Limehills School - 19/02/2018

School Context

Limehills School has 185 Years 1 to 8 students, 35 of whom identify as Māori. The school is in Centre Bush, Central Southland. Since the last ERO review in 2013, new trustees have been elected to the board.

Leaders and teachers have been undertaking professional learning to deepen their ability to differentiate teaching and learning by better knowing students’ diverse learning needs. 

The school’s mission statement is that, ‘Limehills kids will take ownership of their learning and embrace challenges with a ‘can do’ attitude’. The mission is underpinned by the:

  • school’s RIPPERS values of, ‘respect, integrity, perseverance, participation, empathy, responsibility and sportsmanship’
  • vision for students to be confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners
  • enviro-school principles of Māori perspectives, respect for diversity, sustainable communities, learning for sustainability and empowered students.

The school strategic goals are that the school’s culture will continue to challenge and inspire, and sustainable finances will create future enhancement opportunities. The target is to accelerate progress in literacy achievement for targeted learners.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • engagement and wellbeing for success
  • achievement in relation to school targets
  • whole-school improvement trends
  • achievement of the school’s valued outcomes. 

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is very effectively achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students in literacy, mathematics and the New Zealand Curriculum key competencies.

Over the last three years most students have achieved very well in reading, writing and mathematics. Levels of achievement are well maintained through to Year 7 and 8, in particular, for reading and mathematics. Most Māori students achieve very well in these learning areas.

Reports from New Zealand standardised assessments show very good school-wide improvement over time in literacy and mathematics.

Almost all students are achieving the school’s valued outcomes, as expressed in the mission statement and school RIPPERS values.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in its response to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

In 2017, all Māori learners identified as needing to make accelerated learning in literacy did so. Almost all other targeted students also made accelerated progress in literacy.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school continues to be a very high performing school, in particular in the following areas.

Limehills School is relentless in its focus on continuous improvement. Teachers and leaders demonstrate adaptive expertise to better meet the needs of students. They critically apply new knowledge to problems to develop useful approaches and solutions. Increased collaboration between teachers spreads effective teaching practices across the school. Teachers are well supported by deep and focused professional development, robust appraisals, on-going evidence-based inquiries and clear guidelines and expectations for teaching. Skilled teacher aides ably support teaching and learning programmes.

Students learn and work in an environment where their ideas and views are sought, valued and responded to. This culture contributes greatly to children having a strong sense of belonging to their school. The school RIPPERS values, whanaungatanga/relationships, manaakitanga/caring for others and learning, and tuakana-teina/older children guiding and supporting younger children are highly evident in all areas and levels of the school. Māori culture is valued. A child-centred focus and Māori perspectives are integral to all learning.

The school’s curriculum is very effective in enabling learning and is future focused. It successfully promotes students’ belief in themselves to achieve. The enviroschool principles are well embedded and provide a solid base and coherence for learning across all areas of the curriculum. The child is at the centre of the learning environment. Children are very actively engaged in their learning where they plan, carry out and reflect on self-initiated authentic projects within and beyond the school.

School leaders and trustees ensure the school’s vision is realised, and equity and excellence are strived for, for all students. Contributing to the success of these are:

  • cohesive and useful school-wide systems
  • well-managed change processes
  • the high expectations of teachers and students
  • that relationships within the school community are based on trust, integrity and openness
  • the value placed on the support of parents and the wider community that is central to students’ learning and development.

Self review/internal evaluation is integral to all school operations. Clarity of purpose and process lead to continuous improvement. There is well-planned alignment from the strategic goals through to classroom programmes and interventions.

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

School leaders need to report rates of progress to the board, for the board to be assured that students are making sufficient progress over time.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • inquiry and reflections on practice that continue to improve the curriculum and outcomes for students
  • having a highly-developed culture of collaboration among leaders, teachers, parents and students, that maintains high expectations for teaching and learning throughout the school.

Next step

For sustained improvement and future learner success, a development priority is in:

  • the use of learning data to show rates of progress and sufficiency of progress over time.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in four-to-five years.

Dr Lesley Paterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 February 2018

About the school 


Central Southland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys:     55%
Girls:      45%

Ethnic composition

Māori:   14%
Pākehā:                74%
Pacific:  2%
Asian:    3%
Other:   7%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Reviews          September 2013
                                                April 2010
                                                March 2007