Sacred Heart School (Reefton) - 21/04/2015


The school has strong, supportive, and close connections to the parish and wider community. Students achieve well in reading, mathematics and less well in writing. Teachers have high expectations for learning and behaviour. The board is supportive of the principal and staff.

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

1 Context

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

This small, integrated school in Reefton provides students and families with a positive and supportive place to learn. The school’s Catholic values and qualities of a successful learner foster students' wellbeing and promote their learning. The school has close connections with the parish and wider community.

At the time of this review, an acting principal was leading the school. The board has been unable to source a permanent appointment. The current roll is stable.

School buildings have recently been refurbished and strengthened. Teachers are developing good links with preschools and outside agencies.

Since the 2012 ERO review, the board has made good progress with most of the recommendations from this report. Self review, identified as an area for further development, still requires strengthening.

2 Learning

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

The school’s information shows that children achieve well in reading and mathematics and less well in writing.

The acting principal and teachers regularly gather and discuss a suitable range of assessment information to support their judgements about student achievement and progress against the National Standards. This is particularly evident in the way they share examples of students’ writing and make decisions about student progress and their next learning steps.

Teachers have high expectations for learning and behaviour. They are focused on meeting students' needs by:

  • using a range of strategies to engage students

  • continuously planning for individual and group needs

  • using individual goal setting to focus students on their learning needs

  • giving regular feedback to students.

The school’s well-organised and wide range of resources, help support programmes and enable staff to be responsive to the needs of students. Additional support provided by a teacher aide is relevant, purposeful and is directly linked to areas where teachers have concerns about student progress.

Teachers make good use of external support to help them increase the levels of progress for students with additional learning needs.

Parents receive good information about their child’s achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards.

Areas for review and development

Teachers provide students with many opportunities to learn. They now need to provide further opportunities for students to be able to lead their learning in order to promote greater student independence.

The acting principal keeps the board well informed about school events and progress against the strategic plan. The principal should now increase interim reporting to the board on student achievement particularly for priority learners, in relation to the annual targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is most effective in promoting student achievement in reading and mathematics. It is strongly linked to the local environment and the school’s bicultural focus. The special character underpins all aspects of students’ learning.

The school now has useful guidelines in relation to the curriculum. These include:

  • a well-established vision with rich and strongly held values

  • sound and commonly held beliefs about teaching and learning

  • useful expectations for teachers in delivering the curriculum to students

Teachers use expertise from the local community to provide students with rich and varied learning experiences.

Area for review and development

The acting principal and staff are preparing to consult with students and the community about the content of the curriculum’s learning areas. They need to use this information linked with up-to-date teaching practices to develop specific guidelines for each curriculum area to ensure that a rich, varied and balanced curriculum is provided for all students.

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

The school promotes positive learning outcomes for Māori students.

Māori students achieve at similar rates to their peers. Teachers provide an increasing number of activities that promote success for Māori as Māori such as kapa haka, waiata, opportunities to visit a marae, have local Māori with expertise to teach children and staff te reo and tikanga Māori.

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 within a changing environment.

The board is well run and organised. Trustees provide good support for the principal and staff. The strengths of each trustee are recognised and valued. The board is developing good systems to govern the school. There is a cooperative and collaborative approach amongst the board, teaching team and parish.

Good-quality teacher appraisal is used to affirm effective practice and identify areas for further development.

Areas for review and development

The board, principal and ERO agree that the next steps for the school to improve sustainability and build capability and capacity include:

  • strengthening the principal’s appraisal to ensure there is more regular and critical feedback to act upon

  • improving self-review procedures to ensure strategic and curriculum reviews are regularly undertaken

  • developing anonymous board surveys for students, staff, and parents.

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.


The school has strong, supportive, and close connections to the parish and wider community. Students achieve well in reading, mathematics and less well in writing. Teachers have high expectations for learning and behaviour. The board is supportive of the principal and staff.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 12; Boys13

Ethnic composition



Special Features

Special Character

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

21 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review