Lichfield School - 12/09/2019

School Context

Lichfield School is a small country school located near Putaruru catering for students in Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 89 includes 33 students who identify as Māori. Since the previous ERO review in 2016 the principal and some of the teachers are new. There have been some changes to the board of trustees, including a new chairperson. The school vision Hei akoranga, inaianei, apopo, mo ake tonu atu (Learning today, tomorrow and always) is supported by the values of respect, integrity, resilience, confidence and excellence. Current school strategic goals are focused on students accessing the New Zealand Curriculum, governance and leadership to improve outcomes for all learners. Specific targets for 2019 focus on accelerating outcomes for students achieving below expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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?

The school is responsive to students’ need for learning and wellbeing but not yet achieving equitable outcomes for all learners.

School data for 2018 shows that most students achieved at or above expected levels in reading, a large majority in writing and the majority in mathematics. The data shows that Māori students achieve less well than other students in the school in reading, and at similar levels in writing and mathematics. In addition, girls are achieving at similar levels in mathematics but at higher levels than boys in writing. Boys are outperforming girls in reading. School-wide data gathered over a longer period shows increasing levels of achievement in reading and writing, and a slight drop in mathematics.

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

School data for 2018 shows effective acceleration for some students who began the year achieving below expected levels.

In reading just under half of these students made accelerated progress, a quarter in writing and a small proportion in mathematics. The school does not yet systematically gather and report school-wide data in relation to accelerated progress for Maori and other groups of learners.

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 board of trustees is providing effective direction for school development. Trustees have accessed useful training to develop confidence and knowledge about their governance roles. A detailed work plan has been established to guide ongoing review across all aspects of school operations. The board receives information about student achievement which is scrutinised and used to establish the overall picture of achievement and progress. Processes are in place to gather community voice, including from Māori parents and whanau. Strategic targets are focused on accelerating progress for all students who are achieving below expected levels.

Recent teacher professional learning has led to a more deliberate approach to accelerating student achievement. There are now processes in place to identify target students who need to make accelerated progress to reach expected levels, plan for their learning and track their progress throughout the year. There is also a consistent school-wide approach to providing students with feedback and feedforward about their learning. The use of a learning progression framework in writing is supporting students to talk about their learning and some are beginning to monitor their own progress.

Relationships between teachers and learners are respectful and classroom environments are well prepared to support student learning. There is focused and well-coordinated support for students with additional learning needs. Targeted interventions and inclusive environments contribute to positive outcomes for these learners. A strong and supportive relationship is evident between the school, parents and wider community. Parents feel welcome in the school and an open-door policy supports ongoing communication about student learning and wellbeing. Systems for reporting to parents enables them to be well informed about their child’s achievement and progress.

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

The following aspects of the management and use of achievement information require strengthening:

  • establishing processes to track and monitor the rate and pace of acceleration for all students, focusing on groups of students who are achieving below expected levels
  • reporting information to trustees about acceleration so they can evaluate the effectiveness of programmes in reducing disparity for identified groups of learners
  • processes to evaluate and report about the effectiveness of specific support interventions for students with identified needs.

Attention to these aspects is necessary to develop an approach to internal evaluation that is more sharply focused on promoting excellence and equity for all learners.

Teachers need to continue to develop and consistently use visible learning progression frameworks to support teaching and learning. This should support increasingly targeted planning for learning, and students’ knowledge of their own progress. It should also enable students to set more specific and relevant personal learning goals that relate more readily to next learning steps. Sharing these frameworks with parents and whanau should enable them to gain additional understanding of their child’s learning journey and further strengthen the partnership in learning.

The school has identified the need to review and further develop the local curriculum. This important development needs to include detailed documented guidelines and information to support teaching and learning across all learning/subject areas. This review also needs to include consideration of culturally responsive practice, the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori and the way the local curriculum supports the language, culture and identity of Māori students and whānau.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Lichfield School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • governance that is effective in guiding school direction
  • professional learning that is building teacher capability
  • community connections and relationships that support partnership.

Next steps

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

  • internal evaluation more sharply focused on accelerated progress
  • the use of learning progressions to support teacher and student knowledge of learning progress and pathways
  • local curriculum development to support teaching, learning and culturally responsive practice.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

12 September 2019

About the school


near Putaruru

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 52 Male 37

Ethnic composition

Maori 33
NZ European/Pākehā 52
Other 4

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

12 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016
Education Review April 2013
Education Review May 2012