Hororata School - 08/11/2013

1 Context

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

Hororata School is located in a rural community west of Christchurch. Many of the students come from families working in the local dairy industry. The community has been significantly affected in the last three years by the Canterbury earthquakes and severe weather events.

The school is well supported by the local community. The active parent teacher association funds a number of initiatives. These include developments in the play grounds, providing additional resources for classrooms and the library, and increasing the range of information and communication technologies available.

Students learn in three mixed-year level classrooms. There have been a number of changes of staff in the senior school.

The board has addressed some of the recommendations from the December 2010 ERO review. Trustees have undertaken surveys of staff, students and parents. The community has also been consulted about the school’s health programmes.

2 Learning

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

The board, principal and teachers are making better use of school-wide achievement information since the last ERO review. The principal is focused on building the capacity of school leaders to extend the use of this information to support students’ learning.

The school’s most recent achievement information shows that the majority of students are achieving at or better than the National Standards in reading and some aspects of mathematics. The principal and teachers have identified groups of students who are not making the expected rates of progress in areas of writing.

Teachers collect a wide range of achievement data in reading, writing and numeracy. They make good use of this information in their class planning to meet students’ needs. Teachers have improved the way they make their judgements about student achievement.

The board is being provided with more useful reports about student achievement and progress, although greater use could be made of school-entry information to monitor progress over time. School data is used to identify groups of students who are not achieving at the expected level. Students with identified learning needs in reading, writing or mathematics are provided with additional, targeted learning support by well-trained teacher aides.

Areas for review and development

Student achievement reports to parents provide information about numeracy. The principal and teachers are aware that they need to report on all aspects of mathematics.

The school has recently asked parents about the usefulness of reports. The next step for the principal and teachers is to respond to the feedback from this survey to ensure that reports give parents clear information about how well their children are achieving and progressing in relation to the National Standards.

The board, principal and teachers need to place a greater emphasis on priority learners when setting targets and planning and evaluating class planning and programmes.

Policies and procedures are needed to guide the principal and teachers in managing additional learning support and how they will evaluate and report on its effectiveness in improving student learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning.

Since the 2010 ERO report, the principal and teachers have continued to review the school’s curriculum. The curriculum now has a stronger emphasis on learning and opportunities for students to be physically active. The school’s values and skills for learning are closely linked to the New Zealand curriculum. Learning statements for English, science, health and physical education are well documented and include clear guidelines for effective teaching practice.

The principal has a suitable vision for the school’s curriculum development. This includes ensuring that the school’s curriculum provides students with a wide range of learning opportunities covering all aspects of the New Zealand curriculum.

The principal provides teachers with focused feedback on the quality of their teaching and what their next steps are.

Areas for review and development

The principal and teachers are aware they need to complete some of the curriculum learning statements. They should also include Māori perspectives in all aspects of the curriculum.

Curriculum reviews could be further extended by:

  • having clearer guidelines for what is expected as part of the review
  • a more in-depth analysis of student achievement data
  • placing greater emphasis on teachers identifying what changes they could make to their teaching practices to improve outcomes for all students
  • having clearer plans for how review recommendations are going to be used and monitored.

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

The school has effective systems in place to identify and support individual Māori students’ learning through school assessment practices and class programmes.

While some Māori culture and language is included in the curriculum, such as school camp at a marae, ERO found limited evidence that Māori perspectives are well integrated in class programmes, teachers’ planning and the school curriculum documents.

The board has not consulted with the parents of Māori students to gain their views about their children’s learning as Māori. This was also identified as an area for action in the 2010 ERO report [Action 1].

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board is increasing its capability to plan for future school development. The board receives regular and comprehensive information about school operations.

Since the 2010 ERO review, staff work more closely together and leadership opportunities have been extended.

The principal and teachers make good links with other schools to broaden their own understanding and knowledge of teaching and learning.

Areas for review and development

The school’s long term planning does not clearly show what the main goals are for each year of the plan. The annual plans need indicators to show how these goals will be monitored and achieved.

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.


The board has attested that it has not consulted with the school’s Māori community to develop and make known to the school’s community policies and or procedures, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students [NAG 1 (e)].

During the onsite stage of the review ERO discussed with the board some areas of non-compliance. These related to non-teaching staff and police vetting and the board’s responsibility to promote healthy food options.

ERO has requested that the school provide an action plan to show how the board, principal and teachers will:

  • increase opportunities for Māori students to experience success as Māori
  • respond to the findings of its recent community survey.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

8 November 2013

About the School


Darfield, Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 33 Girls 23

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnicities





Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

8 November 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2010

March 2008

May 2005