Hurunui College - 08/11/2012

1 Context

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

The school provides full primary and secondary education for students from a wide geographical area. Teachers use the school’s very attractive rural environment to expand students’ learning opportunities and make learning meaningful and interesting. Students have many ongoing opportunities to participate in sporting competitions and other activities beyond the school.

The extensive and well-planned upgrading of school’s buildings and facilities is promoting student engagement in a wide variety of creative and career-focused programmes.

The school’s close relationship with the local community includes the shared use of some facilities and strong support from the local Parent Teacher Association. This is contributing to students’ sense of belonging and pride in the school.

The school has a positive and settled culture. Students describe the school as family-like, inclusive and safe. These aspects of the school’s culture strongly support older students looking after and relating well to younger students.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are generally well engaged in their learning. The school has identified concerns about the rate of progress of some students across the school. Other students are making satisfactory progress.

In Years 1 to 8, about 70% of students are achieving at or above the National Standards for mathematics and reading, and about 50% of students achieve at or above the National Standards for writing.

In Years 11-13, achievement is closely analysed in relation to the expected performance of students. National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results vary widely from year to year, partially in relation to the small number of students at each level. The school reports that NCEA data for 2011 showed pleasing results for Levels 2 and 3 while Level 1 was lower than that of the previous two years. The school has yet to analyse NCEA performance against comparable schools.

Areas of strength

Overall, ERO observed positive learning relationships and settled classrooms across the school. School leaders and teachers use a number of successful approaches to make learning purposeful and enjoyable for students. These include:

  • senior leaders and teachers having a very good knowledge of students and their families
  • good systems for identifying and supporting students whose learning and progress are at risk
  • effective management of NCEA assessment systems and accountability processes
  • adaptation of learning programmes to better meet students’ interests, strengths and needs
  • promoting an inclusive school culture, especially in regard to students with special learning needs.

Areas for development and review

Students spoken with by ERO said they valued the extra support many teachers provided outside of class time. Some students said that noise levels in some classes were distracting them from their learning.

Senior leaders and teachers should:

  • provide students with more opportunities to give feedback about teaching and learning
  • extend the use of high-quality teaching practices observed in some classrooms so that all students benefit
  • further extend the current initiatives to raise the achievement of students in Years 1 to 8
  • enhance opportunities for students to take greater responsibility for their own learning.

3 Curriculum

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

Students experience a varied and interesting curriculum that makes good use of the local environment and is generally effective in promoting and supporting students’ learning.

ERO observed that in some classrooms there is variability in the quality of curriculum programmes and related teaching and learning practices.

Areas of strength

Senior leaders and teachers ensure that the curriculum is increasingly responsive to students’ learning needs and interests. Some of their good practices include:

  • very good use of local expertise and resources in learning programmes and activities, especially those with an environmental focus
  • expanding curriculum opportunities for students through a flexible timetable and the development of distance learning technologies and programmes
  • providing effective programmes for students most in need of extra learning support
  • a well-structured professional development programme for teachers that is linked to curriculum objectives
  • making significant efforts to further develop career pathways, especially for non-academic students in the senior school.

Areas for development and review

In order to build on and further improve curriculum programmes and the way they are delivered, senior leaders should now:

  • develop clearer expectations and guidelines for planning, monitoring and accelerating students’ learning across the curriculum, especially for priority learners
  • address variable teaching practice to ensure that all students have access to high quality curriculum programmes and practices
  • ensure that there is more consistent use of assessment data to meet the range of abilities within classes
  • provide ongoing professional learning opportunities for teachers in the junior school to continue to develop their understanding and skills in working with National Standards.

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

The school has made some progress in promoting the educational success of Māori students. The board and principal have identified this area as a priority for improvement.

Across the school, there are mostly low numbers of Māori learners at each year level. Senior leaders informed ERO that school data showed that Māori students generally enter the junior school with lower levels of literacy and numeracy than their peers. Compared with some other groups of Years 1 to 8 students in the school, Māori students generally have lower levels of achievement against the National Standards.

There are small numbers of Māori students at NCEA levels but achievement is generally comparable with their peers.

A recently-completed survey of Māori students showed that most Māori learners valued their relationships with teachers and enjoyed being at the school. Māori students spoken with by ERO said that the school was a safe place and that they were respected by others.

Visibility of the Māori culture in the school environment is increasing through the use of signage, the use of te reo Māori in some classes, a new school waiata and kapa haka performances.

Areas for development and review

The board and senior leaders must now:

  • develop targets and plans for Māori achievement and success as Māori
  • continue to strengthen cultural responsiveness in curriculum content by extending the very good practices observed in some classrooms
  • further integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in all class programmes
  • continue to seek ways to involve whānau in planning for success as Māori
  • provide ongoing opportunities to involve Māori students in planning and decision making that affects them.

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.

Areas of strength

The school’s positive response to the previous external review includes the introduction of a school- wide behaviour management programme. This is contributing to the positive school tone and culture. Significant improvements have also been made to self-review practices.

The board has sound governance structures and processes and receives comprehensive reports from the principal regarding progress towards annual goals. Trustees are also well informed by the rigorous three-yearly review of curriculum and review of other areas of the school’s operations.

Areas for development and review

In order to further sustain current improvements, the board and senior leaders should now develop an identified process to consistently follow up on recommendations from self-review reports and board meetings.

A more formalised and regular evaluation of senior leadership effectiveness should enable senior leaders to more critically review the extent to which, as a team, they are contributing to the school’s leadership, management and ongoing improvement.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

1. Develop plans, policies and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students 

National Administration Guidelines 1(e)

2. Report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards in writing at least twice a year.

National Administration Guidelines 2A(a)

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 2012

About the School


Hawarden, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)



School roll


Gender composition

Boys 129; Girls 98

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



Cook Island




Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

8 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2009

June 2008

August 2005