Somerfield School - 04/06/2013

1 Context

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

Somerfield School is a high-performing school. There is a very productive alignment between strategic planning, the innovative school curriculum, teaching practice and the widely evident student values (SMART). The motto of moving “Forward Together” is at the centre of school performance.

Teachers have high expectations of their own teaching and of student's learning and behaviour. These factors combine with the positive engagement of the community to create an environment where all students are supported in reaching their potential.

Teachers are committed to differentiating their practice to maximise each students’ learning. There is an obvious focus on priority learners who need to make accelerated progress. An important feature of this school is the way that biculturalism is so effectively integrated into the culture of the school. Māori students are achieving success as Māori.

Teachers respond in a caring manner to support the physical and emotional development of students. Following the Christchurch earthquakes, particular care has been taken to develop the levels of resilience of students and their whānau. Students understand and teachers consistently reinforce the importance of the school’s SMART values: socially adept, motivated, articulate, resilient and thinkers. These underpin the positive student culture. Students told ERO that their teachers care about them and their learning and that they feel safe to take risks and learn from making mistakes.

The principal and senior leaders provide strong leadership to support learning and teaching. Detailed guidelines set the expectations for high quality teaching practice. Professional learning and development (PLD), collegial support and performance management help ensure that students make appropriate progress.

Parents take the many opportunities provided to engage in the life of the school. They provide financial and personal support that benefits all students across the broad school curriculum.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very effectively to make positive changes to all learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. In particular, teachers and leaders use student learning information throughout the year to identify and respond to those students at risk of not achieving as well as expected.

Areas of strength

Students use learning information to:

  • know what they have learned
  • know what they have to learn next
  • set individual goals to support independent learning.

Teachers skilfully use learning information to:

  • identify the different learning needs within their class
  • report progress and achievement to students and their parents
  • set specific goals for their class and individuals
  • contribute to module and whole-school reviews of performance and reporting.

Leaders effectively use learning information to:

  • set targets in response to trends, patterns and needs
  • identify students who need extra support or extension
  • review the impact of programmes and interventions on students’ learning
  • identify future PLD needs
  • draw conclusions about what the information is showing and make recommendations to the board.

Trustees use learning information purposefully to make wise decisions about school direction and resourcing.

Area for continued development

The school has begun the process of increasing the level of responsibility students take for their own learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

Areas of strength

Māori values and the New Zealand Curriculum principles underpin the school’s curriculum and are deeply embedded in the culture of the school. The Māori values of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kotahitanga and rangatiratanga are evident in documentation and practice.

The broad curriculum provides students with many and varied learning experiences in all learning areas. This includes the development of social, academic, cultural, artistic and physical skills. The curriculum reflects the wishes of the school community. These are seen through the SMART goals that provide a solid foundation for learning and behaviour. All teachers and support staff actively work towards achieving these aims.

The well-designed school curriculum helps to build consistency of expectation and practice across the school. The delivery guidelines are high quality, comprehensive and support the teachers to meet the expectations of the school. Learning programmes have appropriate sequences and coherent progressions over the class and year levels. There is deliberate, responsive and well-paced teaching in all classes. Senior leaders have in-depth knowledge of the quality of teaching throughout the school.

The principal has high expectations for student learning and achievement, and for teachers as professionals. Teachers have responded to this by using evidence from research, their colleagues, and their own practice to reflect on and improve their performance.

Students needing extra support to succeed in their learning, including those with particular abilities, are provided with appropriate programmes. Students’ progress is closely monitored. Records show that most targeted students make significant gains.

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

The school very effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Areas of strength

The leadership is a key factor in the strong governance and management of the school. This includes the:

  • strategic leadership of the board that ensures the most urgent learning needs are addressed
  • professional leadership of the principal and leadership teams that provides a coherent approach to school operations and programmes
  • development of teachers as leaders of learning
  • valuing of the expertise and interests within the staff, and encouraging well-researched innovation.

Self review, planning and implementation is focused on improving teaching and learning programmes, and raising student achievement.

Contributing to this strength are the:

  • purposeful strategic development of new initiatives
  • strong alignment between review, planning and implementation
  • broad scope and multiple sources of information used for robust review
  • rigorous performance-management system and PLD that provide support and accountability for high quality teaching practice.

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 2012 the school did not meet the requirements for reporting to parents in relation to National Standards. The revised report format, to be used in 2013, does meet these requirements.

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

4 June 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 236 Girls: 184

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā










Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

4 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

October 2006

October 2003