Heddon Bush School - 28/01/2020

School Context

Heddon Bush School is a Year 1 to 8 rural school in Central Southland. It has a roll of 57 students.

The school’s mission is ‘to ready our children for an ever-changing future, encouraging each child to strive to their full potential in all areas’. Its values are: kaitiaki, aroha, respect and excellence. The following have been identified as important at Heddon Bush School: for students to achieve academic success, develop good social skills and confidence in their own ability, and have an overall enjoyment of learning. To support the school’s mission and valued outcomes, the current strategic goals include:

  • ensuring all students are reaching their full potential and their unique learning needs are being met through a rich and varied curriculum
  • continuing to focus on building educationally powerful connections and communications with parents and whānau to improve learning outcomes for students
  • focusing on improving and developing appraisal, inquiry, reflection and self review systems to continue to improve teaching practices.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to the school targets for writing and mathematics.

Over the past two years the school has taken part in professional learning and development (PLD) to improve student outcomes in mathematics.

The board is a mix of experienced and new trustees. Since the May 2016 ERO review the board has taken part in training regarding governance and school planning.

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 continues to move towards equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

Achievement reports to the board show:

  • the numbers of students achieving at or above their expected level has increased over the past three years in reading, writing and mathematics
  • most students achieved at or above their expected levels in 2018
  • in 2018 there was significant improvement in boys’ achievement in reading and writing and for girls in mathematics.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the progress of those students in mathematics and writing target groups.

School reports show that around half of those students identified as needing to lift their achievement levels in writing and mathematics did so.

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?

Students learn in caring, inclusive and supportive environments. They enjoy positive relationships with each other and their teachers. The school’s values are strongly evident. Students model these desired attitudes and behaviours to help new students settle into the school’s culture. Teachers establish effective learning-focused partnerships with parents, using a range of tools and approaches to enable continuity of support and expectations between home and school. These practices enable students to develop a strong sense of belonging to their school and know it is a safe place to take risks with in their learning.

The trustees, principal, teachers and support staff are highly committed to equity and excellence for all students. The board resources additional hours for leadership, teaching and teacher aides, appropriate PLD, and suitable teaching and learning tools. There is careful use of staffing to maximise small group and one-to-one instruction. Students benefit from effective teaching strategies, including best practice approaches and interventions for those students needing additional support. Teachers scrutinise progress information to respond most appropriately to the needs, interests and abilities of students. Teachers take a shared responsibility to ensure all students have equitable opportunities to learn.

Effective leadership, in collaboration with teachers, enables a culture of ongoing improvement. The principal and teachers have high expectation of themselves. The principal is actively involved in the planning, co-ordination and evaluation of the effectiveness of the curriculum and teaching. There is a clear line of sight from the school’s vision through to class programmes.

Robust practices and processes to guide school-wide teaching and learning programmes have been established. Effective professional development has resulted in teachers establishing shared understandings of teaching practices and approaches across the school. Appraisal and the inquiries teachers undertake to investigate the effectiveness of their teaching are consistently based on improving practice for better student outcomes. Teachers have regular and useful formal and informal professional conversations about what is working well and what could be better. The consistent and cohesive practices of teachers and support from senior leaders are key contributors to effective teaching and learning.

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

For the school community to have a greater understanding of how well students are progressing at this school, the principal and teachers need to:

  • monitor and report on the rates of progress of all students to better identify if sufficient progress has been made and sustained, especially for reading, writing and mathematics
  • know and report about other areas of students’ development that are important at Heddon Bush School.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Heddon Bush’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • teaching and learning that is contributing to improving levels of achievement in core learning areas
  • its effective processes to gather comprehensive learning information enabling teachers to best support each student’s learning
  • its collaborative and improvement focused staff that supports teachers deliver appropriate teaching programmes.

Next steps

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

  • using the data already within the school to know about the sufficiency of progress of all students in the identified areas that matter most at this school.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

28 January 2020

About the school


Central Southland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 33 Male 24

Ethnic composition

Māori: 4

NZ European/Pākehā: 38

Asian: 6

Other: 9

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

28 January 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2016

Education Review April 2013