Hillside Primary School - 29/05/2018

School Context

Hillside Primary School is a rural Year 1 to 8 primary school in Central Southland. It has a roll of 37 children who learn in multilevel classrooms.

The school’s vision is to encourage innovation, promote excellence and life-long learning, and to celebrate and respect differences. To achieve its valued outcomes, the school’s strategic goals are focused on accelerating achievement and progress for all children in reading, writing and mathematics. This is supported with a school-wide approach to learning using digital technology.

Leaders and the teaching staff have been stable for a number of years. Most of the board are experienced and long-standing, with some newly-elected trustees.

The board receives reports on achievement and progress for all children in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the school’s targets. Achievement reports are also received for some other curriculum areas, including science, technology and visual arts. This includes reports on children who require additional learning support.

The principal regularly reports to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for children in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • children’s wellbeing

  • progress against school targets.

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?

Achievement trends have been consistently maintained over time. 2017 end of year data shows that most children achieve well in writing. Almost all children are achieving well in reading and mathematics. Progress data shows that most children have made or sustained sufficient rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics over the last three years. School information shows that almost all children have achieved well in science, technology and the arts.

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

The school is highly successful in accelerating progress for children who need this. By the end of Year 8 the school can consistently show that greater proportions of all children achieve at or above the school’s expectations. All children who need to make progress in their learning are identified, individually planned for and are closely monitored within the class. The school makes good use of internal and external support, such as teacher aides and the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) network.

School information shows that those children who need to make accelerated achievement have made progress but not all have made enough progress to be at the expected curriculum levels yet.

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?

The school provides a number of processes and practices that are significantly contributing to highly effective school operations, student success and wellbeing. It provides an authentic and responsive, integrated curriculum where the learner is at the centre. All children are encouraged to be actively engaged and benefit from a meaningful inquiry approach to their learning. The curriculum is set in real world contexts that are relevant to the children’s lives and backgrounds. Teachers ensure that learning is thoughtfully integrated across different curriculum areas and linked to the local context and wider world. Digital technology is frequently used as a teaching and learning tool and for the sharing of learning between children, teachers and parents.

The board is highly committed to children’s learning, wellbeing and progress. Trustees significantly resource skilled teacher aides to support individual and group programmes in and out of the class. They maintain a focus on the whole child and actively promote and continue to develop networks to extend and enrich the school’s curriculum. Relationships between the board and the principal are based on a shared commitment to improving valued outcomes for all children. Trustees draw on their networks and expertise to strengthen organisational capacity and effectiveness. The principal and the board collaboratively develop and successfully pursue the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence.

The principal seeks out parents’ aspirations and encourages reciprocal learning relationships with them and their whānau and children. Parents, whānau and community are welcomed and involved in children’s learning and school activities as respectful and valued partners. The principal establishes clear expectations for all children and teachers to enact the values of the school and to support the school’s localised curriculum. The principal promotes and engages in professional learning alongside teachers which has impacted positively on learner outcomes.

Teachers clearly identify strategies and implementation approaches that result in the successful acceleration of children’s progress and achievement. Teachers work collaboratively to plan a relevant curriculum and design engaging tasks and activities. Teachers are knowledgeable about and confident with current technologies to be able to use them effectively to support effective teaching and create new opportunities to learn. Teachers know the children very well as individuals and learners. They use innovative and collaborative approaches to assessment, and each child’s progress is carefully tracked and monitored.

Internal evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building processes in the school are purposeful and focused on improvement. The school makes good use of relevant information across all year levels to promote school-wide improvement.

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

The school needs to develop indicators for reporting against its valued outcomes in relation to the school’s vision and values.

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:

  • high levels of student engagement, agency, achievement and progress

  • strong, collaborative learning partnerships with parents and the wider community

  • innovative and future-focused teaching and learning practices.

Next step

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

  • the development and use of relevant indicators for reporting against the school’s valued outcomes in relation to its vision and values.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in four-to-five years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer – Southern

Te Waipounamu – Southern

29 May 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female: 16

Male: 21

Ethnic composition

Māori: 1

Pākeha: 33

Other: 3

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

29 May 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: 15 June 2015

Education Review: 15 June 2010