Salisbury School (Nelson) - 18/06/2019

School Context

Salisbury School (Nelson) is located in Richmond, Nelson. It provides residential education for female students in Years 3 to 10 on enrolment and who have been identified with complex learning needs. At the time of the review, 11 students were enrolled.

The school states that its vision is: Every girl succeeds. The values of manaaki - kindness, mana tangata - integrity, mahi pono - honesty, whakawhiwhi honore - respectful relationships and manawanui - confidence underpin the school curriculum.

Valued outcomes for students are to achieve to the best of their ability through: experiencing success in learning and life skills; being team players; good problem solvers and sound decision makers; being investigators and effective communicators.

Its current goals and targets for improvement in student outcomes are to increase the engagement and participation of all students in meaningful and future-focused learning, and strengthen collaborative partnerships enhancing learning and achievement.

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

  • progress and achievement against student’s individual goals and learning plans

  • wellbeing.

Recent external issues with the school facing possible closure have been resolved. In 2019, a new pathway to enrolment was introduced. The number of students for whom the school is funded has been reduced to 20. Extensive site refurbishment, that includes both the school and the hostel, is in the planning stage now that the school’s future is confirmed.

The school is a member of the Waimea Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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?

Achievement data from 2018 indicates that most students make expected, or better, progress against their individual learning and social goals.

Life skill goals are also set and most are achieved. These goals are well supported, and progress evaluated by the staff who support learning within the hostel setting.

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

Significant gains in learning and wellbeing are consistently evident for students. Reported assessment information clearly shows that most students achieve accelerated rates of progress against the goals set in their individual education plans (IEPs), set across the breadth of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and beyond.

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?

Self-management, social and life skills are successfully promoted through a good range of highly effective teaching strategies and practical learning opportunities. Students take pride in their friendships, achievements, positive learning dispositions and unique strengths.

Responsive and respectful relationships with students, staff and whānau are promoted and modelled by leaders. Positive Behaviour’ practices clearly impact on the girls and their social interactions. Teachers use highly respectful, consistently affirming strategies to successfully promote acceptable social behaviour. Students are supported to understand and increasingly self-manage their actions and responses to others. Staff purposefully foster skills and dispositions that should empower students in their futures.

There is appropriate modification of the NZC to meet student needs. Expectations of how the curriculum will be delivered and what will be the focus in each of the learning areas is clearly described in a guiding document. This gives purpose to the school’s newly revised values, unpacks what the key competencies mean in this setting and forms a basis for the school’s local curriculum.

Students experience a broad and suitable range of opportunities to see, hear and participate in meaningful experiences of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Cultural art and artefacts attractively adorn the campus. An extensive native planting area provides an attractive addition to the environment and opportunities to learn about both nature and the concept of kaitiakitanga - guardianship.

Students benefit from established, powerful relationships between the school and all levels of their extended community. These are utilised to provide additional learning opportunities and enable students to engage as valued members in the local community.

Staff have a wide range of appropriate skills and specialist expertise. Teachers use a highly collaborative approach to tailor effective, consistent strategies, best suited to individual needs. In depth analysis of all students’ needs, strengths, medical situations, and possible actions for support are completed. This information is used to identify appropriate programmes and strategies for supporting each learner.

Assessment procedures and learning progressions are also in place to guide the development of individual IEPs and to accurately track all progress in a systematic manner. Individual development plans and individual transition plans are also in place to support each girl.

Professional learning and refinement of expertise is strongly embedded in staff culture. Staff are continuously involved in capacity building and sharing of best practice that benefit students. The leadership team models continual engagement and achievement, in high-level professional learning and pedagogical innovation. They actively contribute to the wider education sector.

Strong systems and processes ensure smooth day-to-day operations of the school. Leadership and stewardship work well together. Leaders are transparent and considered in their decision making, focused on improving student outcomes and responsive to identified needs. There is a clear shared commitment to advocating for, and effectively promoting, the learning and wellbeing of their students.

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

Appraisal processes support all teaching and support staff to work cohesively on campus wide priorities. Peer critique, critical reflection and professional development are well considered. Deepening understanding and improving practices of teacher inquiry is a next step. Professional learning to further strengthen practice in this area is planned for 2019.

A range of appropriate review and evaluation processes are in place. Policies are reviewed regularly. Recent review of the curriculum and charter involved extensive consultation with staff and whānau. It is timely to evaluate the external changes made to the enrolment system to ensure trustees can effectively fulfil their roles and to maximise the expertise available to support the most vulnerable students.

3 Other Matters

Provision for students in the school hostel

The residential accommodation reflects the school’s special character and provides a whānau environment for the girls. The school curriculum and guidelines support the residential curriculum and staff with clear expectations of the living environment and the learning opportunities provided.

Staff purposefully promote leisure, fun, relaxation and a sense of ownership for students in their own home space. Students follow programmes and individualised routines. Their preferences are prioritised and valued in living arrangements. Residential staff work alongside the school as one campus to support student progress.

Clear procedures and effective communication between the principal and residential support managers contribute to the smooth daily running of the residential setting. Suitable staffing ratios and caring personnel promote each student’s wellbeing and learning.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Salisbury School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • accelerating the learning of those students who needs significant additional support
  • strong, positive relationships that provide a basis for student growth and success
  • delivery of individualised programmes that support student learning and wellbeing
  • highly skilled staff with specialised expertise
  • strong and supportive community links that provide a wide range of additional learning opportunities
  • leadership that supports and grows teacher practice
  • stewardship that is committed to, and advocates for, the learning and wellbeing of students.

Next steps

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

  • further strengthening the teacher inquiry process to support the development of teaching practices.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

18 June 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special School|Residential school for girls with complex needs

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 11

Ethnic composition

Māori 1
NZ European/Pākehā 8
Other ethnic groups 2

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

18 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2014
Supplementary Review November 2010