Fairhaven School (Napier) - 16/05/2018

School Context

Fairhaven School (Napier) delivers a holistic education for students aged five to twenty one years who have a range of special educational learning needs, intellectual and/or physical disabilities. The students are mainly from Napier city, Taradale and surrounding areas.

At the time of the review, of the 70 students on the roll, 37 identify as Māori and 28 as Pākehā.

All students enrolled have high or very high needs and most are funded through the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme. A team of specialists and therapists provide support for students in consultation with families, whānau and staff. Each student has a personalised learning programme (PLP).

Beyond the base school there are 10 satellite classes hosted by four local schools, Tamatea Primary School, Nelson Park School, Tamatea Intermediate School and Tamatea High School. Located at Bridge Pa is a young adult transition centre, Te Rangimarie, that caters for students moving into further training and community living.

Since the February 2015 ERO evaluation the senior leadership team structure has changed and there have been significant staffing changes.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement in relation to the key competencies

  • Māori student achievement

  • progress and achievement in relation to individual goals

  • the proportion achieving their PLP goals.

The school is a member of Ahuriri 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 has a clear focus on each student making excellent progress in relation to their personal learning plans and goals.

School data from 2017 show that most students achieve 60 - 80% of their goals with a few achieving 80% or more. Achievement in 2017, compared to that of 2016, shows students’ achievement increased by 10% in literacy and numeracy and 19% across the combined learning areas. With the use of a range of assessment tools, the school can show overall improvement and positive changes for learners.

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

A number of students, including Māori, have exceeded PLP expectations and have made accelerated progress.The school has continued to promote Māori success and consult with whānau during the PLP process.

The principal reports to the board that overall Māori students are achieving at a similar level to their peers in the school. Data for 2017 compared to 2016 show an increase in Māori students achieving 80% or more of their combined goals for literacy, mathematics and key competencies.

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?

A strategic approach is taken to change management and developing well-aligned systems and processes for schoolwide consistency to enable equity and excellence. The principal has provided leadership for this, strongly supported by the board, leadership team and the staff.The school has effective strategies and sustainable processes to achieve equitable outcomes for all students.

Open communication between specialists, teachers and parents enable students’ goals to be established in partnership, well known and integrated in learning programmes. Goals are focused on the curriculum and key competencies and broken down into manageable steps to support success.

The curriculum, informed by research and useful review, gives guidance and clear expectations about how learning will be enacted in the school. It effectively supports learners to meet their well-designed learning plans.

The school provides opportunities essential for learning and development and enables students to participate in their communities. There are increased opportunities for students to learn alongside their peers in a mainstream environment.

Students are engaged and learning appropriate skills. Well-considered teaching strategies have resulted in student engagement. Interactions are highly respectful and students follow behaviours modelled by teachers. Students focus on meeting highly visible goals. The choices provided grow their independence.

Robust behaviour management plans help students who require support to manage their behaviour. Staff focus is on engagement and students’ wellbeing, how they learn best and how to set up the learning environment to meet their needs. Data are collected to identify patterns of behaviour for these students. Lead team case conferences are held weekly with the educational psychologist to review the information and develop management strategies.

The Fairhaven Assessment Specialist Team (FAST) is a critical part of the school. The specialists plan strategies that are responsive to the individual needs of students. Through professional development (PLD), they update the staff on general practice and support them with student specific strategies.

Teacher appraisal is rigorous and supportive. Student outcomes are enhanced by staff skill and knowledge through ongoing PLD collaborations and reflective practice. Engagement for Learning has strengthened teachers’ pedagogy and improved outcomes for students. A shared schoolwide focus on target students ensures their progress and achievement is tracked and monitored over time.

In 2017, the school also focused on the transition pathway of the senior students. South Pacific Educational Courses (SPEC) were introduced at Te Rangimarie, the centre for young adult learners. The emphasis is on developing and demonstrating the key competencies and skills needed for work and or further learning. SPEC has been introduced in the high school for Year 12 and 13 students.

Trustees are well-informed about student progress. They are committed to making a difference for each student and provide appropriate support for them and their whānau. They actively advocate for the students and represent the school in the wider community.

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

For sustained improvement and future learning success the school recognises these next steps for development:

  • some of the successful practices have been recently implemented. These now need to be embedded across the school, if appropriate, and evaluated to establish what is working and why

  • the use of a range of strategies to be culturally responsive when working with parents, families, whānau and students are to be documented. Having these culturally responsive practices, as part of the curriculum review, should enable the effectiveness of these to be assessed

  • to complement the current high quality self-review practice, building internal evaluation capability is needed at all levels This should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to better assess what is and is not working, and who for, to determine what changes are needed and to better know the impact of improved systems, processes and initiatives on outcomes for students.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • strategic leadership that is focused on improved systems and processes for consistency of practice that promotes successful outcomes for all students
  • teachers making the most of learning opportunities that engage students
  • good quality self review that has led to the provision of a well-developed framework for curriculum delivery
  • an appropriate assessment approach that enables teachers to identify the small learning steps necessary to meet the complex needs of students.

Next steps

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

  • reflecting the current good practice by documenting cultural responsiveness in the curriculum review
  • building internal evaluation capability.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

16 May 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special School

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52, Female 18

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 28
Māori 37
Asian 3
Pacific 2

Provision of Māori medium education


Special Feature

Base and satellite classes

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

16 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015
Education Review December 2010
Education Review May 2008