Fairfield Intermediate - 24/05/2018

School Context

Fairfield Intermediate is an urban, co-educational school located in Hamilton and caters for students in Years 7 and 8. The school roll of 594 students includes 244 students who identify as Māori.

The school’s vision statement is ‘Exceptional Learners, Exceptional Place – Whakaharahara ākonga, Whakaharahara wāhi’. Its core values are expressed as ‘the four Cs’: courtesy, courage, co-operation and commitment. The school’s annual achievement target is to accelerate the progress of all students currently achieving below expected national levels, with a particular focus on writing. The school’s charter identifies the significant majority of Māori students who are achieving below expected national levels in writing, and states the expectation that these students will experience accelerated progress and achievement in the current year.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the 2015 ERO report there have been significant personnel changes. A new principal began in Term 4 of 2016. A new assistant principal joined the experienced deputy principal (who is also the SENCO) on the senior leadership team in Term 2 of 2017. The board of trustees has several new members and there have been two chairpersons in the last year. There was a substantial change to the teaching staff in 2017 and the school began this year with ten new teachers, eight of whom are in their first two years of teaching. The recent establishment of a Year 7 to 10 school in the area has impacted considerably on the roll at Fairfield Intermediate which has decreased by 22%. The proportion of Māori students has increased to 41%.

There have also been significant changes to aspects of the school’s philosophy. The principal has set the school values, and the focus of the school in 2017 was implementing the principal’s vision. The principal has re-structured the curriculum to include academies that are designed to support selected students to develop their strengths and encourage their interests. The ‘Whaia te Tika’ initiative led by the principal is designed to support the attendance and behaviour of some of at-risk students.

The school is a member of the Te Raki Rāwhiti O Kirikiriroa (North East Hamilton) Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is not achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Achievement data from 2016 and 2017 shows that approximately half of students achieved at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. There are significant levels of disparity in achievement for Māori and Pacific students who achieve at much lower levels than their Pākehā peers at the school. Boys achieve at proportionally similar levels to girls in mathematics, but at significantly lower levels in reading and writing.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is not accelerating learning for Māori and other students whose achievement is below expected national levels. The school is accelerating learning for some at-risk students. School leaders have started to collect achievement information to identify the progress of at-risk students. This information for Year 8 students in 2017 indicates that approximately 40% of those achieving below expected levels made accelerated progress. The school could not identify accelerated progress for Year 7 students in 2017. Developing and implementing processes for monitoring and reporting the progress of all at-risk students needs to be a priority for leaders.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

School programmes are responsive to students’ interests. Students work in settled classrooms where positive relationships with their teachers are developed. There are meaningful contexts for learning in a range of specialist classes. Teachers collaborate in teams to share strategies, and there is a new focus on integrating literacy across the curriculum.

There are good systems and processes in place to support students with additional learning needs, and inclusive practice is evident in the classrooms.

Trustees have been proactive in accessing targeted support. The board has engaged an external education consultant and seeks advice from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) to support trustees in their decision making and governance. The principal and senior leaders have worked with an educational consultant who has provided relevant support and guidance as the need has arisen. The school has received professional development funding for a facilitator from the University of Waikato to work with teaching staff on implementing teaching as inquiry in 2018. A Student Achievement Function (SAF) who is a Ministry of Education (MoE) facilitator, is working with a team of teachers and leaders on a programme focused on raising student achievement for a specific group of targeted students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The principal must work collaboratively with senior leaders to implement a more inclusive approach to school development. Priorities should be given to:

  • consultation with students, staff, parents and whānau to ensure that the school’s strategic vision, values and goals align with the aspirations of the wider school community
  • developing annual, school-wide achievement targets that include all students at risk in their learning
  • strengthening culturally responsive practice in classrooms and teaching programmes
  • developing agreed expectations for behaviour management
  • documenting shared expectations for curriculum implementation.

Leaders and teachers need to make effective use of assessment information to focus teaching, reduce disparity and accelerate the progress of all students whose learning is at risk. Leaders need to provide regular information to trustees about how effectively the school is accelerating progress for all at-risk learners. Teachers need to develop students’ understanding of their own learning and next steps.

Internal evaluation processes need to be further developed. Systematic and coherent evaluation is necessary to:

  • understand the impact of newly-established initiatives on student achievement
  • inform resourcing and programme decisions to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

Leadership needs to implement a strategic approach to human resource management that includes:

  • full implementation of performance management processes to appraise the principal, senior leaders and teachers
  • the provision of professional learning that responds to identified teacher and student learning needs
  • induction and support of new teachers to the school and teachers who are in their first two years of teaching.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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

  • finance

  • 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Appraisal audit

The principal and teaching staff were not appraised in 2017. An appropriate appraisal system will help inform the board, the principal and teachers about professional and curriculum development priorities and support positive achievement outcomes for learners. The board of trustees should ensure that appraisal processes for teachers and the principal are fully implemented and reported on.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 4 long stay international students attending the school. An additional 60 students were also enrolled in short stays ranging from one to three weeks in duration. The school has highly effective systems and processes in place to support the pastoral care and individual learning of international students. Students are well integrated into the life of the school and have many opportunities to share aspects of their own cultures and develop positive relationships with other students.

Actions for compliance

During the course of the review, ERO identified several areas of non-compliance. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. annually assess the principal against all the professional standards for principals
    [NZ Ed Gazette: and relevant employment agreement]

  1. receive reports at least once a year in relation to:

  • teacher registration (including practising certificates and LATs)
    [Good practice re ss 349-350 Ed Act 1989]
  • the assessment of teachers against the professional standards
    [Good practice re ss 77C State Sector Act 1988: NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]
  • the appraisal of teaching staff by the professional leader of the school based on the Standards for the Teaching Profession established by the Education Council for the issue and renewal of practising certificates.
    [Ref: Part 31 Education Act 1989]
  1. ensure that the annual report is available to the public on an internet site maintained by or on behalf of the board.
    [section 87AB Ed. Act 1989]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • be assured that the newly developed policy regarding physical restraint rules is understood and fully implemented by all staff

  • review policies and processes for bullying prevention and response to be consistent with MoE guidelines.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a range of learning opportunities that support student engagement

  • a strategic approach to accessing external support for the board and leadership.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • creating an inclusive and collaborative school culture for shared decision-making

  • targeted planning and action to accelerate learning

  • effective internal evaluation for strategic improvement

  • building professional capability and collective capacity to improve student outcomes.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about improvement in:

  • governance

  • professional leadership

  • curriculum and assessment

  • performance management.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

24 May 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 and 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 41%
Pākehā 44%
Pacific 6%
Other Asian 9%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

24 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review June 2010
Education Review May 2007