori. The value placed on te ao Māori is evident in the school environment, classroom learning and frequent cultural experiences. Māori children and their whānau value the weekly Ngā Taonga - Māori enrichment programme.

The school has strong systems to identify, support and monitor the progress of children who need extra support to succeed in their learning. Teachers and teacher aides work collaboratively to provide additional support within the classroom. High quality out-of-class interventions have resulted in children making more than expected progress. Parents/whānau are valued partners in supporting their children’s learning.

Teachers are very well supported professionally. Sustained, high quality professional learning about culturally responsive practice has resulted in improved learning and engagement for Māori and other students. Useful curriculum guidelines, clear teaching expectations and learning progressions mean that staff know what is expected of them. Teachers’ inquiries into aspects of teaching have resulted in teachers reflecting on and adapting their teaching to better support learners.

Senior leaders set the positive school tone. They model placing children at the centre of all decisions, and the culture of kindness and care (manaakitanga). They value teachers’ strengths and foster distributed leadership and work constructively with external agencies to best support children and their families.

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

Aspects of internal evaluation need to be strengthened so that leaders and trustees have better insight into what is working well, what is not and what changes might be needed. For example, the school is clear about what learning it values and has some useful annual goals. A next step is to better evaluate progress against these valued outcomes.

The analysis and reporting about schoolwide achievement does not include sufficient information about specific groups. This makes it difficult for trustees and staff to know which groups of students need additional support. Similarly, there is insufficient analysis and reporting about the rates of progress students make, especially students identified as needing to accelerate their learning.

Aspects of governance need strengthening. Trustees would benefit from training about their governance role. It is some time since leaders and trustees have consulted with whānau to review strategic and annual goals and ensure that these have shared ownership. Charter targets to accelerate progress need clear baseline information, in order to later show progress.

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 Waverley Park School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • the very respectful and caring culture that strongly supports students’ wellbeing and readiness to learn
  • their culturally responsive practices that have led to improved teaching and learning
  • rich opportunities for students to learn about te ao and te reo Māori
  • sound practices to identify and support students who need to accelerate their learning
  • leadership that has a relentless commitment to provide the best for all students.

Next steps

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

  • evaluative practices so that trustees and leaders can better identify what is most effective in making a difference for students
  • the analysis and reporting of student achievement and rates of progress to better know about outcomes for all groups of students
  • aspects of governance so that trustees have better understanding and oversight of school operations.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • the staff appointments policy and procedure.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure the school’s appointment procedures reflect the requirements of the Vulnerable Children’s Act, with respect to safety and identity checks of staff.
    [Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review the school’s behaviour management guidelines to include reference to bullying or any other forms of harassment
  • ensure any personnel or other matters are discussed in the public excluded section of board meetings and suitable confidential minutes kept
  • ensure it receives improved health and safety and compliance reporting.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

10 December 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 52%

Male 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 40%

NZ European/Pākehā 44%

Pacific 6%

Asian 6%

Other ethnicities 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

10 December 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2016

Education Review February 2013

Education Review May 2009

1 Context

Waverley Park School is a medium-sized school in Invercargill. It has had a stable roll since the 2013 ERO review. Children come from the local area and from culturally diverse backgrounds. The school has a large number of children with special learning needs.

The school has an inclusive, family-like and caring culture. Staff know the children and their families well. There is a strong focus on pastoral care and ensuring that every child has equal opportunity to participate in what the school has to offer. The school has adjusted the conventional classrooms and corridors so children can learn in a range of spaces. Parents are made to feel welcome.

Most trustees have been on the school board for more than three years. The principal, senior leaders and most staff members have remained at the school since the 2013 ERO review.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all students are for all children to be in a safe, secure learning environment, in which the unique qualities of each individual child are valued.

All children will be ‘Living the Learning - Ora i te akoranga', and to ‘Be strong, Aim high, Be courageous in life - Kia kaha, Kia maia, Kia manawanui'.

The children and staff form an effective and dynamic learning community in which everyone contributes and can take real pride.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori children and boys have been consistently underachieving against the National Standards, particularly in writing since 2013. In 2015, Māori children and most other children in the school made accelerated progress in writing. These levels were similar to other Invercargill schools.

Māori and other children achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in art, science and technology.

Since the 2013 ERO review, school leaders and teachers have improved the way they analyse student achievement data, and report children's progress and achievement to parents and to the board.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school needs to further accelerate the progress of Māori children in reading, writing and mathematics so that more reach the National Standards.

Māori and other children generally make good progress in their first two years of school.

In 2015, the school effectively accelerated the progress of Māori children and boys in writing. This acceleration was attributed to the useful professional learning and development teachers received. particularly related to the teaching of writing. Writing levels have improved but remain the area of highest need.

Senior leaders and teachers have well developed systems for identifying and monitoring Māori children and other groups of children who need extra support and/or extension with their learning. Teachers are beginning to adapt teaching practices to meet learners’ needs.

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

The school provides a good range of suitable support programmes and resources for all children at risk of not achieving at the National Standards. Children who have been identified with special abilities have a range of opportunities to extend their interests, skills and knowledge.

Identified children with learning needs have individual learning plans that are regularly evaluated with parents. However, school leaders need to ensure:

  • learning support and extension programmes are regularly evaluated and reported to the board
  • more effective strategies are used to lift Māori children and boys’ progress and achievement particularly in reading and mathematics.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The curriculum effectively enacts the school’s vision and values. These are well understood by children, staff and the community. The values are closely linked to Māori values, are highly visible in the environment and well enacted in teaching and learning. Positive relationships and a trusting learning environment support a high level of engagement in learning.

Children get on well with their teachers, enjoy a wide range of learning experiences and have good opportunities for leadership. They frequently go on interesting trips beyond the school. Classroom environments are visually attractive, include useful resources and student work is well displayed.

Inquiry learning is well embedded in the school’s curriculum. Learning is effectively supported by a good range of digital devices. The next step is for teachers to deliberately plan for the integration of the school’s vision and values, bicultural aspects and the use of digital technologies in student learning.

Māori children have a wide range of opportunities to learn about and celebrate their language, culture and heritage. Te ao Māori and te reo Māori are well integrated into class programmes. Māori children and other children can attend a specialised Māori programme that supports the protection and respect of personal mana. Teachers are highly committed to increasing their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori and are strongly focused on building whanaungatanga across the school.

Senior leaders and teachers have developed effective transition programmes and systems to support children coming into the school and going onto the college.

Parents are well involved in the everyday life of the school. Their suggestions and children’s ideas are valued by the staff and used to inform planning. Through informal and formal meetings and reports, parents are well informed about their children’s learning. Teachers are finding ways to further strengthen partnerships with parents to support this learning.

The principal and school leaders work well together to lead learning. Leadership is distributed and staff skills and knowledge are well used to support teaching and learning. Leaders and teachers have high expectations, support diversity and ensure open, trustful communication exists amongst staff. The leaders have updated and improved guidelines and systems for teachers’ appraisal. These improvements are in the early stages of implementation. Leaders and teachers are working on consistent teacher practices that support individualised student-led learning,

The board is strongly committed to raising student achievement. Most trustees have served on the school board for over three years and show a strong commitment to providing the best for Waverley Park children.

The school has developed useful strategic goals and accompanying plans. The next step is to strengthen the strategic plan by including sufficient detail to:

  • clarify the actions that are likely to support the board in meeting its strategic goals
  • inform parents, staff and new board members of the board’s expectations and desired outcomes
  • outline the process for evaluating the effectiveness of actions in achieving the strategic goals.

School leaders and the board often seek parent and staff views on different matters. The board needs to extend this to include anonymous satisfaction surveys particularly related to children’s emotional and physical safety.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

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
  • do not always or systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • have a plan in place but have not yet built teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children.

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 a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that 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 Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes.

ERO is likely to carry out the next 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. 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

16 May 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53%; Girls 47%

Ethnic composition





Other ethnicities






Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

16 May 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2013

May 2009

May 2006