Sanson School - 14/08/2015

1 Context

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

Sanson School is located in a semi-rural setting near Sanson village and Ohakea airbase. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review, there were 30 students on the roll, and 13 identify as Māori.

The school vision and philosophy: We Are Making a Difference - Kia Tu, Kia Kaha, Kia Manawanui, and values and beliefs are woven through teaching and learning. Schoolwide professional development in Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) aims to embed these values and beliefs.

Students participate enthusiastically in opportunities to develop social and physical skills, and to be involved in the wider community. Partnerships with parents, families and whānau are encouraged by a range of initiatives.

The school is part of Te Kawau, a network of nine local schools. This focuses on teachers sharing and developing good practice and allows for Year 8 students to be part of a process for transition into secondary schools.

The principal shares teaching in the junior and senior classes with two part-time teachers for three days a week, and on the other days teaches all students. This will change in Term 3 with the return of the permanent full-time teacher.

Previous ERO reports identified areas for development that are yet to be suitably addressed, and which are noted again in the findings of this report.

2 Learning

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

The school uses a range of tools and practices to assess student achievement in relation to National Standards. Students are grouped according to ability in response to data and teachers plan actions to address their needs. However, further development is needed in use of achievement data to:

  • better inform decisions about teaching and learning so that actions are well implemented
  • closely track and monitor students' learning
  • ensure identified students' progress is accelerated.

For 2014, information reported by the school shows that most students, including Māori, achieved at or above the National Standards in mathematics. In reading, overall achievement was sound, with Māori performing more strongly than others in the school. In writing, where just over half the students achieved at or above the Standards, further improvement is needed.

Students who did not meet National Standards for reading and mathematics in 2014 have been prioritised in 2015 to accelerate their learning and improve achievement.

Teachers are collaborative and collegial, regularly meeting to discuss practice and student learning. This provides a positive platform upon which to inquire more deeply into what data shows about student achievement and progress, for both individuals and groups. This should better inform planning and use of teaching strategies that are likely to be effective in addressing student needs.

Teachers have identified the need for a shared understanding of what counts as accelerated progress. They should also aim to identify what needs to happen differently, and which strategies make the biggest difference for those students who are identified as being at risk of underachievement.

Students with additional needs are supported through specific programmes and interventions. External agencies are accessed when required. Student wellbeing is well promoted to support learning.

Children’s portfolios provide their parents with good information about their achievement. Written reports to parents should include clearer information twice a year about students’ progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

3 Curriculum

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

A more consistent and deliberate approach to implementation, through planning and teaching, is required to enact the school's documented curriculum. This approach should aim to more effectively promote student learning, for greater consistency of progress and achievement across all key learning areas.

The school's curriculum guidelines provide a clear overview of goals, content and delivery. The curriculum aligns with The New Zealand Curriculum, makes links to the local context and community, and reflects parents’ aspirations as well as students' culture, language and identity. Programmes include teaching and learning of te reo Māori, Japanese and Mandarin. The broad curriculum also consists of photography, art, elite swimming and physical education coaching. Students participate in kapa haka as part of the school welcoming rituals.

Students’ varied strengths and needs are supported by school initiatives in reading and mathematics. There is intentional teaching in guided groups. Teachers share the purpose of learning and consider students' prior learning. Students make good use of oral and written feedback from their teachers.

Student routines are well established in classrooms and across the school. Classrooms are well resourced. Independent learning and sustained engagement are visible and valued. The influence of PB4L is evident in the positive teacher and student interactions and in the calm and inclusive school environment.

Parent partnership in learning is a strategy that is intended to support and improve students' success through accelerated learning. A next step is to review the impact of this strategy to determine how effective it is for students.

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

Māori students experience good levels of educational success in mathematics and reading. In these areas, their success in National Standards' achievement is comparable to or better than that of other students in the school.

Teachers have positive relationships with families and whānau. Kapa haka is a foundation for the implementation of te reo Māori schoolwide. Māori students have opportunities to understand and increase their te reo me ngā tikanga and lead in Māori ways of knowing, doing and being. Te ao Māori is visible in students’ work, performing arts and interactions.

Iwi, business links and local community groups are valued contributors to the school curriculum.

The board, school leaders, teachers and whānau are developing a shared understanding of what is meant at this school by success for Māori as Māori. This should provide a firm basis for self review to evaluate the impact of the curriculum and teaching on Māori students’ learning and success.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Sanson School needs to further develop its capacity to sustain and improve its performance, and ensure that the findings of this and previous ERO reports are addressed in a systematic and timely manner.

Self-review processes are in place and seek to improve student achievement, school systems and practices. However, evaluation of the impact of practices and initiatives needs to be strengthened. This should support the school to better establish how effective the curriculum and teaching are in accelerating students' progress, and identify and address what needs to improve.

For continued improvement, leaders should ensure that the school's charter annual targets, developmental goals and intentions are systematically addressed. Next steps are to continue to develop challenging goals and explicit high expectations for learner success to drive improvements to achievement overall, within a clearly defined timeframe.

There are opportunities for teachers to reflect on their practice and provide evidence of meeting the Registered Teacher Criteria. Further development of the appraisal framework and process should:

  • include specific goals linked to outcomes for students and whole-school priorities
  • evaluate progress towards these goals
  • analyse the impact of professional learning on teaching practice.

Teachers engage in a range of professional learning opportunities aligned to whole-school strategic priorities. Teachers and leaders report benefits of collaboration through Te Kawau.

Trustees are committed to achieving success for the school's students and are developing their understanding of their governance roles and responsibilities. Continuing to access external support and training should assist them to do this successfully.

The board receives monthly reports from the principal. These need to include analysed student achievement data for individuals and groups to enable the board to monitor the progress of the groups that are included in the school's charter and annual targets.

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.

In order to improve practice, the board of trustees and the principal should ensure that reports to parents include clear information about students' progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in writing in plain language at least twice a year.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider support for the school to further develop the effectiveness for students of its practices for teaching and learning, including the use of data, and school self review.


Students learn in an inclusive, calm environment. Positive relationships amongst students, staff and community are evident. Most students achieve well in relation to National Standards in mathematics and reading, with improvement needed in writing. To continue to improve school performance trustees, leaders and teachers should systematically address annual targets, goals and intentions, and strengthen self review.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

14 August 2015

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 15, Female 15

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

14 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

September 2012

July 2010

April 2009