Cannington School - 29/06/2015


Students have caring and positive relationships with each other and their teachers. They learn through a well-designed curriculum, with a priority placed on relevant and authentic learning. The principal and teachers make careful use of achievement information to best meet the needs of all students.

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?

Cannington School is a very small rural school providing education for students in Years 1 to 8. It has a wide farming catchment area and most students travel to school by bus. The end of the dairying year can lead to a change of approximately one third of the school roll. New students and their families are quickly included in the school community.

Students in their play and learning make full use of the school’s attractive and spacious grounds. The school’s facilities provide plenty of scope for students to have a variety of authentic learning experiences and to be physically challenged.

Students show a strong sense of belonging to their school. They have caring and positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Parents are confident that their children are well supported in their learning. They feel welcome to discuss with the teachers any concerns they may have about their child’s learning.

The school is an integral part of the wider community and it values the support it receives from parents and other community members.

The school vision is for students to:

  • be confident and committed learners
  • be able to use knowledge and skills learned
  • contribute positively to society.

The 2014 end-of-year report to the board showed that all students were at or above the National Standards for reading. Nearly all students were achieving at or above in writing and mathematics.

Since the 2012 ERO report there have been two changes of principal. The current principal started at the beginning of 2015.

The school has made some progress in the areas identified to develop further in the last ERO report. The school’s vision and values are now very evident in school and class programmes. The principal and teachers are currently strengthening assessment practices and the use of student achievement data.

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 achievement information to make positive changes to learning.

Findings to support this judgement

Students have a useful awareness of their achievement. They are able to talk about what they need to do to improve their learning.

Teachers make careful use of learning information to:

  • identify what individual students and groups of students need to learn next
  • monitor the learning of all students, especially students currently being targeted to lift their achievement.

The principal is using student achievement information well to:

  • identify common areas of learning need across the school and for groups of students
  • monitor school-wide student progress, including the progress of students needing to make the most gains in their learning
  • supplement the teaching for some students needing to make greater progress
  • build the capability within the teaching team to better meet students’ needs.

Trustees have an appropriate knowledge of school-wide achievement levels. They use this information purposefully to:

  • inform the school’s strategic direction, including setting suitable targets that focus attention and resources on lifting students’ achievement levels
  • ensure that their policies support improved student outcomes
  • allocate resources appropriately.

Next steps

The principal and teachers need to:

  • use student progress and achievement information to help evaluate the effectiveness of curriculum and class programmes
  • review their reporting procedures to ensure that all students and their parents receive at least two written reports each year on students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effectively promoting and supporting students’ learning.

Findings to support this judgement

The principal has placed a priority on developing consistent and high-quality teaching to raise student achievement. Teachers are working collaboratively to support those students at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Consistency of practice and collaboration are being effectively developed through weekly meetings to discuss and closely monitor students’ progress. Teachers are strengthening the home-school relationship to better support students’ learning. The principal provides explicit expectations, especially for the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics.

Students demonstrate an ownership of, and pride in, their school. They benefit from:

  • a variety of authentic learning experiences, where they are given the end-product idea and they have to research and plan how they will achieve the set product
  • learning experiences that make the most of extending their understanding of, and interest in, a topical and/or current subject
  • well-planned linking of learning between subject areas.

The board and principal recognise the need to revise all of the school’s curriculum documentation. Specific teaching expectations are being developed across and school. They are being documented to reflect:

  • recent developments in the school’s vision and values
  • current expectations for teaching, including assessment, use of achievement information and planning.

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

Māori students experience aspects of their identity, language and culture in school life and learning.

At the time of the review there were five Māori students at the school. These students were achieving well in relation to the National Standards.

Values prized by Māori are highly evident within the school. These include manaakitanga/caring and whanaungatanga/relationships. The principal and teachers are developing a bi-cultural curriculum.

The board and principal are gathering the views of the school’s whānau Māori and building a relationship with the local marae. They are working with whānau to define what succeeding as Māori looks like at Cannington School. This definition will provide the board with direction for its planning and resource allocation.

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.

Findings to support this judgement

The school has a very strategic approach to establish its main focus areas. The board has high expectations that all students will achieve well. Trustees seek well-chosen advice, guidance and training to enable them to carry out their governance responsibilities.

Since commencing at the school the principal has appropriately prioritised the actions needing to be taken. These decisions are soundly based on raising student achievement levels and ensuring students enjoy their learning.

The board and principal are guided by a well-designed school charter. This can be seen through the:

  • careful use of parent, teacher and student input to determine the strategic and curriculum direction of the school
  • strategic and annual planning supporting each other well to achieve the school vision
  • alignment from charter planning to school and classroom programmes.

The board and principal are using useful performance management systems. Performance expectations are well linked to school priorities, charter targets and school-wide learning needs. Professional learning and development is carefully chosen to support the school’s main concerns.

Next steps

The principal and trustees are reflective and are improvement focused. The principal has identified

  • the need to be more evaluative and less descriptive when reviewing curriculum areas.

The board needs to more formally evaluate how well it is progressing to achieve the goals set out in its strategic and annual plans.

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.


Students have caring and positive relationships with each other and their teachers. They learn through a well-designed curriculum, with a priority placed on relevant and authentic learning. The principal and teachers make careful use of achievement information to best meet the needs of all students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

29 June 2015

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 9

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

May 2015

Date of this report

29 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2012
April 2009
May 2006