Shirley Intermediate - 12/12/2019

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

ERO’s 2015 and 2017 reviews identified a lack of progress in addressing significant student underachievement.

The 2017 ERO report recommended that the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association provide support in relation to:

  • student progress and achievement
  • planning, evaluating and reporting.

A Ministry of Education student achievement function practitioner (SAF) and senior advisor began working with school leaders in 2017.

School leaders and teachers have participated in whole school professional learning in mathematics. Staffing has remained steady since the 2017 ERO review. The composition of the senior leadership team is unchanged. Two middle leader positions have been established to lead professional learning in literacy and numeracy.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The following priorities were established in 2018 to guide school improvement and form the basis of ERO’s involvement with school leaders and teachers:

  • student achievement
  • assessment and planning
  • leadership and governance.

This report summarises progress in relation to these priorities.


School leaders are planning more strategically to address student underachievement. There are now more appropriate systems in place to identify, monitor and report students’ progress and achievement.

Student wellbeing is monitored, and any issues identified are systematically followed up by senior leaders.

Despite significant external support from the Ministry of Education, achievement remains at risk for Māori learners and Year 8 students. Year 7 achievement, while slightly better than Year 8, remains at risk for a significant number of students.

The school’s 2018 data shows that:

  • in Year 7, a small majority of students are at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
  • Year 7 Māori learners achieve less well than other students in mathematics
  • in Year 8, less than half of students are at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
  • overall Year 8 students achieve less well than Year 7
  • Year 8 Māori learners achieve less well than other students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Mid-year data for 2019 shows that, to date:

  • Year 7 achievement is better than Year 8 achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • Year 7 students are making gains in reading, writing and mathematics
  • Year 8 students’ progress appears to have stalled in mathematics and there is a slight regression in writing.

In relation to accelerating learning for those students who need this, the school’s 2018 data shows that the school is more successful in accelerating learning for Year 7 students than Year 8 students in mathematics and writing:

  • approximately one half of targeted Year 7 and Year 8 students made accelerated progress in reading
  • approximately one half of Year 7 students made accelerated progress in mathematics and writing compared with one third of Year 8 students.

Teachers have participated in whole-school professional learning to develop formative assessment practices. This has extended the range of assessment tools that teachers use. Teachers now receive analysed achievement information to assist with classroom planning. Student agency, in relation to goal setting and self-management of learning, is in the early stages of development. A whole school mathematics programme is in place and well supported by school leaders but its impact on student learning is yet to be evaluated.

School leaders and the board have rationalised strategic planning appropriately to identify two main priorities for improvement. Actions for improvement align with the two priorities and are reported to the board. Internal evaluation is used to identify areas of teaching practice requiring further development. An external appraiser has been engaged by school leaders to provide advice about improving classroom practice.

School leaders are promoting collective ownership and accountability for student progress and achievement. This remains a work in progress. Two curriculum leader positions have been created to develop leadership and distribute responsibility for developing professional practice in mathematics and literacy.

Many of the changes and actions introduced over the past 18 months are developing teacher professional capability but are not yet having a significant impact on student learning outcomes.

Key next steps

To further support student progress and achievement school leaders need to:

  • scrutinise learning progress for all students, and put targeted actions in place to urgently address the underachievement of Year 8 students, a significant number of Year 7 students and Māori learners
  • document learning expectations so that teachers can identify progress and achievement in relation to New Zealand Curriculum expectations
  • continue to develop teacher professional capability in assessment for learning and effective pedagogy, including culturally responsive pedagogy
  • implement the planned professional learning for reading, ensuring that effective reading strategies, planning and assessment form part of this professional development programme
  • ensure that action planning has clearly articulated and measurable outcomes for teachers and students, as well as specific strategies which are evaluated for their impact on teaching and learning
  • develop robust quality assurance processes, across all areas of the school, to monitor the quality and consistency of teacher practice in assessment, planning and analysis of learning information.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is not well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance. School leaders and teachers have significant work to complete in order to make and sustain improvements to teaching and learning.

Internal evaluation is being used to better understand current processes and teaching practices across the school. Many improvements, as a result of review, are in the early stages of implementation and not yet ready to be evaluated. Action planning for change and improvement needs to identify outcomes for teachers and learners, and be evaluated in relation to the intended outcomes.

Curriculum leaders need support to develop leadership skills, pedagogical knowledge and the use of data to inform decision-making.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Shirley Intermediate performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education considers intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 in order to bring about improvement in:

  • student achievement across the school
  • leadership and governance
  • assessment, planning and data capability
  • continuing to raise the quality of teaching and learning
  • internal evaluation.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

12 December 2019

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%; Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


Special features

Bilingual class, Level 2 MME

Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

12 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review

May 2017
September 2015