Fairhall School - 02/12/2015

1. Context

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

Fairhall School is very well supported by its rural community. The school’s PRIDE values are highly evident and well embedded in all aspects of the school. The strong focus on the environment and sustainable practices is a key feature of the school.

Leaders and staff actively foster inclusive and positive relationships across the school.

Since the 2011 ERO review, there have been significant changes in staffing. The board and principal have made good progress with the recommendations from the previous ERO report. They have accessed a range of useful professional development to support the school-wide focus on ongoing improvement.

The school is a signatory to the Code of Compliance for Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code).

2. Learning

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

Teachers make very good use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Most students achieve very well in relation to the National Standards and are achieving above national expectations. Teachers have identified and responded to the need for some students to have additional support in mathematics in 2015.

School leaders have improved the school’s systems for storing and managing student achievement information. This has enabled teachers to identify and track achievement patterns over time. Teachers follow explicit school-wide guidelines for assessment and planning. Regular use of a range of effective assessment tools helps teachers to meet individual students' specific needs. Classroom planning clearly identifies ways to support these learning needs. The school makes good use of external expertise to further support students when needed.

There are effective processes in place to promote communication between the school and home. Parents are well informed of their children’s learning through regular reporting.

The school has identified that it needs to continue to extend moderation practices within the school and with other local schools.

The 2014 targets to lift student achievement were more useful than the 2015 targets. The 2014 targets better identified those students most at risk of not achieving and were more explicit and measureable. These targets provide a useful model for future targets.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes learning. Students learn, achieve and progress in a caring, collaborative, inclusive learning community.

There are many opportunities for older students to take on leadership responsibilities. This includes older students working alongside and helping younger students with their learning.

Many students are confident and articulate when talking to others. Oral language is a key focus of the curriculum and very well reinforced through established practices. Leaders and staff listen to students, value their opinions and are responsive to their ideas.

Students benefit from a wide range of meaningful learning opportunities, both within and beyond the classroom, that reflect the local community and school priorities. There is a strong emphasis on the teaching of literacy, mathematics and science. This includes a very successful enviro-schools programme.

Teachers work well together to develop a range of effective strategies to engage students in their learning. They follow a systematic process to review the curriculum, promote reflective teaching practices and continually inform improvements to teaching and learning.

The next step for school leaders is to give prominence to bicultural perspectives across guiding documentation to enable all students to hear and use te reo Māori and to learn about Māori culture.

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

The school actively consults with its Māori community to develop ways of supporting educational success for Māori. Feedback is shared regularly with Māori whānau.

Most Māori students are achieving well and exceeding national expectations.

The school should continue to strengthen the opportunities for Māori students to have their language, culture and identity affirmed and valued.

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, principal and staff are future focused, open to new learning and strongly committed to ongoing improvement.

Trustees have good levels of expertise and experience that is well used to strengthen board practices. There is strong alignment between key documents to guide the effective operation of the school. The board has developed useful and systematic self-review processes that are aligned to school priorities. Outcomes of reviews inform the future direction of the school.

The board provides specific resourcing to support student learning. This includes appropriate and ongoing professional development for all staff. Trustees are highly supportive of the principal's and staff wellbeing. There are good levels of communication and consultation with the school’s community.

The school is well led and managed. Leadership promotes a reflective culture, encourages open and transparent communication and builds effective participation and collaboration with all staff. Decision making is well considered and uses a range of evidence, including multiple perspectives.

The board, principal and senior leaders have high expectations for teaching and learning. Appraisal has been strengthened to include a process for teachers to inquire more deeply into their practice. Teachers are provided with useful feedback to promote continuous improvement. Targeted professional development is aligned to the appraisal process and school priorities.

Staff work well together and communicate effectively. There are many opportunities for teachers to use their strengths and build their leadership capacity.

5. 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

Fairhall School is very well supported by its rural community. The school is very well governed and managed. School values are highly evident and well embedded. Leaders and staff are professional, strongly committed to ongoing improvement and positive learning outcomes for all students. Most students achieve very well against the National Standards.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern Acting

2 December 2015

About the School

Location

Blenheim

Ministry of Education profile number

2839

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

217

Gender composition

Boys 52%; Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 91%

Māori 8%

Asian 1%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

2 December 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review October 2011

Education Review July 2009

Education Review June 2006