Elsthorpe School - 30/01/2017

1 Context

Elsthorpe School is a full primary school (Years 1 to 8) in rural Central Hawke's Bay. The current roll is 54, of whom 12 identify as Māori. Since the May 2014 ERO report, the school has experienced significant roll growth. Staffing has increased as a result.

Recent board of trustee's elections resulted in two new trustees. Remaining trustees provide useful continuity for the board. Community engagement in the school is high.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are 'Growing the Future', 'we are Elsthorpe and we are the future'. The vision is underpinned by THRIVE the values of trust, honesty, respect, inquiry, valour and endeavour.

The school’s achievement information shows that, at the end of 2015 most students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. There has been a steady improvement in the number of students achieving at and above expectation since 2013, particularly for Māori students.

Appropriate student achievement targets have been developed to accelerate student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, in particular for Māori learners and boys. Raising achievement in writing is a school priority.

End of year data for 2016 indicates that most students continue to achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Many have made accelerated progress, including Māori learners in reading and writing.

The school uses a range of assessment tools and evidence purposefully to assist teachers to make dependable judgements about student progress and achievement. Through the use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT), assessment practices are being further strengthened. This has increased the consistency of practice and teachers' confidence in making these judgements.

Since the previous ERO evaluation, the school has:

  • taken a planned approach to accelerating the achievement of boys in writing
  • introduced a new spelling programme
  • increased resourcing to support modern learning practices
  • developed systems and processes to track student progress
  • continued to stream students for reading, writing and mathematics in response to student need and roll growth. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has a clear focus on all students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Leaders and teachers are well aware of the numbers, names and needs of these learners. In response they have:

  • set appropriate achievement targets in reading, writing and mathematics
  • implemented a range of programmes and interventions to meet individual needs
  • inquired into practices that support Māori learners
  • proactively engaged with parents and whānau to promote learning partnerships
  • developed comprehensive systems to track and monitor the progress of individuals.

This has resulted in the school increasing its responsiveness to those students most at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Consultation with Māori whānau and an inquiry into raising the achievement of Māori learners have led to the implementation of a number of initiatives to promote Māori success as Māori and build teachers' knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori. This continues to be a priority.

Students requiring additional learning support are clearly identified. The school works collaboratively with parents, whānau and external agencies to develop individual education plans. Appropriate goals are set, and progress monitored.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Students experience a broad curriculum which is responsive to their strengths and interests, and the rural context. It effectively promotes the school's priorities and supports targets for equity and excellence.

Students have opportunities to learn in authentic and relevant contexts. Purposeful learning experiences, choices and increasing student ownership of learning leads to high levels of engagement.

The school environment features a positive tone, respectful interactions and students working collaboratively.

ERO's external evaluation identifies and the school agrees, that it is timely to review curriculum documents to ensure that they reflect current school practice. Consideration should be given to how the principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum are enacted at Elsthorpe School.

Parents receive reports about their child's progress in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. These include next learning steps and how parents can help at home. Through regular goal setting for students, parents and whānau are encouraged and supported to contribute to their child's learning.

Parents, whānau and the wider community are welcomed into the school. They participate in a variety of activities and their views and aspirations are sought to inform decision making.

Teachers are highly reflective. They are committed to developing their professional practice to provide positive outcomes for students. Inquiring into the impact of teaching strategies has been a schoolwide focus in 2016. Planned professional development in 2017 should further strengthen teachers' understanding and support the school to develop a framework to guide this process.

Teacher appraisal supports professional growth and development. Further development is needed, including:

  • aligning the process with school priorities
  • focusing on raising student achievement
  • linking to the Practising Teacher Criteria and teaching as inquiry.

There is a deliberate focus by the principal on providing leadership opportunities for staff. A collective responsibility and strong focus on student learning and wellbeing are highly evident. Student leadership is well promoted.

Trustees bring a wide range of knowledge and skills to their role as stewards of the school. Sound systems and processes are in place to support the induction of new board members, succession planning and ongoing school improvement.

The board is well informed about student achievement and progress toward improvement targets through a wide range of well analysed information provided by the principal. This information is used to inform decision making and prioritise resourcing to improve teaching and learning.

Continuing to develop internal evaluation by evaluating how effective the school is in supporting success for all learners is a next step. This should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to know what is and what is not working, for whom, and why. This should increase the school's effectiveness in promoting equity and excellence.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

The school has a clear focus on those students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Leaders and teachers have planned actions to respond to these learners. Further developing appraisal and internal evaluation are next steps.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

30 January 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 28, Female 26

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

30 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2014

February 2011

February 2007