Leeston School - 02/08/2011

1. Context

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

Since the 2008 ERO review, the board has appointed a new principal, a deputy principal and a number of teachers. The physical environment has been enhanced. The board has completed a major building project that has resulted in four new classrooms and a new administration building.

The board, managers and teachers are focused on improving student achievement, and fostering respect and caring for others. Teachers work together to improve student outcomes. They are well supported by the board and the leadership team and make good use of the many professional development opportunities offered to them.

2. Learning

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

Reports to the board show that most students are achieving well and making suitable progress compared with National Standards in reading, writing and numeracy. Appropriate targets have been set to lift the performance of students who are at risk of under achieving, particularly in writing and mathematics.

The school is making good progress in implementing National Standards. Teachers collect assessment information from a variety of sources and use it to make judgements about student progress against the National Standards.

ERO observed good levels of student engagement in learning. A positive learning environment and supportive relationships amongst students and between students and teachers were evident. Senior students are offered a wide range of leadership opportunities and provide good role models for younger students.

The leadership team is making good use of student achievement information to track the progress of some students over time. They have identified that some literacy programmes are supporting student achievement more than others. The leadership team is aware that they need to extend this process to include groups of students who are not making suitable progress in other curriculum areas.

Learning support for students

This school is inclusive and works for the success of all students. Students at risk of not achieving are identified early. A number of options assist students to experience success in their learning. The school has begun to evaluate the impact of these interventions on student learning outcomes and has identified considerable gains for student achievement from some programmes.

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

Most Māori students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Māori student achievement in reading, writing and numeracy is analysed and reported to the board.

Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning.

The board has recently taken positive steps to engage with Māori families. Trustees organised a whānau hui to get feedback from local iwi and whānau groups about the aspirations they have for Māori students. Feedback was also sought from Māori students. These outcomes have been documented and form the basis of a plan to review and improve the way the school promotes success for Māori students.

3. Curriculum

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

The school curriculum includes well developed sections on the characteristics of successful learners and local history. Although curriculum statements have still to be aligned with this document, class programmes are well planned and provide students with good opportunities to learn.

ERO observed good teaching with many examples of high quality practice, particularly in literacy and numeracy. These included teachers:

  • using learning intentions and goal setting to help students to focus their learning
  • adjusting programmes to cater for the ongoing needs of students
  • using a range of teaching approaches to engage students in meaningful learning, to challenge their thinking and to increase their confidence in learning
  • providing well-planned programmes that are based on student achievement information and ongoing changes of teaching practice.

Areas for development and review

The leadership team agrees that the curriculum learning areas need to be reviewed to ensure that they reflect local content, biculturalism and incorporate the New Zealand Curriculum principles.

Teachers have begun to involve students in assessing, knowing about and planning for their learning. ERO and the leadership team agree that teachers need to build on this work to make students more aware of how well they are achieving and what helps them to learn.

The leadership team has identified, and ERO agrees, that they should continue to strengthen self review at classes, syndicates and school-wide to improve programmes and identify the effectiveness of interventions for individuals and groups of students.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

Overall the school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The school is well led by the principal with support from the leadership team. A positive school culture is promoted. Teachers have many opportunities to take on leadership roles. There is high professional environment with teachers sharing ideas, engaging in professional learning conversations and trialling new approaches to improve student outcomes.

The board work well with the principal to govern the school effectively. Trustees have made good use of training to support them in governing the school. A new self-review plan has been developed to ensure that all aspects of the school’s operation and programmes are reviewed regularly. The board is making increasing use of this plan to know what is going well and where improvements need to be made.

The board and staff have established good partnerships with parents and consult them about school matters.

These positive relationships are fostered through parents being:

  • well informed about their children’s achievement and progress and school programmes and events
  • involved in a wide range of school activities in and beyond the school.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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 students' 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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)



School roll


Gender composition

Girls 52%; Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 87%

Māori 11%

Asian 2%

Review team on site

June 2011

Date of this report

2 August 2011

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2008

Education Review February 2005

Accountability Review March 2002