Fairfield College

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Education institution number:
129
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
709
Telephone:
Address:

25 Bankwood Road, Chartwell, Hamilton

View on map

School Context

Fairfield College, located in Hamilton City, provides co-educational education for students in Years 9 to 13. The school’s roll of 644, which includes 363 students of Māori descent, has decreased since the last ERO review in 2015.

In 2018 there was a major restructuring of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). The school no longer offers Year 11 students Level 1 NCEA. Level 2 NCEA has become a two-tier qualification for Year 11 and 12 students. There was also a significant timetable change moving to three 90 minute teaching periods each day.

Three deputy principals have been appointed to the senior leadership team since the 2015 ERO review.

The school’s mission statement ‘Committed to quality education and personal excellence’ is supported by the Whakatauki: I taku puranga hau; taku tuumanako - While I breathe; I hope. Values of respect, responsibility and personal excellence. The school promotes high expectations, Treaty of Waitangi, cultural diversity, inclusion, community engagement and equity.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • NCEA achievement
  • student leavers destination data.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Fairfield College is yet to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all of its students.

The school’s 2018 NCEA enrolment based data shows that the majority of students gained NCEA Level 2 and NCEA Level 3. Less than half of Māori students gained Level 2 with the majority of Māori students gaining Level 3.

There was significant improvement in the achievement for Māori learners at Level 3 compared to 2016 and 2017. Māori students are now achieving at comparable levels to their Pākehā peers at NCEA Level 3.

A small number of students gained University Entrance in 2018. There has been a consistent level of NCEA Merit and Excellence endorsements for 2017 and 2018.

Patterns of NCEA achievement over the last 3 years indicates significant disparity remains between Māori and Pākehā achievement at NCEA Level 2. This pattern of disparity is also evident for Pacific students in comparison to their Pākehā peers at Level 2 and Level 3. However, from 2016 to 2017 Pacific student’s levels of achievement have shown significant improvement at Level 2 and Level 3 NCEA.

Achievement data from 2016-2017 indicates that males and females are achieving at a comparable level for NCEA Level 2 and NCEA Level 3. However, in 2018 there was significant disparity at Level 2 NCEA where females achieved at higher levels than their male peers. Females have consistently outperformed males in University Entrance over time.

The school has collated detailed school leaver data for 2017 for those students who left without NCEA Level 2. It is able to show that almost all students who completed their schooling at Fairfield College went on to further education or employment.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is able to show accelerated progress for some students. Collated and analysed achievement data from 2015 - 2018 shows that the large majority of those at-risk students who entered the school at Year 9 and remained at the school for four years made accelerated progress. Of this group all Māori and Pacific students made accelerated progress and gained Level 2 NCEA.

Literacy and numeracy data shows that some students make accelerated progress from Year 9 to Year 10 from 2017 to 2018.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school provides effective vocational and academic pathways for students. There has been a significant focus on developing robust systems to support students as they progress through the school. These genuine pathways provide opportunities for students to gain experience in a variety of vocational settings which support and contribute to students’ academic achievement in NCEA. Ongoing tracking of achievement by senior and middle leaders has led to improved academic, tertiary study and employment outcomes for students.

Community collaborations enrich curriculum opportunities. The school has developed meaningful partnerships with iwi, schools, businesses and community organisations. Senior leaders are proactive in establishing and building these key relationships. Genuine partnership where programs are designed and implemented in a collaborative way provide contextualised learning for students. Established reciprocal relationships with iwi support bi-cultural practices and provide the foundation for the school to acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversity. Transition into school has been strengthened. Links with contributing schools have seen the development of improved use of achievement data and use of common assessment tools.

Caring, inclusive learning environments support students’ wellbeing and sense of belonging. The school has prioritised removing barriers to learning. Students requiring support for their learning are clearly identified and well-catered for through a range of support programmes. Systemic and procedural changes to learning support have seen improved integration and inclusion for their students throughout the school. The school’s values are well known and support the inclusive kaupapa that is evident across all areas of the school. Caring relationships exist between students and teachers and creates a positive tone in classrooms and supports the inclusive culture.

Leaders works collaboratively to review and improve systems and processes to support positive student outcomes. They have developed and implemented a range of organisational strategies that are focused on a holistic approach to student success. More robust tracking of senior students’ achievement results has led to more individualised responses to students’ needs. Leaders have undertaken some aspects of self review and are now ready to fully evaluate recent significant changes in curriculum structure. Enhanced communication has led to improved pastoral care systems and wellbeing outcomes. Trustees are involved in making strategic decisions based on information from a range of sources and have been able to support the school through sound financial resourcing practices.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Leaders need to continue to build teacher capability. Priority should be given to:

  • consistent use of formative assessment practices to develop greater student agency

  • differentiation for targeted teaching to accelerate learning of at-risk students.

Priority should also be given to reviewing:

  • aspects of the curriculum to strengthen student engagement and respond more effectively to student learning needs

  • the appraisal process to greater inform changes to teacher practice including teachers inquiring in to their practice to better support at risk learners.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Fairfield College’sperformance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • effective pathways through the senior school that provide a range of successful outcomes for students
  • an inclusive learning culture that builds a sense of belonging
  • effective leadership that is focused on enhancing systems and processes to better respond to the needs of students.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to build teacher capability to more effectively target and accelerate student achievement
  • evaluating the curriculum to more consistently engage students in their learning.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

19 August 2019

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

129

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

637

Gender composition

Female 48% Male 52%

Ethnic composition

Māori 57%
NZ European/Pākehā 27%
Pacific 8%
Asian 6%
Other 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

19 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015
Special Review June 2014
Education Review August 2011

Findings

Fairfield College has made considerable progress since the 2014 ERO review. Strong partnerships have been developed with local tertiary institutions and businesses to provide extended learning pathways for students. Trustees, school leaders and teachers have a clear focus on school improvement and raising levels of student achievement.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Fairfield College, located in Hamilton city, provides education for students in Years 9 to 13. The school’s roll of 716, includes 335 students of Māori descent.

The June 2014 ERO report identified that the school had made significant progress over the previous two years in strengthening governance practices, establishing professional trust among the teaching team, and implementing initiatives to improve the quality of teaching practice. It identified a need for the board of trustees and school leaders to:

  • implement processes to further strengthen the quality of teaching practice
  • continue to develop meaningful partnerships with parents, whānau and the wider community
  • more effectively use student achievement information to promote better learning outcomes for students.

As identified in the 2014 ERO report a significant challenge for the board, leaders and teachers was to raise achievement levels within the school, in particular the achievement of Māori students.

Since the 2014 ERO review, new deputy and assistant principals have been appointed to the leadership team. Along with the existing principal and deputy principal they have a clear focus on raising student achievement. A new board of trustees' chairperson has been appointed.

The board of trustees, school leaders and staff have a strong commitment to supporting all students to achieve personal success and develop meaningful pathways for future learning and employment.

The school has implemented several initiatives to improve student engagement and achievement. The school’s 2014 and 2015 data indicates significant improvement in achievement particularly for Māori students.

Throughout this longitudinal review process ERO observed high levels of student engagement in calm and settled learning environments.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

The following priority areas for review and development were agreed between ERO and the Fairfield College board of trustees:

  • strengthening the quality of teaching practice
  • further developing meaningful partnerships with parents, whānau and the wider community
  • strengthening the use of student achievement information to promote improved outcomes for students.

Progress

School leaders have implemented several initiatives to further build teachers’ professional capability. Participation in the Ministry of Education funded professional learning programme Kia Eke Panuku, including the board of trustees funding of internal professional learning programmes, have assisted teachers to more effectively respond to the learning needs of Māori students. Clear expectations have been established for effective teaching practice at Fairfield College. Teachers have benefited from ongoing support and guidance for incorporating literacy learning strategies in all curriculum areas, particularly at Years 9 and 10.

School leaders have developed a comprehensive and useful teacher appraisal process. Priority should now be given to fully implementing and embedding this process. Particular attention should be given to the provision of regular and robust feedback to teachers about the effectiveness of their practice, and aligning this to systems that promote teachers’ ongoing reflection about the impact of their teaching. School leaders should also review the current appraisal process to ensure that it meets the new endorsement requirements of the Education Council.

ERO observed teachers effectively engaging students in meaningful learning. Teachers promote positive relationships with students, and make good use of real life contexts that engage students in learning. Some teachers implement effective strategies that are responsive to students’ learning successes and next steps. For other teachers the use of these strategies is in the early stages of implementation as a regular part of their teaching practice. School leaders should continue to promote the consistent use of this effective approach school wide.

Meaningful partnerships with parents, whānau and the wider community

School leaders have made significant progress in building stronger relationships with parents, whānau and the wider community that contribute to positive learning outcomes for students. Vocational learning pathways for students have been extended through recently established partnerships between the school and local tertiary providers such as WINTEC, Te Wananga o Aotearoa and the High Wire Learning Trust. Students enjoy and benefit from shared learning opportunities provided by these organisations and the school. In 2015 most of these students have achieved or are likely to achieve success at National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) qualifications Levels 1, 2 and 3. Some of these students have also won apprenticeships and been accepted for further vocational training. Students involved in these programmes indicated to ERO the importance, value and benefit to them of this initiative.

The principal has established useful links with Ngāti Wairere and Tainui to assist ongoing school development. A current initiative is the refurbishment of the school’s wharenui and the development of a community environmental sustainability project to be based on the school’s site.

The school reports increased participation of whānau and parents at school events and activities. This has included the implementation of regular celebrations of students’ achievement and successes.

Useful relationships have been established with contributing primary and intermediate schools that support students’ transition to the school. There would be value in further strengthening these relationships to support a cohesive community focus on raising overall levels of student achievement.

Use of student achievement information to promote improved outcomes for students

Student achievement information is now being used more effectively to support positive learning outcomes. Effective systems have been established to track and monitor the progress of senior students undertaking national qualifications. This data is well used as a basis for ongoing mentoring programmes. Senior students and their whānau are easily able to track progress and achievement towards reaching their qualification goals using the school’s electronic record system.

School leaders have recently introduced useful systems to monitor the progress of Years 9 and 10 students in reading, writing and mathematics. Some teachers make effective use of this information to provide specific targeted learning programmes for students. Priority should now be given to extending the use of this information by students and all teachers to better support overall achievement in key aspects of literacy and mathematics. Data from 2014 to 2015 indicates that in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics many Year 9 and 10 students made good progress.

The board of trustees is well informed about school-wide student achievement. They set appropriate targets in the charter focused on raising student achievement. School leaders and trustees make good use of data to inform their decision making about resource allocations and curriculum design.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Fairfield College is well placed to continue to improve its performance because:

  • trustees, leaders and teachers have a strong commitment to embedding and extending recent successful initiatives to raise overall student achievement
  • the school has established strong and meaningful partnerships with the wider community
  • school leaders and trustees have developed useful self-review practices that support ongoing school development
  • strong pastoral care systems have been developed that support and promote student engagement, progress and achievement
  • there are increased levels of parent and whanau involvement in the school.

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.

Conclusion

Fairfield College has made considerable progress since the 2014 ERO review. Strong partnerships have been developed with local tertiary institutions and businesses to provide extended learning pathways for students. Trustees, school leaders and teachers have a clear focus on school improvement and raising levels of student achievement.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

14 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

129

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

716

Gender composition

Boys 57% Girls 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Other

47%

38%

7%

5%

3%

Special Features

Active Learning Unit

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

14 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Special Review

June 2014

August 2011

May 2010