Methven School - 04/03/2020

School Context

Methven School is a Year 1 to 6 school in the rural, Mid-Canterbury town of Methven. The roll of 295 students comprises a growing number of Filipino students and is approximately 10% Māori students. The principal estimates a 10% movement of students coming into and leaving the school in a given year. This transience is, in part, linked to the seasonal nature of employment available in the area.

The school states that its vision is ‘Preparing our future through making pathways to the stars ‘. Its values, collectively referred to as ‘STAR’ values, are: ‘Sporting, Trustworthy, Accepting and Responsible.’ Valued outcomes for students are identified as: collaboration, communication, hauora, self-regulation and innovation.

Strategic goals and annual aims for 2019 include:

  • increasing the number of children achieving at or above curriculum expectations

  • reviewing the school’s vision

  • implementing a positive behaviour for learning programme

  • preparation for implementing the Digital Technologies curriculum.

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

  • all learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • progress for students with additional needs
  • aspects of the school’s valued outcomes.

School leaders and teachers are active participants in the Opuke Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning. The school is a signatory to the Code for international students.

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 effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most students.

The school’s 2018 data shows that almost all students were working within expected curriculum levels.

The school’s 2017 data shows that most students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics, and a large majority of students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in writing.

There is a pattern of disparity evident in 2017 and 2018 data for Māori learners. In 2017, they achieved less well than other groups of students in writing and mathematics. In 2018, the disparity was evident in reading and writing.

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

ERO is unable to make a valid judgement about how effectively the school accelerates learning.

Students’ learning progress is closely monitored and actions taken to address identified needs. Further analysis of existing data should identify which actions are most effective in accelerating learning within a year, particularly in reading, writing and mathematics.

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?

Teachers work efficiently and collaboratively to create a positive and productive learning environment for students. There is a strong culture of innovation and inquiry. Inquiry and reflection processes are research informed and improvement focused. Professional learning is well managed and draws on expertise within the school and externally. Professional connections are valued, with teachers being active participants in the Opuke Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Student agency and self-management of learning are a feature of learning at this school. Students are empowered to choose from and participate in a broad range of learning opportunities. They are knowledgeable and articulate about their learning pathways and expectations for learning. Teachers model supportive and respectful behaviours, that students apply as part of a student-to-student mentoring approach to support learning.

The principal and senior leader provide effective leadership. They foster a positive, collaborative working environment for teachers and students. There is a high level of relational trust, collaboration and respectful professional interaction between teachers. Innovation is encouraged and there are multiple opportunities for staff to grow leadership capability. There is a deliberate focus on growing middle leadership capability.

Effective partnerships for learning are promoted through strong community and professional connections. Leaders and teachers foster a sense of belonging for students and their families. Cultural connections are valued and promoted. The school has an association with Arowhenua Marae. Bicultural elements are evident in the curriculum and in school documentation. Cultural events bring families together and develop an appreciation of the richness of the school community. An effective transition process into and within the school acknowledges and supports students’ cultural backgrounds.

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

Learning information needs to be further scrutinised at all levels of the school to identify:

  • accelerated learning for individuals and groups of students

  • which interventions and programmes are most effective in accelerating learning (that is, students making more than one year’s progress in a year).

Reports to the board should include explicit statements about accelerated learning and the effectiveness of interventions. This will assist the board in making informed decisions about the allocation of resources to support learning.

Knowledge about and use of internal evaluation for improvement at all levels of the school is an area for further development. Leaders need to adopt an evaluative framework and use this to promote evaluative thinking. This will support the school in identifying those innovations and practices which are most effective in accelerating learning for groups of learners, including Māori learners and the increasing number of English Language Learners.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a 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 were two international students attending the school. These are the first international students that the school has hosted and they commenced at the beginning of Term Four 2019.

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 Methven School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • effective and thoughtful leadership that actively seeks to innovate for improvement
  • educationally powerful partnerships that focus on engaging teachers, students and whānau in collaborative learning
  • approaches to teaching and learning that prioritise empowering students and assisting them to self-manage their learning.

Next steps

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

  • the analysis and scrutiny of data to identify how well the school accelerates learning for those students who need this
  • building evaluative capability and effective use of internal evaluation to determine the effectiveness of processes and practices at all levels of the school.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

4 March 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Years 1 to 6

School roll


Gender composition

Female 43%, Male 57%

Ethnic composition

Māori 8%

NZ European/Pākehā 79%

Asian 7%


Other Ethnicities 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

4 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

November 2014