Fairhall School - 26/09/2019

School Context

Fairhall School, Blenheim, caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 199 enrolled, nine percent of Fairhall learners identify as Māori.

The school’s vision of a ‘Pathway to Excellence – Ara ki te hiranga’ is underpinned by the PRIDE values of Personal Best - whakarira, Respect - whakaute, Integrity – ngakaupono, Determination – whakatohi, and Enjoyment – rekareka.

Strategic goals focus on providing positive learning pathways for achievement, delivering future focused teaching and learning, and developing a school environment that enhances learning through cultural responsiveness and community engagement.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in relation to progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the December 2015 ERO review there have been few changes to staff. The board is a mix of established and newly-elected members.

Mathematics is the focus of current schoolwide professional learning and development. Staff are also learning te reo Māori. Both programmes are led by external facilitators.

The school is a Green/Gold Enviroschool. It is a member of the Piritahi Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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 promoting equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

School achievement information since 2016 indicates that most students, including Māori, achieve at or above the school’s curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics. Almost all students achieve at or above expectations in reading.

In 2016 and 2017, boys’ achievement in writing was lower than that of girls. The school responded to this disparity and in 2018 there was minimal difference in writing outcomes across all groups of students. In 2018, boys achieved better than girls in mathematics. Strategies to raise girls’ achievement are in place to address this disparity.

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

The school is effectively responding to those students whose learning and achievement needs accelerating. Information for 2018 shows that many students, including Māori and the school’s targeted students, made accelerated progress and are now on track to achieve at expected levels.

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?

Trustees and leaders strongly promote equity and excellence for all students. An improvement focused strategic plan includes clear goals to support learners meet their full potential. Appropriate achievement targets, clearly aligned to school priorities, focus on acceleration for students at risk of not achieving.

Teachers use a suitable range of nationally-referenced tools to gather achievement data. Students at risk of not achieving are well known and appropriate teaching strategies and programmes are implemented to assist them with their learning. Sound moderation practice supports teachers to make dependable judgements about student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. The board scrutinises achievement information and uses it well to inform decisions.

Teachers make effective use of learning environments to promote student participation and engagement. Students work collaboratively, responding to the range of learning opportunities. They confidently express their ideas and can articulate what they are learning.

The school has developed, and is beginning to implement, a culturally responsive schooling action plan. New initiatives include the introduction of kapa haka and professional development in te reo Māori for staff.

The principal has a well-considered, highly reflective and improvement-focused leadership approach. Positive collegial relationships are evident across staff, children and whānau.

Leaders and teachers are reflective and gather a comprehensive range of information to support decisions about improvement. An appropriate internal evaluation framework supports them to evaluate the impact of curriculum delivery in specific learning areas. Teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching of target students using a collaborative, well-considered process.

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

Leadership has identified that the documented curriculum needs further review and development. ERO’s evaluation supports this direction. This revised documentation should better reflect and guide current practices, priorities and initiatives, including opportunities for second language learning in years 7 and 8. A clearer focus on the local context and the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand is required. Further consultation with students, families and whānau should inform this curriculum development and promote children’s cultures, languages and identities.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (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 was one international student attending the school. Appropriate support and education is provided. Sound processes are used to review provision and outcomes for international students.

4 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Fairhall School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an improvement-focused strategic plan that clearly outlines goals to support learners meet their full potential
  • learning environments that promote student participation and engagement
  • a well-considered, highly reflective and strongly improvement-focused leadership approach that promotes a collective response to the needs of all learners
  • an appropriate internal evaluation framework to inform decisions about improvement.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to review the documented curriculum to better reflect and guide current practice, priorities and initiatives, and ensure a clearer focus on the local context and bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

26 September 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%

NZ European/Pākehā 89%

Other ethnic groups 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

26 September 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2015

Education Review October 2011