Ashburton Intermediate - 01/03/2013

1 Context

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

Ashburton Intermediate is the only intermediate school in the area. The school operates its own technology centre and specialist subject programmes.

Students learn in a well managed, purposeful and settled environment. Strong pastoral care and restorative behaviour practices assist students to address any concerns.

The school is making good progress in celebrating bicultural New Zealand. The recently unveiled Poupou carving is a focal point at the school. It reflects the school values, the local area and the students’ ongoing learning journey. It was developed in consultation with a local Māori carver.

Students come from a range of ethnic backgrounds and they are welcomed and included within the school culture. Support is given to address any English language learning needs.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers effectively manage and use achievement information to engage students and monitor their progress over time.

Senior leaders and teachers identify and address students’ learning needs. Priority learners, including those Māori and Pacific students with identified needs, are selected for specialist teaching in literacy and mathematics. The teacher with responsibility for students with specific learning needs, the special education needs coordinator (SENCO), provides strong leadership and support for the specialist teacher and teacher aides. The specialist teacher also works with teachers to further support priority learners within class programmes.

Priority students’ progress is rigorously monitored in all curriculum areas and the outcomes are reported to the board. This enables trustees to make appropriate resourcing decisions to support these students. The board receives regular reports of school-wide achievement information in literacy and mathematics, and for learning in integrated units of work.

Positive and affirming relationships with teachers help students to engage in their learning. The school values are evident in interactions between students and teachers, and between students. The learning culture is inclusive of students from a range of cultural backgrounds and learning styles.

Parents are encouraged to support their children’s learning. Senior leaders and teachers provide parents with good opportunities to know about and contribute to their children’s learning. They receive regular reports about learning progress and the effort that their children are making.

ERO observed examples of good quality teaching that engaged students well in their learning. The next steps to improve the consistency of teaching are for teachers to:

  • seek more information from students about what best supports their learning and wellbeing within all school programmes
  • receive more specific feedback against the school’s core values and goals so they can set appropriate goals for improvement.

Senior leaders are aware of the need to further develop the board’s annual achievement targets to specifically identify individuals and groups of priority learners who need to accelerate their progress and achievement levels.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes students’ learning. Students are also provided with a wide range of additional experiences across a broad extended curriculum that includes sport, the arts and Māori culture.

The school’s curriculum provides good guidelines and expectations for learning and teaching. Areas of strength include:

  • priority in the timetable for literacy and mathematics
  • assessment guidelines and practices that are well planned and monitored across the curriculum
  • achievement expectations for each year level in literacy and mathematics
  • an expectation that integrated units of work will be cooperatively planned and reviewed
  • provision of planned professional development for teachers
  • units of work specifically planned to meet the needs and interests of intermediate-aged students.

There is a high-quality programme for priority and high-needs students. This programme is an integral part of the school’s curriculum. The programme is implemented by a qualified and experienced teacher who provides an effective model of teaching practices. Teacher aides are well supported and contribute significantly to students’ learning. The programme also makes extensive use of community volunteers who increase reading opportunities for students.

Senior leaders and ERO have identified further improvements needed to develop the school’s curriculum. Considerable work has been done on establishing school values that underpin successful learning and behaviour. The next steps needed to help students become independent learners include:

  • developing a model for students’ learning that integrates thinking and inquiry strategies with the key competencies from the New Zealand Curriculum and the school’s values
  • providing opportunity for students to use critical thinking and inquiry strategies more independently
  • ensuring specialist technology programmes fully support school-wide integrated units of work
  • further improving information and communication technologies (ICT) to ensure students can use ICT as an essential learning tool.

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

The board, principal and teachers responsible for guiding Maori students have consistently worked to improve the school’s environment, and programmes to support Māori succeeding as Māori. Teachers have undertaken effective professional development to improve their understanding and use of te reo Māori. Some integrated units of work now reflect tikanga Māori. There have been initiatives to increase engagement with whānau and to better involve students in learning and school activities.

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 and principal have developed and put in place a range of sound policies, procedures and practices to sustain and improve the school’s performance.

Trustees have a good understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities. Good succession planning for trustees has resulted in stability of membership and a good range of trustee skills. Board planning, monitoring and reporting processes are sound and detailed. Trustees’ resourcing decisions have been responsive to needs identified in reported achievement information.

The leadership understandings and skills of the principal and deputy principal are complementary and support a strong team approach to leadership and management. Strategic planning and curriculum leadership are a strength. School organisation, curriculum programmes and pastoral care are well managed.

Middle managers and teachers are given opportunities to grow their leadership skills for the benefit of students’ learning and behaviour. Staff support students to engage in a range of extra-curricular activities.

There is a regular review and reporting cycle for many aspects of the school’s curriculum and how well students are achieving.

The board and staff give priority to engaging with the parent community and communicating effectively.

Senior leaders and ERO have identified the following areas that will further improve and sustain the school's development.

Leaders will develop guidelines for strategic curriculum reviews, and for self review at teacher level to strengthen teachers’ reflective processes.

The principal will continue the review and improvement of appraisal processes by reviewing job descriptions for managers and the appraisal against them.

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

1 March 2013

About the School


Ashburton, Mid Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā



Other Ethnicities





Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

1 March 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

August 2006

September 2003