Salisbury School (Nelson) - 27/06/2014


1 Context

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

Salisbury School is a residential school providing education for girls with intellectual difficulties along with social and emotional issues that cannot be adequately met in their home communities. Students’ achievement is significantly lower than their mainstream peers. Over recent years the roll has declined significantly and the maximum roll is now 30 students. Some restructuring of staffing has occurred because of the reduced number of students.

The school has made significant progress in addressing the identified areas for development in the 2010 ERO report. These include:

  • improvements to the performance management system
  • promoting ‘the one campus’ ethos
  • the positive way in which staff manage student behaviour
  • implementation of the school’s curriculum.

Over the past three years there has been a number of changes to the way services for special education are delivered. The school is part of a newly-developed Ministry of Education Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS). Student enrolment in the school is by agreement between the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the students’ parents. At the time of their enrolment the length of stay is determined by what is best for them. This may be extended by agreement.

Despite the uncertainty related to changes to special education, the focus for school staff has remained on teaching and learning, and improving outcomes for students. There is a strong emphasis on student wellbeing and establishing positive relationships amongst students and between staff. Adults across the school have a shared commitment to supporting the overall development of each student. Their backgrounds are valued and taken into account when teachers plan programmes. This results in learning that is relevant to students' individual needs.

2 Learning

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

Teachers know their students well as learners and as young people. They make effective use of learning information to develop comprehensive individualised learning plans that identify students’ academic and social needs. Teachers regularly monitor these plans to ensure that students are achieving their goals. This learning information could be better used to ensure that tasks are sufficiently challenging to promote accelerated learning.

Staff gather a wide range of information about students’ social and personal development. Parents are very well informed about how well their daughter is progressing and achieving in all learning areas, as well as in their social and emotional development.

The board receives summarised achievement information for age groups. The principal and teachers regularly gather information about the rates of progress for individual students. It would be useful to report this information in-committee if necessary to the board, particularly in core learning areas, to show that teachers are making a difference to students’ learning. This would help the board in reporting to its community about how well school-wide goals are being met.

3 Curriculum

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

All students are very well supported to experience success in their learning. Students benefit from a wide range of learning experiences in and beyond the school. Teachers make very good use of local people and places to enrich students’ lives and learning. There is relevant alignment between the school curriculum and the New Zealand Curriculum. The school’s vision of ‘empowering through support to succeed’ is highly evident throughout the school and residential programmes.

Staff have high expectations for learning and engagement. Student wellbeing is a priority and is well demonstrated in curriculum planning and daily programmes.

Other positive features of the school’s curriculum include the:

  • well-developed guidelines and expectations that cover all aspects of the school and residential programmes
  • individual learning programmes for students
  • strong focus on building students’ social skills and key competencies
  • authentic learning contexts that are relevant to the students’ lives
  • emphasis given to teaching literacy and mathematics through all learning areas.

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

Māori students are well supported in their learning. Teachers know their Māori students both as learners and as individuals. Students enjoy the opportunity to be part of the newly-established whānau class where teaching emphasises and values the students’ culture and their interests. The classroom programme is strongly linked to the school’s vision of ‘empowering through support to succeed’ and the school values, in particular manaakitanga.

The school makes effective use of the He Kakano programme to review and make improvements to learning experiences for Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

In relation to the day-to-day operations and management, the school is well placed to improve its performance. The board has a range of skilled and experienced trustees, and they are committed to sustaining and improving the school’s performance for the benefit of the students.

The school has effective professional leadership. The principal has high expectations of staff and has led significant developments in curriculum and strengthening the links between residential and school programmes. There has been a substantial positive change in relationships and school culture.

The performance management process has been significantly reviewed and changes implemented that support the direction for overall school improvement. Of particular note, the appraisal system includes:

  • the cultural competencies for teachers of Māori students

  • links to professional learning and development that relate to the school-wide goals.

The board and the Ministry are working together in relation to the IWS and the proposed new funding model. Discussions are continuing between the board and the Ministry.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel accommodates 17 students. It is owned by the Ministry of Education. The key features of the hostel are:

  • the positive and nurturing relationships that exist between residential staff and the students

  • the wide range of activities that the students enjoy

  • the way in which the residential curriculum focuses on building the students independent and self care skills.

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.

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

27 June 2014

About the School


Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special school for girls with learning and social difficulties

School roll


Gender composition

Girls: 17

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā






Special Features

Residential Special School

Review team on site

April 2014

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

November 2010

December 2008

October 2004