Reefton Area School - 07/08/2019

School Context

Reefton Area School provides education for students from Years 1 to 14 in the town of Reefton. At the time of the review, the school roll was 162.

The school’s mission statement is to:

  • enhance the learning outcomes of all students
  • be respected for the quality and innovation of learning programmes
  • be respected for the quality of students’ qualification results
  • actively prepare students to meet the demands of lifelong learning
  • contribute positively to the community.

The school’s aim is to take full advantage of the benefits of being a Year 1-14 composite school in the Aotearoa New Zealand Area School network.

The school’s vision is that its young people will:

  • be creative, energetic, and enterprising
  • seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for the country
  • work to create an Aotearoa New Zealand in which Māori and Pākehā recognise each other as full Treaty partners, and in which all cultures are valued for the contributions they bring
  • continue to develop the values, knowledge, and competencies that will enable them to live full and satisfying lives
  • be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners.

The school values are based on respect, aspiring, and self managing.

Its current strategic gaols are:

  • all learners make progress to achieve their goals
  • all learners are active seekers, users and creators of knowledge
  • all learners develop competencies and values to successfully contribute to their communities and environment
  • engaging families/whānau and the wider community to support positive student learning outcomes.

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

  • reading, writing, and mathematics

  • NCEA progress and achievement

  • student wellbeing

  • curriculum areas

  • strategic targets e.g. contribution to community and environment

  • specific groups, including Māori students, students with additional needs, gifted and talented students.

School leaders and trustees carefully monitor the school’s fluctuating roll. They put in place strategies to manage the transient student population. Many of the staff and some trustees are long serving members of the school community.

The school is part of the Top of the South Island (TOSI) Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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 equitable outcomes for its students. It is achieving excellent outcomes for most of it students, including its Māori students.

A large majority of Year 13 students have achieved Level 3 in NCEA over the past five years. Most students achieve Level 1 and 2 qualifications at the expected year levels.

Most students in Years 1 to 10 achieve at or above expected curriculum levels as they progress through the school.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the learning of students who need this. Teachers are particularly effective at accelerating the progress of students in reading during their first two years of school.

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?

Effective leadership collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision, goals and targets. There is clear alignment from the vision and goals to the work of teachers and the achievement and wellbeing outcomes for students. Leaders seek the perspectives and aspirations of students, whānau and the community. They build relational trust with each of these key groups. Leaders support teachers to maintain a calm, orderly environment that contributes to students’ engagement and achievement.

School and community engage in reciprocal relationships that support students’ learning and wellbeing. Students, teachers and whānau take part in joint activities to improve outcomes for students. Students’ successful contribution to their communities and environment, and engaging families/whānau and the wider community to support positive student learning outcomes, are current strategic goals. The school regularly consults with its community, including with its Māori whānau. Leaders are in regular contact with many community agencies. Students are involved in a wide range of learning opportunities within the community.

Teachers work in a supportive professional environment that encourages ongoing improvement in teaching and learning. Leaders set high expectations of professional practice and learner outcomes. Teachers work collaboratively to plan, implement and evaluate teaching strategies and student outcomes. They have many opportunities for professional discussion, inquiry and knowledge building.

The board ensures the curriculum is inclusive and responsive to local needs and context. Student achievement and wellbeing are the trustees’ core concerns. Trustees are well informed to make useful decisions to improve outcomes for students. They have a good understanding of what is going well and why. There are good systems and processes in place that enable trustees to effectively undertake their stewardship role.

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

Trustees and leaders know they need to continue to develop, implement and monitor initiatives to support the wellbeing and inclusiveness of all students. School leaders have identified the wellbeing of students and staff as a key priority. The large numbers of students who transition in and out of the school during the year add complexity to the school’s situation. Leaders have put strategies in place to support this priority. They need to continue to explore the most effective ways to promote wellbeing.

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 Reefton Area School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

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:

  • effective leadership that prioritises students’ engagement, achievement and wellbeing
  • community relationships based on mutual respect and positive outcomes for students
  • ongoing development of a professional learning community
  • governance that is well informed and focused on the needs and wellbeing of students.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in continuing to support students’ wellbeing and achievement.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

7 August 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 54%; Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori 22%

NZ European/Pākehā 69%

Pacific 4%

Asian 4%

Other Ethnicities 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

7 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review April 2015

Education Review November 2011

Education Review October 2007