Fairburn School - 13/04/2015


Fairburn School serves an established multicultural community. The school has good systems to provide pastoral care for students and families. Teachers promote positive relationships with students and this is helping them engage better with their learning. The school curriculum gives priority to literacy and mathematics. Student attendance is high.

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?

Fairburn School in Otahuhu serves students from the local, multicultural community. The largest groups of students on the Years 1 to 6 roll, are of Māori, Tongan, Indian and Samoan descent. Students and whānau are encouraged to speak in their home languages at school. A significant number of students are learning English as an additional language.

In the last three years there has been a deliberate focus on promoting positive relationships between teachers and students and to engage students better with their learning. As a result student attendance is high. During the year, the school manages unexpected changes in student numbers well.

The school has established strong systems to provide pastoral care for students and their families. Health professionals based at the school provide further specialised support. Students and their families make good use of these services.

Many staff members are long serving and know families and the community well. Teachers who speak families’ home languages meet with them to develop shared understandings of school programmes and initiatives. This helps families to participate more fully in their children’s education.

Many of the positive features identified in the 2011 ERO report for Fairburn School continue to be evident. Good progress has been made in implementing the National Standards.

2 Learning

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

Senior leaders and teachers make good use of student achievement information to make decisions about teaching and learning programmes.

School leaders and teachers have developed good processes to implement the National Standards. They report levels of achievement to children’s parents and to the board. Teachers use standardised assessment tools to help them make overall teacher judgements (OTJs) about students’ progress and achievement. Senior leaders plan to trial the use of other assessment tools with groups of students to test how effectively judgements about their progress and achievement are being made.

The board sets targets for improved outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics for whole year groups of students. Setting targets for more specific groups of students who need to make better progress could help accelerate the progress of these students.

Teachers identify oral language as an important factor in students’ success. As a result, oral language is a focus for staff professional development. Teachers encourage students and their families to develop good vocabulary and language patterns in their home languages. This approach is supporting the students to become proficient in English.

Teachers work collegially to promote positive outcomes for students. They meet regularly to discuss ideas for teaching individual students. Specialist teachers identify students who need special support to make better progress in reading, writing and mathematics. They provide additional programmes for these students to address gaps in their knowledge. Teachers share information with each other to maximise the impact of these withdrawal programmes and to monitor the progress of individual students.

Students have increasing opportunities to discuss their learning and to know about their own progress and achievement. Student-led conferences have provided an opportunity for students to take a lead role in sharing and reporting their learning to their parents.

Senior leaders agree that the next steps for teaching and learning could include:

  • continuing to refine the use of the National Standards by making OTJs for reading, writing and mathematics across the curriculum and reporting after 1, 2 and 3 years at school
  • setting targets to support accelerated progress for groups of students at risk of not achieving expectations
  • continuing to develop students’ understanding of their learning progress so they can set goals and plan for their next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides good opportunities for students to engage in learning. The ‘Fairburn way’ prioritises literacy and numeracy and provides clear guidance for teachers to plan programmes.

Positive relationships between teachers and students, and student engagement, are highly valued. Teachers promote leadership for students. These leadership opportunities are appreciated by students and sought after by those in the senior classes.

Students explore science, social studies and technology using an inquiry process. They have the opportunity to make connections between learning areas when their reading, writing and mathematics lessons are included in inquiry topics.

Students’ heritage is celebrated during cultural events. The arts provide further opportunities for students to learn about culture in different contexts and communities. They also enjoy opportunities to perform for their peers and families.

Students participate in useful learning experiences outside of the school. Teachers plan these learning opportunities to support children’s learning of English as an additional language and to assist their inquiry learning.

Students have good access to learning opportunities involving information and communication technologies (ICT). Significant board resourcing of ICT promotes equitable access for students to a variety of digital devices.

Teachers mentor and coach each other to reflect on and improve aspects of their teaching. This good practice also provides opportunities for teacher leadership.

Senior leaders agree that next steps for curriculum development include continuing to:

  • develop the application of the inquiry approach, to support student learning across the curriculum
  • build effective partnerships with whānau so they are increasingly able to support their children’s learning.

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

The school supports Māori students well. The hauora (wellbeing) of Māori students and their whānau is well supported by key people within the school.

Concepts such as manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ako, tuakana/teina relationships and whānau groupings underpin the school’s culture. Māori students spoken to by ERO, report they feel affirmed in their identity as Māori.

Māori students achieve well. They have a positive view of themselves as learners and as leaders within the school. School data show that Māori students achieve at higher levels in reading, writing and mathematics than Māori students in the local area and across New Zealand.

There is an expectation that all students have opportunities to learn te reo me ōna tikanga Māori within their classroom programme. Older students who are already speakers of te reo are supported through additional programmes to extend their knowledge.

The principal agrees that aligning school documentation will better reflect how success as Māori is influencing educational success. This alignment could also provide further direction for teachers to support Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Relationships between the board and principal are founded on high levels of trust. Trustees, some of whom are leaders within their communities, are representative of the community and its diversity. They are very supportive of the principal and staff.

The experienced and knowledgeable principal leads the senior leadership team well. These school leaders are actively involved in the school and are well known to the community. They work well together to develop and improve programmes and school initiatives.

School leaders report that self review processes are gaining momentum and contributing to ongoing improvement. Self review processes include parent and teacher input and consider aspects of school operations that are likely to have an impact on students’ achievement.

Robust appraisal processes promote professionalism and support teachers to improve and adapt their practice. Teachers use Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and the Registered Teachers’ Criteria to reflect on ways to work better with students.

In order to strengthen current practice the trustees should consider how they can:

  • explore training opportunities that will support them in their governance roles
  • receive regular information and reports about school progress in relation to strategic goals and student achievement
  • better record the board's important discussions and decisions about actions to be taken.

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.

In order to meet the school’s legal obligations, the board must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s communities, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students 
    [National Education Guidelines 1993; National Administration Guideline, 1(e)]
  • adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community
    [Education Act 1989, Section 60B].


Fairburn School serves an established multicultural community. The school has good systems to provide pastoral care for students and families. Teachers promote positive relationships with students and this is helping them engage better with their learning. The school curriculum gives priority to literacy and mathematics. Student attendance is high.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

13 April 2015

About the School


Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition






Cook Island

Middle Eastern










Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

13 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

August 2008

September 2005