Fairfield Intermediate - 01/05/2015

Findings

Fairfield Intermediate School provides a broad and rich curriculum that effectively promotes student learning. There are many opportunities for students to experience success in a wide range of learning programmes, activities and events. School leaders and teachers have a good understanding of the particular requirements of emerging adolescents.

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?

Fairfield Intermediate School, located in north eastern Hamilton, provides education for students in Years 7 and 8. A special feature of the school is the ethnic diversity of the students. The school’s roll of 766 students includes 214 Māori, 35 of Pacific descent and over 20 other ethnic groups.

Since the 2010 ERO report there has been significant changes to the teaching team including the appointment of a new principal. A new deputy principal responsible for curriculum was appointed in mid-2010. Teachers have undertaken extensive school-wide professional learning and development in writing and in promoting positive behaviour for learning.

The school facilities have been enhanced by the extension to the performing arts building. The technology centre was extensively damaged by fire in 2011 and this has since been rebuilt.

School is well supported by an active Parent Teacher Association. Students continue to enjoy learning and playing in well-resourced and presented facilities and play grounds.

Fairfield Intermediate School has a positive ERO reporting history. Under the leadership of the new principal and two deputy principal’s significant progress has been made since the 2010 ERO review, particularly in areas of curriculum and in building teacher professional capability.

A positive culture that supports student learning is evident throughout the school. ERO observed high levels of student engagement in meaningful learning experiences and supportive interactions among students.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of student achievement information to support student learning.

School leaders have developed comprehensive guidelines that support the collection and analysis of student achievement information. This is well used to identify students requiring additional support or extension, report school-wide achievement to the board of trustees and community, and inform teacher professional development initiatives. School leaders are continuing to develop processes to support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards.

Trustees make good use of this achievement data to inform their decision making about the allocation of resources. They set and monitor appropriate charter targets that are focused on raising student achievement.

Teachers collect a wide range of achievement information and effectively use this to group students for instruction in reading, writing and mathematics and to plan learning programmes.

Parents are well informed about their children’s learning and progress. They receive two comprehensive written reports each year, have opportunities to meet with teachers at parent–teacher conferences, and also have access to individual learning profiles that extensively document children’s achievement and progress.

The school’s achievement information at the end of 2014 indicates that a majority of students achieved at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics. School leaders and teachers continue their focus on writing to address lower levels of achievement in this area. This data also shows that Māori students achieved slightly below their non-Māori peers at the school in these areas. Achievement information from 2013 to 2014 indicates that most students made expected or accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics during this time.

3 Curriculum

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

Fairfield Intermediate School’s curriculum effectively promotes student learning. Senior leaders and teachers place high priority on literacy and mathematics learning. Under the effective leadership of the deputy principal, the school has documented a curriculum that strongly reflects the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. The values of respect, excellence, aroha and life-long learning (REAL) were developed in consultation with the school’s community and underpin the school’s positive learning culture.

Other strengths of the school’s curriculum include many opportunities for students to:

  • develop their leadership skills
  • experience success in a wide range of sporting, cultural and academic events and competitions
  • regularly celebrate the school’s cultural diversity
  • participate in frequent trips and yearly camps in the local and wider community.

The school has comprehensive systems to identify and monitor the achievement of students that require additional assistance with their learning. These students receive ongoing support from trained and experienced teacher aides. There is also an option for placement in the Learning Enhancement Class, which features high levels of teacher aide support and individualised programmes for some students.

Features of the school’s curriculum are the specialist art, technology, music and science classes. These classes provide opportunities for students to be involved in real life practical learning programmes. Teachers in these classes work closely with class teachers to support the school’s commitment to raising levels of achievement in literacy and mathematics.

Teachers have positive and affirming relationships with students and have a good understanding of the particular requirements of emerging adolescents. They use a variety of effective teaching strategies that promote student learning. Students benefit from learning in well-organised and presented classroom environments.

ERO and school leaders agree that to further improve student achievement, leaders and teaching staff should develop a shared understanding and expectations for effective teaching and learning at Fairfield Intermediate School. This should include a focus on providing opportunities for students to take increased responsibility for their own learning, progress and achievement.

The experienced deputy principal responsible for pastoral care and a board employed kaimahi tautoko have long-standing links with families, whānau and key community organisations. These relationships are well used to support student attendance and engagement at school. School leaders are implementing processes to strengthen learning partnerships with families and whānau.

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

Māori students’ sense of identity and culture are supported by opportunities to:

  • play lead roles in regular school pōwhiri
  • participate in the school’s kapahaka team
  • attend significant celebrations and events held by Tainui iwi.

Māori staff members provide positive role models for Māori students and support links between the school and its Māori community.

As identified in the 2015 charter, priority should be given to developing and implementing an action plan to strengthen te ao Māori in the school by:

  • further building partnerships with the whānau of Māori students
  • including the history, traditions and protocols of Tainui iwi in the school’s curriculum
  • supporting staff to increase their use of te reo Māori as part of the class programme.

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 of trustees provide effective governance for the school. Trustees are supportive of school leaders and have a wide range of governance experience. They are proactive in accessing appropriate training to support their understanding of their roles and responsibilities. The board effectively manages the school’s finances and resources.

The experienced and knowledgeable principal has a reflective approach to school leadership. He is well supported by the two deputy principals who have a wide range of complementary skills and knowledge. Together the senior leadership team has a strong focus on school development and further raising student achievement.

Teachers engage in a collaborative approach to raising student achievement. This approach provides opportunities for them to reflect on their own teaching and to share best practice that is likely to enhance achievement.

The school uses an appropriate range of self review processes at all levels to inform decision making.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this ERO review there were 8 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is very thorough. The director of international students and her team have established a strong focus on providing high-quality pastoral care, many opportunities for integration into the life of the school, and successful English language learning for all international students.

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.

Conclusion

Fairfield Intermediate School provides a broad and rich curriculum that effectively promotes student learning. There are many opportunities for students to experience success in a wide range of learning programmes, activities and events. School leaders and teachers have a good understanding of the particular requirements of emerging adolescents.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

1 May 2015

About the School

Location

Fairfield, Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1715

School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll

766

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Other Asian

Other European

Samoan

South East Asian

Tongan

Other

55%

28%

3%

3%

2%

2%

2%

5%

Special Features

Specialist music, visual art, technology and science classes

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

1 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

May 2007

December 2003