Hillsborough School - 24/11/2017


Hillsborough School caters for around 400 children from Years 1 to 6. The roll currently includes seven percent Māori, 11 percent Pacific and 21 percent Indian students. The 2014 ERO review identified that the school was highly inclusive and this good practice continues.

The board consists of long serving and new trustees. They have a professional approach to their stewardship role, and are considering ways to expand their governance skills. A new principal was employed at the end of 2016 to replace the previous long-serving principal.

Since the 2014 ERO review the school has joined the Puketāpapa Community of Learning (CoL). Teachers have participated in professional learning focused on strategies to raise student achievement and positive behaviour management. Two innovative learning environments have been developed for senior students.

Trends in achievement over the previous three years show results in all the National Standards have remained consistent. Approximately 80 percent of students achieved the standards in reading and mathematics, and close to 70 percent in writing. Disparity between Māori and non-Māori children has been significantly reduced over time. However, there is disparity remaining between the achievement of Pacific and non-Pacific students in reading and mathematics.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, for all children. This progress is supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.Learners are achieving well.

The school community has high expectations of children to succeed. Teachers are focussing on children having greater ownership of their learning journey. Trustees and senior leaders are aware that implementing internal evaluation procedures is a priority to further support ongoing improvement to children achieving equitable outcomes.

Classroom programmes are characterised by the school’s vision of ‘REACH their potential’, and the values ‘make positive choices, challenge yourself and show kindness’. Children demonstrate these values in the way that they monitor their own learning journey, and collaborate with others.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school responds very effectively to meeting the achievement needs of Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. However, more effective strategies are required to reduce the achievement disparity between Pacific and non-Pacific children.

Senior managers have very good systems in place to respond to the needs of children with additional learning needs. The special education needs coordinator (SENCO) identifies individual needs early, and focused support is provided to progress students’ achievement. Data show that children are progressing at expected rates.

The school’s 2016 achievement information shows that by the end of Year 6 the majority of children achieve the standards for reading and mathematics. Currently, there is a strategic focus on the writing programme with the aim of raising overall achievement. Senior leaders are also taking positive steps to decrease a widening gap in writing achievement between male and female learners in the senior school.

The board is assured that teachers’ judgements about children’s achievement are robust and reliable. Teachers use a range of school-based and standardised assessment tools, and make good use of assessment information to plan how to progress children’s learning. They also moderate assessment samples in their teams and school-wide. Senior leaders and teachers have worked with other CoL schools to moderate their assessment of children’s writing.

Teachers place value on knowing their learners, and their families and whānau. This has led to responsive and positive learning relationships to support children and their engagement in learning.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Hillsborough School has many useful processes that support the achievement of equity and excellence.

A strong leadership team with a clear vision guides teachers to meet the needs and enhance the strengths of children. There is a strong emphasis on increasing student’s understanding and ability to monitor their individual learning progress and achievement.

Senior leaders place high value on supporting the development of each teacher’s leadership and teaching skills. Teachers have access to useful external and internal professional learning based on the school’s vision and direction. There are also many opportunities for teachers to lead initiatives focused on increasing equity and excellence. As a result, teachers have a shared sense of purpose and common understandings about children’s learning.

Children are learning across the breadth of the New Zealand Curriculum and learn in caring and inclusive environments. The curriculum is responsive to the community’s aspirations. This is evident in the way teaching programmes incorporate the Hillsborough School’s values, identified learning skills and the well-established children’s inquiry approach.

Senior leaders and teachers are catering well for children’s diverse needs. Children with additional needs have their progress monitored closely. The board ensures that appropriate resources are available to enhance children’s learning, and support them to access the curriculum.

The school has an increased focus on providing opportunities for Māori to succeed as Māori, and for all children to increase their knowledge of the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. External support is helping children and teachers to build their confidence to use te reo Māori, participate in kapa haka,waiata and aspects of tikanga.

The board continues to concentrate on ways to enrich parent partnerships. The school values the multicultural diversity of the community, and cultural aspects are integrated into learning programmes. Senior leaders provide purposeful consultation opportunities for the community to gather parent aspirations and expectations. This information is used to inform board policies, and to make appropriate changes to procedures and systems.

The board maintains sustainable systems to ensure it meets legislative requirements. There is a coherent performance management system for teachers, which is evidence-based and closely linked to progressing children’s achievement.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Trustees and senior leaders are aware that ongoing improvement hinges on implementing evidenced-based internal evaluation procedures to gauge children’s achievement of valued outcomes. As part of this, they acknowledge that school priorities are to:

  • develop a school-wide concept of what accelerated learning should look like, and use this as a basis for evaluating how well programmes are promoting valued outcomes for children
  • develop further ways for children to have input into their contexts for learning so that the curriculum becomes increasingly relevant and ‘child-driven’
  • continue exploring ways to enhance the bicultural aspects of the curriculum
  • further strengthen partnership with Pacific families
  • enhance stewardship knowledge and processes through external training, and further develop systems for evaluating the board’s effectiveness.

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

  • 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.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to

  • strengthen school-wide internal evaluation to gauge children’s achievement of valued outcomes
  • enable children to experience greater personalised learning

  • develop curriculum and other approaches that more effectively support Pacific learners.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

24 November 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type


School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

other Asian
Middle Eastern
other Pacific


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

24 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2014

February 2010

December 2006