Sonrise Christian School - 27/04/2016


Sonrise Christian School caters for students up to Year 10. Most achieve at and above the expected levels for literacy and mathematics. Core learning for senior students is supplemented by correspondence education and some prepare for NCEA Level 1. Building capability for knowing effectiveness in accelerating progress is an area for improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

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

Sonrise Christian School is a state-integrated school in Gisborne that provides education for students in Years 1 to 10. The land and buildings are owned by the proprietors, the Gisborne Christian Education Trust. The board of trustees governs the school. Teaching and learning facilities are well maintained and improvements are ongoing.

All school participants share the Christian values expressed in the charter. They are blended with those from The New Zealand Curriculum to underpin students’ holistic development. A friendly, family culture is promoted and enjoyed.

At the time of this ERO review, the roll was 77 students. Student numbers are highest in the beginning class and the board funds additional staffing support for the primary years. Five students in Years 9 and 10 learn their core curriculum subjects with one teacher. These students access learning in chosen areas through Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (The Correspondence School) and are able to work towards the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA).

There have been no changes of staff since the May 2013 ERO review. Professional development since then has focused on raising achievement in writing. The school is participating with other local schools to raise achievement in mathematics. The school’s reporting history with ERO is positive and indicates continuing improvement.

2 Learning

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

The principal analyses and uses achievement information effectively to reflect on schoolwide performance and set goals for improvement. She shares findings with staff and trustees for discussion about patterns and trends, and inquiry into reasons for significant differences across groups and learning areas. Responses are planned by the principal and resourced by the board.

Achievement data is reliable. Teachers’ judgements about students’ achievement levels in reading, writing and mathematics are made with reference to assessments and tools used for monitoring against expected progression. Teachers engage in regular team moderation to be certain judgements are consistent and fair across the classes. These processes operate well under the principal’s leadership.

Students’ strengths, interests and learning needs are well known to the teaching team. Information is gathered at entry, updated as necessary and shared regularly. Staff have collective responsibility for the wellbeing and learning of each individual student. This knowledge is used to support transition through the years and develop individual education plans for specifically identified students.

Students with special learning needs are well catered for through a team approach. The principal, special needs coordinator, teacher and teacher-aides meet with parents and specialists to plan for each student's learning and inclusion. Monitoring records for these students are systematically documented, providing useful information for evaluating progress and setting new goals. Most reports to the board on the effectiveness of interventions or special programmes need to be more specific about progress to guide budget planning.

Most students achieve at or above expected levels in the first eight primary years. The 2015 National Standards data for the past three years indicates overall improvement in literacy and mathematics, particularly in writing. In 2015 about a third performed above expectations for their year. Māori students achieve better than non-Māori in writing but slightly more feature below the National Standards in reading and mathematics.

Student achievement at Years 9 and 10 reflects similar patterns, with greater strength in literacy than mathematics. In other curriculum areas some Year 10 students achieve NCEA Level 1 in their chosen subject. This assists their transition to Year 11 at a full secondary school.

Reasons for patterns emerging from data analysis should be explored further as a team. Teachers’ records are not explicit about how analysed information is used to target student needs and plan for progress, especially for the accelerated progress of students achieving below curriculum level expectation. Steps for improvement include:

  • defining a measure of acceleration
  • documenting ongoing assessment
  • using the assessment information for responsive planning and providing a record of teaching strategies and progress over time.

Teachers’ evaluation of effectiveness of strategies to promote progress should be strengthened by:

  • written expectations for these processes
  • setting specific achievement targets for groups and individuals
  • using education research to help with deciding teaching strategies
  • focusing on the impact of the strategies used.

Professional development in mathematics has commenced. This is likely to assist with strengthening processes for targeting student progress and provide a basis for applying this learning in reading and writing.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is successful in engaging students in their learning and promoting their progress. Teachers have clear guidelines for curriculum design that incorporates the special character, values, principles, competencies and learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Programme planning reflects curriculum coverage and specific subject content, with integration of Christian, bicultural or local elements and other areas where meaningful. For the more senior students, some learning is the course content provided by the Correspondence School.

Students enjoy a positive, well managed and resourced learning environment. Interactions are respectful and caring. Routines are known and followed. Students are able to work with appropriate levels of independence, cooperate with others and remain on task. They know the school values and expectations for participation.

Internal evaluation of curriculum effectiveness should be undertaken to inform school review and future planning. This is especially relevant for ensuring the needs and pathways of students in Year 9 and 10 are catered for. Defining measures for knowing effectiveness should be part of the process.

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

Successive internal evaluations, led by the principal, shows a high level of reflection on how well Māori student success is promoted. Actions demonstrate value for cultural identity. Board planning has strengthened direction for improving cultural responsiveness. From consultation, an agreed view of what educational success for Māori as Māori means, has been documented. This will assist development of evaluative thinking.

Understanding of cultural responsiveness is growing. The principal and teachers have worked with Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2013-2017 andTātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. These are useful tools for guiding action and making processes coherent.

Māori students engage in school life enthusiastically, step up to leadership roles and many enjoy academic success. Data analysis shows that those not achieving to expectation are more likely to be male. Inquiry into the reasons for this achievement pattern would be useful for programme design and resource provision.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Sonrise Christian School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The principal leads regular evaluation of key aspects of school operation to know what is going well and what could be of better quality or more effective. She guides the board in making decisions and staff in taking action for improvement.

The charter and board plans make school direction clear. Goals and actions prioritise areas, identified from monitoring and evaluation, as needing development or review. Building professional capability for improvement is deliberately planned and managed to embed change. Development of success indicators would assist the school to know how well goals have been achieved.

Community engagement is deliberately fostered. The presence and views of parents and whānau are invited. Feedback is valued and considered in planning.

The school interacts with other schools for various curriculum events and collaborative learning. These planned opportunities enrich students’ experiences and increase professional understanding.

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.


Sonrise Christian School caters for students up to Year 10. Most achieve at and above the expected levels for literacy and mathematics. Core learning for senior students is supplemented by correspondence education and some prepare for NCEA Level 1. Building capability for knowing effectiveness in accelerating progress is an area for improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

27 April 2016

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Year 1 to 10)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 45, Female 32

Ethnic composition







Special Features

State Integrated

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

27 April 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

July 2010

March 2007