Halswell School - 19/05/2016

1 Context

The school has been through significant change since the 2012 ERO review. This includes a full rebuild following the Canterbury earthquakes.

Children now learn in multi-levelled class groups in five large flexible teaching spaces. They are taught by a number of different teachers. Children now have a wider range of facilities and resources to support their learning.

Stable leadership has provided continuity for children and staff during this time of change.

The school community continues to grow as has the school’s roll. The school has close links with community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are “preparing students for life long success - inspiring every child to imagine, create, learn and believe”. The school wants its students to be active learners, develop key competencies and display values such as care, respect, honesty, resilience. The school's achievement information shows that:

  • in 2014 and 2015, over 85% of children achieved at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics
  • Māori children continue to achieve at similar levels to their peers
  • high achievement and accelerated progress is particularly evident in reading
  • almost half of those children achieving below the National Standard made accelerated progress in 2015
  • many school groups and individual children participate with success in a variety of sporting and cultural activities.

Since the 2012 ERO evaluation the school has retained the strengths evident at that time and made good progress towards identified areas for improvement. Professional development and resourcing have promoted collaborative practices and extended the range of teaching strategies used to support children's learning and promote their independence.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is very effective in responding to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Key practices that are supporting such acceleration include:

  • successfully acknowledging and incorporating aspects of these children's culture into school practices, the environment and curriculum
  • providing children with significant opportunities to learn with and from others
  • teachers working in partnership with whānau to support children's learning and wellbeing.

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

The school has a variety of practices that help to respond effectively to children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. For example leaders and teachers:

  • have well-established systems for using robust assessment information to establish appropriate targets for raising student achievement
  • use reflective practices to effectively identify, respond to and monitor the progress of priority learners
  • provide additional support to children at the earliest possible time
  • regularly provide children with a suitable range of targeted needs-based teaching within class and group programmes
  • offer a wide range of additional learning opportunities and support using the staff that are most able to accelerate children’s progress.

The school is very effective in responding to other children whose learning and achievement need accelerating. Children with high and very high needs benefit from well planned and implemented individual education plans which make use of people’s expertise within and beyond the school.

A strength of the school is the way in which school leaders respond to and support children whose progress needs accelerating. There are robust systems for evaluating and reporting the success of interventions and adapting these as necessary.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school’s curriculum effectively enacts the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence.

School leaders and teachers place a high priority on raising learners' achievement, accelerating their progress and promoting their independence. There is an increasing focus being placed on incorporating children's interests into the curriculum, making learning meaningful and enriching their learning through involvement with children from other cultures.

Children are provided with a wide and varied range of learning opportunities with a particular emphasis on literacy, mathematics and cultural and physical activities. Students in years 7-8 are provided with many practical and worthwhile leadership opportunities.

Children learn in a supportive, inclusive, learning-focused environment. They benefit from the range of opportunities they have when working with a variety of teachers and their peers. The positive school culture actively promotes children's sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Ongoing improvements to their practices are helping teachers to be increasingly responsive to children’s strengths and needs. Collaborative teaching practices are leading to better use of staff strengths and more intensive, focused and regular small group teaching for all children.

Children’s personal goal setting and feedback from teachers is helping them to focus on key aspects to their learning. Good use is made of digital technology for teaching and learning. Recent improvements to the reflective practices used by teachers is helping to enhance the quality of teaching programmes.

Strong professional leadership has enabled the school to effectively respond to, and children to benefit from, a period of significant change and challenge. Key features of school leadership and management include:

  • their high expectations for all learners, staff and themselves
  • their strong focus on-going school improvement
  • strategic approach to managing change along with well-considered child-centred decision making informed through on-going internal evaluation
  • ensuring staff receive on-going support and suitable opportunities for building their teaching and leadership capacity and capability
  • promoting a positive school culture that fosters team work, collaboration and reflective practices.

An effective partnership exists between the school and community. Parents are actively involved in the life of the school, supporting their children’s learning and fundraising through the school’s active Parent Teacher Association.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

ERO agrees with the priorities identified by the board and school leaders in regard to embedding and building on several recent initiatives focusing on improving learning and teaching.

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.

The board, school leaders and ERO agree that:

  • the range of achievement information reported to the board should be extended to include information about other valued learner outcomes beyond reading, writing and mathematics and further explore ways of raising student achievement in writing.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five 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

  • Provision for international students.

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 were six international students attending the school.

The school makes very good provision for the education and pastoral care of its international students. These students have wide a variety of opportunities for involvement in the school and local community.

Appropriate systems are in place for managing, planning and reviewing the schools work with international students 

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

19 May 2016 

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 49%; Boys 51%

Ethnic composition



Other Ethnicities




Review team on site

April 2016

Date of this report

19 May 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

September 2008

June 2005