Hira School - 11/06/2013

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Hira School is a contributing primary school near Nelson that caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The learning environment reflects the school values of ‘kotahitanga’. Students are encouraged to be selfmanaging life-long learners.

The school is well supported by families and the community, in particular the ‘Friends of Hira School’. The purpose of the group is to fund additional support and programmes to enhance student learning. Positive, affirming relationships between students, staff, whānau and the community contribute to a strong sense of belonging and ownership.

Since the May 2009 ERO report significant changes in governance and leadership roles have occurred. The acting principal is contracted for a two year term until the principal returns from extended leave.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Students are engaged, achieving and making good progress in their learning. There is a positive tone in classrooms and students are active, enthusiastic learners. Teachers interact well with students and regularly affirm progress during lessons.

Teachers and senior leaders know how well students are progressing and achieving through the gathering and analysis of student assessment data. Teachers gather useful achievement information which they use to make positive changes to learning programmes. Standardised tests are used to inform teachers’ judgements of student achievement. Senior leaders report that the majority of students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Progress over time is evident.

Students with special needs are identified and the school has implemented a range of appropriate interventions, including teacher aide expertise. The board has set a strategic target to improve an

identified group’s achievement in mathematics, supported by a range of strategies such as purposeful teaching and small group tuition. A target group of readers, who may be at risk of not meeting the National Standards, is being monitored. These students made some progress in term 1.

Teachers report to families and whānau three times a year using goal setting and written reports about student progress and achievement. The next step is for closer monitoring to ensure consistency in how teachers report.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

Teachers effectively plan programmes that cover the learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum. The curriculum reflects, and is responsive to, the school’s students and context. Students take advantage of whānau days for challenges outside the classroom or with invited teaching specialists. Senior leaders have identified that the next step is to complete the review and documentation of the Hira school curriculum. This will be a document that integrates learning areas other than reading, writing and mathematics to show clear progressions of learning during students’ time at the school.

Teachers have a sound knowledge of each student’s needs and strengths. They work as colleagues to provide individual programmes that keep challenging each learner. Affirming behaviour management focuses on clear routines that contribute to a calm learning environment. Students work cooperatively and demonstrate independent learning skills.

Successful transitions into the school are well supported by effective partnerships with families and the local kindergarten. Students' sense of belonging and security is promoted. The school is continuing to strengthen learners' transitions through building relationships with personnel at a local intermediate school.

Staff are highly collegial and cohesive. Their strengths and interests are valued and contribute to learning programmes. As part of appraisal, they have begun to inquire into their teaching practice. This approach is valuable for tracking individual student achievement and to determine the best approach to accelerate target students’ learning. The next step is for teachers to strengthen their use of inquiry, using assessment, to reflect on how their teaching can improve learning outcomes.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are committed to Māori students success as Māori. Māori students interact well with teachers and their peers. Students have opportunities to participate in cultural activities such as a well established biennial marae visit. The school reports that most students are achieving above in relation to the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics.

Initiatives planned for 2013, include Māori community consultation, teacher professional learning and development including a focus on teachers’ cultural competencies for a more responsive curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

Hira School is building its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

Self-review processes are developing as an effective tool to inform change. Trustees have evaluated the completion of the 2012 strategic plan to assist in the review of the school's charter. The next step is to strengthen school-wide self review to monitor and gauge ongoing effectiveness of initiatives and programmes put in place to improve student outcomes. This development should include evaluating the impact of teaching on students and their achievement.

Changes to board membership since the previous ERO review have renewed trustees' focus on improving the effectiveness of governance. The board chair provides valuable continuity in leading developments. Trustees are developing a governance manual. Its completion should support the understanding of board roles and responsibilities, induction of new trustees and regular policy review.

Trustees are committed to providing resources to improve outcomes for students and teachers. They receive a range of student achievement data to support decision making. The next step is to ensure that reporting in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics meets legislative requirements.

Senior leaders articulate high expectations for student learning and achievement and for teachers as professionals. A planned approach to professional development supports teachers' ongoing growth. The acting principal has led the updating of school procedures to be consistent with the legislative requirement of the National Administration Guidelines.

Trustees, leaders and staff promote and develop links with parents, whānau and the community that enhance outcomes for students. A range of methods are used to communicate and share important information between families and the school. Parent feedback is valued and regularly sought and used.

A new teacher appraisal process is being implemented after reviews in 2012 and 2013. It is linked to the Registered Teacher Criteria. An appropriate programme to support provisionally registered teachers is required. The principal should ensure all teachers are appraised annually and that the appraisal process is better aligned with school priorities.

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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

During the review ERO identified areas of non-compliance. Police vetting of non-teaching personnel has not been systematically carried out. Not all teachers were fully appraised in 2012.

The board must:

  • establish and implement procedures for the police vetting of non-teaching employees and contractors[Education Act 1989 Sections 78C to 78CD]
  • ensure, through the principal, that all teachers are appraised against the appropriate professional standards annually.[s77C State Sector Act 1998]

In order to improve current practice, the board should ensure:

  • that the complaints policy is robust and considers the needs of students when dealing with concerns about staff
  • that education outside the classroom processes and procedures are reviewed and implemented
  • an appropriate induction and guidance programme is developed for provisionally registered teachers
  • consistency in how teachers report to parents on their child's progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards
  • trustees receive school-wide reports about students' achievement in relation to National Standards at least twice each year.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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


Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

11 June 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 31, Male 21

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

11 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2009

June 2006

August 2003