Southwell School - 20/05/2013


On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Southwell School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

1 Background

The Chief Review Officer has a statutory duty to report on the performance of private schools throughout New Zealand.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989, requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review fully registered private schools, and to report to the Ministry of Education on whether each school continues to meet the criteria for full registration.

This review report was prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

Southwell School is a fully registered private school in Hamilton city. The school has recently celebrated its centenary and has a proud history of providing high standards of education for students from Years 0 to 8. In 1911 Mr C Ferris established Southwell as a preparatory boarding and day school for boys, based on Christian values and the Anglican faith. Over the years the school has adapted to the requirements of a modern education system. In the year 2000 girls were enrolled as students.

All Hallows Chapel was completed in 1926 and is central to the spiritual well-being of students, staff, families and school community. The chapel is situated in spacious grounds and is complemented by purposefully planned and contextually designed buildings. Well-appointed centres of learning provide many opportunities for students to have rich learning experiences in stimulating and attractive environments.

The school vision ‘Every Child a Star’ is well embedded and understood by school leaders, teachers, students and their families. The vision aims to recognise students’ talents, and nurture and celebrate their successes through a comprehensive curriculum, which challenges them to achieve excellence.

Southwell School Trust Board is an appointed group of trustees who oversee the Deed of Trust objectives to maintain the financial security of the school and support the principles of New Zealand education. Trustees are kept well informed and effectively promote the educational needs of students. They provide high-quality resources required to run a modern primary school.

2 Criteria for Registration

The chaplain leads the Christian traditions of Anglicanism and promotes the wellbeing of all members of the school community. He has a strong spiritual role and guides the pastoral development of students.

The headmaster has a clear vision for teaching and learning. He is a highly effective professional leader focused on all students achieving the school vision. The headmaster promotes the complementary strengths and expertise of the senior leadership team and staff to develop and implement the educational vision and direction of the school. He models the values of the Anglican faith and promotes the spiritual development of students.

The knowledgeable and skilled leadership team effectively implement curriculum design and delivery. They have high expectations for learning and teaching in line with The New Zealand Curriculum. Features of effective practice include:

  • targeted professional development
  • teachers reflecting on teaching and learning
  • classroom observations and professional discussions with teachers
  • developing shared understandings for teaching and learning
  • professional learning networks in the wider education community.
  • These strategies are contributing to student engagement, progress and achievement.

The school deans play a key role in leading and supporting teachers to implement expectations for learning and teaching in their classrooms. They work well together and monitor curriculum design. With teachers they are integrating whole school themes across learning areas. This approach is providing students with meaningful and authentic learning experiences.

Respectful and trusting relationships are highly evident among teachers and students. There are examples of outstanding teaching practice that promote student engagement, progress and achievement. Strategies that enhance student engagement in learning include:

  • sharing the purpose of learning
  • the encouragement of high order thinking skills
  • modelling open-ended questions
  • using information and communication technologies effectively for communication, publishing, reporting and planning
  • an intellectually and emotionally safe environment for learning.

Teachers demonstrate high levels of knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching and deliver the schools’ curriculum using effective strategies to engage students in meaningful learning. Specialist teachers extend the classroom programme in areas such as languages, the arts, science, technology, music and drama. In addition well staffed specialist learning centres such as a performing arts centre, the library, gymnasium, ICT suite extends and enriches student learning. The effective use of ICT by students is evident in all learning areas and promote students independent learning.

Highly effective communication systems ensure families are well informed. Regular newsletters celebrate student achievements. School cultural events, drama productions and sporting activities are well attended by parents and families. A comprehensive school induction booklet provides parents with information about school operations and requirements. Parents receive regular information about their child’s progress and achievement.

Students’ are highly motivated learners. They have many opportunities to work collaboratively with their peers. They confidently and meaningfully engage with each other in discussions about their learning. Students establish their own learning goals, and share their progress and achievement during student conferences with teachers and their families. They enjoy a sense of belonging and realise their potential as learners in an environment that supports their interests and learning.

School managers have attested that they comply with the provisions of section 35G, in respect to there being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

3 Other Statutory Obligations

There are very good systems in place for the schools managing body to be assured that it’s other statutory obligations are met.

4 Other Matters

Provision for international students

Southwell School provides an excellent standard of quality care and tuition for its international students (IS) who attend the school. While most IS students reside with their parents or guardians, other students are hostel boarders. All IS have access to the school’s extensive range of sporting, cultural, pastoral and care facilities.

The IS department is well led by an experienced manager who ensures that all aspects of student life are carefully considered. The school has very capable qualified English second language teachers who provide expert tutoring to raise students’ skills in English. Students are part of the school community and their relationships with peers and staff are rewarding. Teaching and learning interactions promote their academic and cultural development.

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were six international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Southwell School hostel, boarding house, accommodates 55 students, 9% of the school roll. It is owned by the trust and is centrally placed in the school grounds. The school headmaster has overall responsibility for the hostel. The hostel is managed by the Director of Boarding, matron and associated house staff.

Special features of the hostel include:

  • a very high standard of hostel care for boys and girls
  • close liaison between the Director of Boarding, headmaster and staff which ensures that all boarding students are provided with a safe physical and emotional environment that supports educational learning for students within the school at all year levels
  • an efficient and professional Director of Boarding who oversees a comprehensive set of hostel policies and procedures, which are made known to all parents and boarding students
  • a strong commitment to the welfare of students by boarding staff and due diligence in undertaking their supervisory duties
  • all students having access to the full range of sporting, cultural and social opportunities, which are a feature of Southwell School.

5 Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Southwell School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 May 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā





Other European









Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

20 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

June 2010

September 2007

September 2004