Fairfield Primary School - 02/05/2018

School Context

Fairfield Primary School is situated in north-east Hamilton and provides education for students in Years 1 to 6.  Of the 386 students on the roll, 68% identify as Māori. Students of Pacific ethnicities make up 17% of the roll, with Tongan being the predominant culture in this group. The school maintains regular contact with local early childhood services and community support agencies. Most students transition to Fairfield Intermediate School. On the recommendation of the Ministry of Education, the school will implement an enrolment scheme from the beginning of Term 2, 2018 to manage the school’s growing roll. 

Since the 2013 ERO review, the principal and senior leaders have remained at the school and there have been board and staff changes. In 2018, team leaders have been appointed to lead and support each of the three teaching teams.

The school-wide curriculum has been further developed along with programmes that address the needs of children with special abilities. Teachers have engaged in professional development in cultural responsiveness, mathematics, positive guidance, literacy, oral language development and teaching as inquiry. A Ministry of Education student achievement facilitator and an external advisor have assisted in developing strategies for targeting and monitoring the achievement of at-risk learners.

The school’s vision is ‘Empowering Learners to Succeed’. The curriculum continues to be underpinned by the values of ‘The Fairfield Learner’, which are respect for people, places and property, always aiming for excellence, and resilience, interpreted as never giving up. 

The school is a member of Te Pae Here North-east Hamilton Community of LearninglKāhui Ako.

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

  • reading, writing and 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’s 2017 achievement data for all students indicates that the majority achieve at the expected level in mathematics. In writing, overall less than half are achieving at expectation for their year level. In reading, while the majority of Māori and Pākehā are achieving at expected levels, Pacific students achieved at lower levels.

There is significant disparity for Māori and Pacific students in reading and mathematics. In these curriculum areas, Māori and Pacific students are achieving less well than their Pākehā peers. In reading and writing, data indicates significant gender disparity, with girls outperforming boys. Māori are achieving at lower levels than their Pākehā peers in writing. 

Mathematics results indicate an upward trend over the last two years.  

The school’s entry data shows that many students, including those for whom English is a new language, enter with literacy and numeracy levels that are well below expectations. School-wide achievement information also shows that by the end of Year 6, a majority of students achieve at or above year-level expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. This has been a continuing trend since the previous 2013 ERO report. By the end of Year 6, 2017, there was no disparity for Māori and Pacific students’ achievement in reading and writing, but disparity for boys’ achievement remained.  

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

The school is accelerating learning for the majority of Māori, Pacific and other students who are at risk of underachieving. Assessment information shows that a majority of students, including Māori and Pacific who received targeted interventions, made accelerated learning progress in writing and mathematics by the end of 2017. A majority of Pacific and nearly half of all Māori who were at risk of underachieving made accelerated progress in reading.

The progress of English language learners and students with additional learning needs is well monitored. Accelerated progress within specialised and individual learning programmes is evident for many 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?

The school’s curriculum is responsive to the diversity of its community. Teachers promote positive interactions with and among students. Culturally responsive teaching practices emphasise whanaungatanga (family-like relationships), manaakitanga (sharing and contributing), and mahi tahi (working together cooperatively). Classes are settled and students are actively engaged in meaningful learning experiences. Priority on addressing the identified learning needs of diverse groups and individuals is contributing to equitable learning opportunities for these students.

Reciprocal, learning-centred partnerships with parents/whānau are fostered. Parents and caregivers are well-informed about their students’ learning and achievement. They have many opportunities for formal and informal discussions with teachers about their children’s progress and achievement.  Teachers engage deliberately with, and inform parents and families from all ethnicities, according to their preferred method of communication. Teachers’ indicate that parents’ are committed to supporting home and school learning and this has contributed to students making accelerated progress.   

The experienced senior leadership team provides clear expectations for teaching and learning. A range of suitable assessment and moderation processes assist teachers to make reliable judgements about students’ achievement and progress. Leaders and teachers work collaboratively with staff and the board, maintaining a focus on raising achievement and the pastoral care for students and families.

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

To strengthen teaching practice to improve learning outcomes, leaders and teachers should:

  • implement a more deliberate approach to students’ self and peer assessment
  • ensure that te reo Māori is consistently integrated in class programmes.

There is a need to strengthen internal evaluation for continuous improvement. Trustees and leaders should:

  • sharpen annual targets to focus more specifically on all identified groups of students who are at risk of underachieving
  • extend teachers’ focus on accelerating progress to include all at-risk learners
  • strengthen consultation with community, staff and students about curriculum, achievement and wellbeing
  • ensure that the school continues to  formally engage with Māori parents to share information about achievement trends and patterns and gather aspirations for their students. 

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:

  • a responsive curriculum that meets the identified needs of many diverse learners.
  • strong partnerships with parents that support and enable students to experience success
  • professional leadership that is knowledgeable, reflective and collegial.

Next steps

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

  • teaching practices that strengthen students’ self-management of their learning and the school-wide use of te reo Māori
  • more consultative internal evaluation, particularly for Māori, that consistently promotes improved outcomes for at-risk learners
  • targeted planning to accelerate learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

2 May 2018

About the school 

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

1716

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

386

Gender composition

Boys      52%
Girls       48%

Ethnic composition

Māori                   68%
Tongan                11%
Pākehā                 10%
Samoan                5%
Other Pacific        2%
Other groups       4%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

2 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review  September 2013
Education Review April 2010
Education Review June 2007