Longburn Adventist College - 24/10/2019

School Context

Longburn Adventist College is a Year 7 to 13 integrated, special character school located to the south of Palmerston North. There are 219 students on the roll, of which 20% identify as Māori and 17% as of Pacific heritage.

The school’s stated mission and vision are that together ‘in Christ, we educate, encourage, empower to provide a high-quality education for students, with Christ-centred values in a family-like environment. We grow every student to excel to their full potential academically, as a leader, and spiritually.’ These statements are supported by the ASPIRE values where learners are fostered to ‘Lead with Integrity, Act with Respect and Cultivate Resilience.’

The school’s strategic goals for 2019 are focused on students encountering Jesus Christ, encouraging positive relationships, ensuring that individual learning potential is recognised and valued, and quality resources available to support achievement for all.

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

  • National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).
  • Achievement in reading and mathematics in Years 7 – 10.

Since the 2016 ERO review, a new assistant principal has been appointed to the senior leadership team. The recently-elected board of trustees is mostly comprised of first-term representatives, and the experienced chair remains in the role.

The school is a member of the Lower North Island Christian Schools Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

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 achieving excellent outcomes for most students and working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all.

In 2018, enrolment-based achievement data shows that most students achieved at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. Almost half of students achieved merit or excellence endorsements in Levels 1 and 3. These patterns of achievement show improvement over time for learners at Level 1, consistency at Level 2 and a slight decrease at Level 3.

School leavers’ data shows that the majority of all students leave the school with a minimum of an NCEA Level 2 qualification. Enrolment-based data in 2018 shows that a third of students achieved University Entrance (UE).

Most Māori students achieved at Level 1 and 2 in 2018. This pattern of achievement reflects significant improvement for these learners over time. Māori learners achieve higher in relation to Pākehā learners at these levels. Half of Māori learners achieved NCEA Level 3 and UE. However, there is a significant and widening disparity in NCEA Level 3 and in UE where Māori are achieving less well than their Pākehā peers.

Achievement data for 2017 and 2018 shows that all Pacific learners achieved NCEA Level 3 and a large majority of Pacific learners achieved at Levels 1 and 2. This pattern of achievement reflects significant improvement for these learners over time. Pacific learners achieve higher in relation to Pākehā learners at Level 3 and UE, at comparable rates at Level 2 and slightly lower at Level 1.

Achievement information shows that in 2018 males achieved at higher levels that females in NCEA Level 3. Females achieve significantly higher than males in Levels 1 and 2, this disparity for males has widened since 2017.

Achievement information for Years 8 and 9 in 2018 shows that the majority of learners achieved well in relation to curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics, and in Year 10, less than half of students achieved.

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

The school is able to show some effective acceleration for individuals and cohorts of students who need this, including Māori and Pacific learners.

In 2018, the school effectively accelerated half of at-risk learners in Year 7 in reading and more than a third in Year 7 and 8 for mathematics. Acceleration information for 2019 to midyear, shows that strategies and interventions used for at-risk learners in Year 7 reading, and for Years 7 and 8 learners in mathematics were effective.

Case studies and narratives for many at-risk students in the senior school show the extensive range of interventions and supports used for accelerating these learners’ achievement over time. Targeted support for senior students through Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) and Gateway programmes, was effective in supporting meaningful pathways for, and motivating learners to, further study and employment.

Further analysis of acceleration information to identify individuals and groups of learners accelerated progress schoolwide is a next step identified by leaders.

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?

Leaders and teachers are focused on learners’ physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. The special character and schoolwide values are authentically woven throughout daily life at the school. This provides a strong foundation for a genuine culture of care and nurturing. Relational trust is evident and underpins interactions within all levels of the school and wider community. Cultural diversity is celebrated through events and performances.

The enacted curriculum provides a wide and diverse range of opportunities for students to explore interests and pursue their career aspirations. High levels of student engagement and willingness to participate in school activities and events strengthens students’ sense of belonging. Useful processes are in place to track and monitor each student’s progress and achievement. Leaders and teachers work alongside specialist agencies and caregivers to form responsive partnerships for learners with additional needs.

A considered approach to growing leaders’ and teachers’ practice through targeted professional learning and development is bringing about necessary change to practice. The strategic introduction of a coaching and mentoring approach to build effective leadership of learning, has also supported more collaborative ways of working for all teachers.

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

Reviewing the strategic alignment and cohesion of schoolwide priorities for improvement is a key next step. This should include ensuring the learner, their needs and their intended educational outcomes are at the centre of decision making. Leaders have identified the following as areas for ongoing growth.

Continuing to focus on building teacher capability to develop meaningful feedback and feed-forward practices is needed to grow students understanding and leadership of their learning. This includes supporting teachers’ implementation of deliberate acts to accelerate individual students progress and achievement. Using this information to grow parents understanding of their child’s learning journey to build partnerships for learning is a priority.

Fully implementing initiatives and strategies identified in the current curriculum review to develop a more responsive curriculum schoolwide is required. Supporting teachers understanding of quality practice and high expectations for delivery of meaningful and culturally responsive programmes to all students, especially for Māori and Pacific learners is an important next step.

Extending leaders and teachers understanding of effective analysis of achievement information to identify trends and patterns across groups of learners requires strengthening. This includes leaders and teachers developing their understanding of how to use this information to inform ongoing change and improvement across all levels of the school. Refining schoolwide targets to focus on those learners whose progress and achievement need to be accelerated should enhance schoolwide evaluation.

3 Other Matters

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel within the Longburn Adventist College grounds is known as L.A.C. House. It currently accommodates 49 students, 22% of the school roll, and includes 22 international students. It is governed by the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The operation of the hostel is overseen by a boarding director and a board of governors. Representatives of this group have attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

The 2016 ERO evaluation identified areas for development in the hostel facilities, personnel management, policies and procedures, and the strengthening of links between the school and hostel. There have been significant improvements in all these areas. However, further strengthening of the policy framework is required, including appropriately consulting with parents and caregivers around these. In addition, reporting of progress and achievement of students’ learning to the board of governors is a priority. Effective support and guidance is being provided to hostel staff to respond to these next steps and better align systems and policies to school operation.

The hostel’s internal structure is currently being reviewed by the board of governors. It is a priority that this is completed to inform further improvements and efficiencies. To better meet the needs of all learners, it is timely that consideration be given to the:

  • sustainability of current roles and responsibilities of key personnel
  • effectiveness of systems and processes for ongoing improvement.

Experienced hostel staff provide pastoral care in an environment that promotes student wellbeing and upholds the special character of the college. Students enjoy the family like environment where routines and expectations are well understood. Strengthening the response to students’ ideas for improvement should support the collective development of hostel practices.

Hostel staff know the students well and provide a warm, responsive environment for them that enhances students’ sense of belonging. The diverse cultures of staff and students are valued and celebrated.

Provision for international students

The school is signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the code.

At the time of this review there are 24 international students attending the school.

ERO’s evaluation confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough and contributes to further developments. Policies and practice suitably guide the provision for international students. Orientation is well planned and supportive of individuals as they transition into school.

Students access relevant curriculum experiences and subject choices, including opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities. Processes for monitoring and responding to student wellbeing, academic progress and achievement are appropriate.

4 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Longburn Adventist College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the enactment of the school’s special character and values that promotes a sense of family and belonging
  • a holistic approach to student wellbeing that actively creates an inclusive environment for learning.

Next steps

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

  • building leaders’ and teachers’ capability to better respond to individual student’s needs and enhancing learning focused partnerships with parents and caregivers
  • responsive curriculum, including the authentic integration of culturally responsive contexts and practices for learning, especially for Māori and Pacific learners
  • deeper analysis of data to evaluate the impact that strategies, initiatives and interventions have on acceleration of learning.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

24 October 2019

About the school


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 – 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 59%, Male 41%

Ethnic composition

Maori 20%
Pākehā 50%
Pacific ethnic groups 17%
Asian ethnic groups 9%
Other ethnic groups 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

24 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, October 2016
Education Review, August 2013
Education Review, October 2010