Rotherham School - 21/11/2013

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Rotherham School is a small, rural school in North Canterbury. Students from Years 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 learn in two multi-level classrooms. They move between classrooms for literacy and mathematics to have their specific needs catered for as needed. Older students give regular assistance to younger students through the school’s buddy approach.

Teachers and other staff, provide a welcoming environment for students and their families. Positive and cooperative relationships among all members of the school’s learning community are a strong feature of the school.

Attractive and well-maintained buildings and spacious grounds are used effectively to enhance students’ learning. A multi-purpose building, that includes the library, is used to bring the school together for assemblies and other special events.

The school benefits from strong support from parents and the wider school community for students and programmes. The board has responded well to the findings of the 2010 ERO report by improving the quality of its long-term planning.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school uses achievement information well to promote students’ learning. Information reported to the board and Ministry of Education at the end of 2012 shows that most students (72%) were achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics. Achievement in writing was slightly lower, with 69% achieving at or above the standard.

The board:

  • sets challenging targets to raise achievement for students who are not performing at the desired National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics
  • ensures that it receives reports on student achievement so that trustees can make well-informed decisions about ways to improve students’ learning
  • provides additional teaching and teacher aide support for some students.

The principal provides the board with regular reports on student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics based on reliable assessments.

The principal and teachers:

  • closely monitor student achievement and progress in their classes
  • use achievement information to plan for students’ strengths and needs
  • report to parents and students about achievement in all learning areas.

The students are mostly aware of their successes and gaps in their learning and what they need to do to improve. They set and monitor goals to improve aspects of their learning.

Areas for development and review

The principal and teachers could make better use of analysed achievement information to:

  • identify and report more fully on student progress
  • set expectations and identify specific teaching actions for bringing about further improvements
  • increase the accuracy of teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Teachers have begun to inquire more closely into the effectiveness of their teaching. This process would be more useful if student outcomes were used consistently as the basis of this inquiry.

The principal acknowledges that written reports to parents could be improved. Consideration needs to be given to:

  • more clearly showing the progress students make during each year
  • the timing of reports for students in Years 1 to 3 so that the information is accurate in relation to the expected National Standards.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum strongly supports and extends students’ strengths, needs and interests.

Learning experiences are carefully planned to take account of students’ interests and motivate them to learn.

The curriculum gives suitable emphasis to literacy and mathematics. Teachers integrate these areas into other learning to make them relevant and purposeful.

Students spoken with by ERO were positive about the many opportunities they have to learn, particularly in developing their physical and creative skills.

Students are making increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support their learning.

The school is well resourced for all learning areas.

Area for review and development

The principal has identified that aspects of the school’s curriculum are due for review. Given that the school’s values and vision have not been reviewed since 2009, this is timely. The curriculum guidelines and expectations for high-quality teaching and learning have not been reviewed in sufficient depth to reflect recent curriculum developments, particularly in literacy and ICT. This is an important next step for the school to help ensure that students benefit from consistent approaches and practices.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school has one student who identifies as Māori.

The principal and teachers realise the importance of providing a bicultural perspective in their programmes and practices to acquaint all students with their bicultural heritage. The board, principal and teachers should become more familiar with the Ministry of Education resources, such as Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako, in order to extend their knowledge of the best ways to include te reo and tikanga Māori in teaching programmes.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal and staff work well together.

Professional learning and development is given high priority. The principal and teachers make good use of external expertise and links with other schools, to share and learn about good practice.

The new board is keenly interested in student achievement and how it can support this further.

The principal keeps the board well informed about the progress being made towards achieving the school’s goals and objectives.

Trustees have had training to gain a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

The previous and current boards have conducted a thorough review of some policies and procedures. There is now a process for ensuring that reviews of policies and procedures are completed regularly.

The board reviews its performance at the end of each meeting.

Areas for development and review

The school does not have a clearly defined and documented process that is well understood and used effectively for carrying out reviews of the curriculum.

Aspects of appraisal need further development. Teacher appraisal documentation does not yet include the registered teacher criteria or teachers’ job descriptions. Support staff are not appraised. The principal recognises that these matters need to be addressed promptly.

The principal is appraised in alternate years by an external appraiser. The board needs to ensure that the principal’s leadership and teaching are appraised each year. [Action 1]

The board could extend its self-review processes to include a review of its own performance in meeting the school’s priorities, goals and legislative requirements.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees 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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Areas of non-compliance were identified during the review.

  1. The principal must be appraised annually against the professional standards for principals.S77C State Sector Act 1988 [NZ Gazette No 180; Dec 1996]
  2. The school has not consulted with parents about the health programme since 2009. The board must consult with parents about the school’s health programme at least once every two years. [60B Education Act 1989]

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

21 November 2013

About the School


Rotherham, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 16

Boys 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other ethnicities




Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

21 November 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

December 2010

February 2008

June 2005