Clifton School (Bulls) - 18/09/2018


Leaders and teachers have improved conditions and practices leading to increased achievement across the school. Teachers have a clearer picture of students' achievement and progress and are well supported to improve their practice. Further strengthening the curriculum and internal evaluation are key next steps.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Clifton School is a full primary situated in Bulls, Manawatū. The roll has steadily increased over recent years and is now 178 students including 40% Māori and 7% of Pacific heritage. Students are drawn from Bulls and Marton and many parents are involved at the Royal New Zealand Air Force base at Ohakea.

At the time of the 2015 Education Review the principal had just joined the school. He is currently on a sabbatical for Term 3 2018 and an acting principal is in place.

The school is a member of the Rangitikei Kāhui Ako. Lead teachers have been appointed and Clifton School has a teacher with a responsibility in the Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The February 2016 ERO report outlined a range of areas for improvement associated with:

  • the usefulness and reliability of assessment data to show achievement and progress
  • a comprehensive review of the curriculum to be more responsive to students' culture and identity, and better promote accelerated learning in literacy and mathematics
  • processes and systems that support teachers to improve their practice
  • strengthening partnerships with parents, whānau and aiga that support student learning
  • trustees' understanding of their roles and responsibilities
  • evidence-based internal evaluation for improvement.


The school has made good progress in addressing the priorities for review and development.

Most students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall levels of achievement have steadily increased since the previous ERO review, with writing and mathematics showing significant improvement. There are some small variations and disparities and overall the trend overtime shows improvement.

Māori achievement is similar to peers in mathematics, but slightly lower in literacy. Girls are achieving better than boys overall in literacy. Separated data shows that students who have spent longer at the school are achieving at a higher level than others.

Teachers and leaders are gathering a greater range of useful assessment data to show levels of achievement and progress. They are more confident about the dependability of the information and now have a clearer picture of students' achievement and progress.

Students at risk of underachievement are identified and included in the school’s improvement targets. Strengthened tracking and monitoring processes are now in place. Teachers use data to inform decisions about actions aimed at meeting individual learning needs and to provide additional support. The principal is now reporting to trustees the progress and achievement of students included in the school's targets.

School provided data shows that of those students identified at risk of underachievement, the majority make good progress and around half are making accelerated of progress.

Leaders have established positive foundations for children’s learning. Classrooms are calm and purposeful environments. Student show good levels of engagement and support each other with their learning. Respectful and considerate relationships are clearly evident. Teachers are increasingly sharing achievement information with students to show the purpose of their learning, levels of achievement and where to next.

Aspects of the curriculum have been reviewed and changed, resulting in improved outcomes for many learners. External professional development has provided support for teachers to develop awareness and understanding of practices that better reflect students’ language, culture and identity.

The school is welcoming and inclusive. Leaders and teachers emphasise building strong relationships with parents, hapū and iwi. There are increased opportunities for parents and whānau to meet and communicate with teachers. Further strengthening these connections to establish partnerships that enhance learning is an area of ongoing development.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

Clifton School is well placed to sustain and continue to review and improve its performance.

Teachers have become more reflective. A useful process to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice has been implemented. They benefit from a collegial and collaborative approach that focuses on developing strategies and actions to enhance outcomes. Valuable professional conversations with leaders and peers provide opportunities to share good practice and promote consistency.

A performance management framework has been introduced. It includes many of the elements of a suitable appraisal process. Teachers set goals for improvement based on the school’s strategic priorities that are well supported by school wide professional development.

School leaders are now analysing and separating the data to show how different groups of students are achieving and progressing. Aspects of practice and programmes are reviewed and changes made that lead to improvements in outcomes for children. Strengthening review to have a more evaluative focus on the effectiveness of actions taken should better determine the impact of these on improving rates of progress for priority learners.

The board of trustees has experienced and new members who have a range of useful skills. Training is made available and accessed where possible. Trustees are better informed to make strategic decisions about actions and resourcing to raise achievement and work towards equity and excellence.

Key next steps

ERO, leaders and trustees agree that the following areas to further develop and progress are:

  • the curriculum to be more culturally responsive and to integrate place based learning
  • strengthening the process that supports teachers to improve their practice
  • establishing systematic evidence-based internal evaluation and using it to show the impact of practices on improving outcomes.
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

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.


Leaders and teachers have improved conditions and practices leading to increased achievement across the school. Teachers have a clearer picture of students' achievement and progress and are well supported to improve their practice. Further strengthening the curriculum and internal evaluation are key next steps.

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

18 September 2018

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

18 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2016
December 2012
October 2010