Longburn Adventist College

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Education institution number:
School type:
Secondary (Year 7-15)
School gender:
School with Boarding Facilities
Total roll:

100 Walkers Road, Longburn, Palmerston North

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School Context

Longburn Adventist College is a Year 7 to 13 integrated, special character school located to the south of Palmerston North. There are 219 students on the roll, of which 20% identify as Māori and 17% as of Pacific heritage.

The school’s stated mission and vision are that together ‘in Christ, we educate, encourage, empower to provide a high-quality education for students, with Christ-centred values in a family-like environment. We grow every student to excel to their full potential academically, as a leader, and spiritually.’ These statements are supported by the ASPIRE values where learners are fostered to ‘Lead with Integrity, Act with Respect and Cultivate Resilience.’

The school’s strategic goals for 2019 are focused on students encountering Jesus Christ, encouraging positive relationships, ensuring that individual learning potential is recognised and valued, and quality resources available to support achievement for all.

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

  • National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA).
  • Achievement in reading and mathematics in Years 7 – 10.

Since the 2016 ERO review, a new assistant principal has been appointed to the senior leadership team. The recently-elected board of trustees is mostly comprised of first-term representatives, and the experienced chair remains in the role.

The school is a member of the Lower North Island Christian Schools Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

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?

The school is achieving excellent outcomes for most students and working towards achieving equitable outcomes for all.

In 2018, enrolment-based achievement data shows that most students achieved at NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. Almost half of students achieved merit or excellence endorsements in Levels 1 and 3. These patterns of achievement show improvement over time for learners at Level 1, consistency at Level 2 and a slight decrease at Level 3.

School leavers’ data shows that the majority of all students leave the school with a minimum of an NCEA Level 2 qualification. Enrolment-based data in 2018 shows that a third of students achieved University Entrance (UE).

Most Māori students achieved at Level 1 and 2 in 2018. This pattern of achievement reflects significant improvement for these learners over time. Māori learners achieve higher in relation to Pākehā learners at these levels. Half of Māori learners achieved NCEA Level 3 and UE. However, there is a significant and widening disparity in NCEA Level 3 and in UE where Māori are achieving less well than their Pākehā peers.

Achievement data for 2017 and 2018 shows that all Pacific learners achieved NCEA Level 3 and a large majority of Pacific learners achieved at Levels 1 and 2. This pattern of achievement reflects significant improvement for these learners over time. Pacific learners achieve higher in relation to Pākehā learners at Level 3 and UE, at comparable rates at Level 2 and slightly lower at Level 1.

Achievement information shows that in 2018 males achieved at higher levels that females in NCEA Level 3. Females achieve significantly higher than males in Levels 1 and 2, this disparity for males has widened since 2017.

Achievement information for Years 8 and 9 in 2018 shows that the majority of learners achieved well in relation to curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics, and in Year 10, less than half of students achieved.

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

The school is able to show some effective acceleration for individuals and cohorts of students who need this, including Māori and Pacific learners.

In 2018, the school effectively accelerated half of at-risk learners in Year 7 in reading and more than a third in Year 7 and 8 for mathematics. Acceleration information for 2019 to midyear, shows that strategies and interventions used for at-risk learners in Year 7 reading, and for Years 7 and 8 learners in mathematics were effective.

Case studies and narratives for many at-risk students in the senior school show the extensive range of interventions and supports used for accelerating these learners’ achievement over time. Targeted support for senior students through Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) and Gateway programmes, was effective in supporting meaningful pathways for, and motivating learners to, further study and employment.

Further analysis of acceleration information to identify individuals and groups of learners accelerated progress schoolwide is a next step identified by leaders.

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?

Leaders and teachers are focused on learners’ physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. The special character and schoolwide values are authentically woven throughout daily life at the school. This provides a strong foundation for a genuine culture of care and nurturing. Relational trust is evident and underpins interactions within all levels of the school and wider community. Cultural diversity is celebrated through events and performances.

The enacted curriculum provides a wide and diverse range of opportunities for students to explore interests and pursue their career aspirations. High levels of student engagement and willingness to participate in school activities and events strengthens students’ sense of belonging. Useful processes are in place to track and monitor each student’s progress and achievement. Leaders and teachers work alongside specialist agencies and caregivers to form responsive partnerships for learners with additional needs.

A considered approach to growing leaders’ and teachers’ practice through targeted professional learning and development is bringing about necessary change to practice. The strategic introduction of a coaching and mentoring approach to build effective leadership of learning, has also supported more collaborative ways of working for all teachers.

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

Reviewing the strategic alignment and cohesion of schoolwide priorities for improvement is a key next step. This should include ensuring the learner, their needs and their intended educational outcomes are at the centre of decision making. Leaders have identified the following as areas for ongoing growth.

Continuing to focus on building teacher capability to develop meaningful feedback and feed-forward practices is needed to grow students understanding and leadership of their learning. This includes supporting teachers’ implementation of deliberate acts to accelerate individual students progress and achievement. Using this information to grow parents understanding of their child’s learning journey to build partnerships for learning is a priority.

Fully implementing initiatives and strategies identified in the current curriculum review to develop a more responsive curriculum schoolwide is required. Supporting teachers understanding of quality practice and high expectations for delivery of meaningful and culturally responsive programmes to all students, especially for Māori and Pacific learners is an important next step.

Extending leaders and teachers understanding of effective analysis of achievement information to identify trends and patterns across groups of learners requires strengthening. This includes leaders and teachers developing their understanding of how to use this information to inform ongoing change and improvement across all levels of the school. Refining schoolwide targets to focus on those learners whose progress and achievement need to be accelerated should enhance schoolwide evaluation.

3 Other Matters

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel within the Longburn Adventist College grounds is known as L.A.C. House. It currently accommodates 49 students, 22% of the school roll, and includes 22 international students. It is governed by the New Zealand Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The operation of the hostel is overseen by a boarding director and a board of governors. Representatives of this group have attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

The 2016 ERO evaluation identified areas for development in the hostel facilities, personnel management, policies and procedures, and the strengthening of links between the school and hostel. There have been significant improvements in all these areas. However, further strengthening of the policy framework is required, including appropriately consulting with parents and caregivers around these. In addition, reporting of progress and achievement of students’ learning to the board of governors is a priority. Effective support and guidance is being provided to hostel staff to respond to these next steps and better align systems and policies to school operation.

The hostel’s internal structure is currently being reviewed by the board of governors. It is a priority that this is completed to inform further improvements and efficiencies. To better meet the needs of all learners, it is timely that consideration be given to the:

  • sustainability of current roles and responsibilities of key personnel
  • effectiveness of systems and processes for ongoing improvement.

Experienced hostel staff provide pastoral care in an environment that promotes student wellbeing and upholds the special character of the college. Students enjoy the family like environment where routines and expectations are well understood. Strengthening the response to students’ ideas for improvement should support the collective development of hostel practices.

Hostel staff know the students well and provide a warm, responsive environment for them that enhances students’ sense of belonging. The diverse cultures of staff and students are valued and celebrated.

Provision for international students

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

At the time of this review there are 24 international students attending the school.

ERO’s evaluation confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough and contributes to further developments. Policies and practice suitably guide the provision for international students. Orientation is well planned and supportive of individuals as they transition into school.

Students access relevant curriculum experiences and subject choices, including opportunities to participate in co-curricular activities. Processes for monitoring and responding to student wellbeing, academic progress and achievement are appropriate.

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 Longburn Adventist College’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the enactment of the school’s special character and values that promotes a sense of family and belonging
  • a holistic approach to student wellbeing that actively creates an inclusive environment for learning.

Next steps

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

  • building leaders’ and teachers’ capability to better respond to individual student’s needs and enhancing learning focused partnerships with parents and caregivers
  • responsive curriculum, including the authentic integration of culturally responsive contexts and practices for learning, especially for Māori and Pacific learners
  • deeper analysis of data to evaluate the impact that strategies, initiatives and interventions have on acceleration of learning.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

24 October 2019

About the school


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 – 13)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 59%, Male 41%

Ethnic composition

Maori 20%
Pākehā 50%
Pacific ethnic groups 17%
Asian ethnic groups 9%
Other ethnic groups 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

24 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, October 2016
Education Review, August 2013
Education Review, October 2010


Longburn Adventist College has sustained levels of NCEA student achievement consistently above schools nationally. Its special character is strongly evident and teachers successfully promote wellbeing alongside achievement. Improving internal evaluation will support ongoing school improvement. Areas for development in the provision for hostel students are a priority.

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?

Longburn Adventist College is a Year 7 to 13 integrated, special character school located to the south of Palmerston North. It has 272 students on its roll, of which 16% identify as Māori and 8% Pacific.

There are 71 students living in the hostel, which accommodates nearly all of the 18 international students, many of which are from Papua New Guinea. Boarding numbers have increased in recent years.

The leadership team has changed since the August 2013 ERO report, with the appointment of a new principal and deputy principal. The proprietors of the college are the New Zealand Pacific Union of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

An ongoing cycle of refurbishment has seen existing buildings upgraded.

The school is participating in the Ministry of Education (Ministry) Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme.

2 Learning

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

Teachers and leaders are strengthening their use of data to make positive changes to students' progress and achievement.

At Years 7 and 8, overall teacher judgements about student achievement in relation to National Standards are collaboratively developed by teachers using a range of information. Engaging in external moderation with other schools should strengthen the dependability of decisions.

Most students in Years 7 and 8 are achieving at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. School generated data shows that some students made good progress over these two years. The school’s achievement information for mathematics showed recent improvement, however literacy levels have fallen over the past year.

Teachers are increasing the range of standardised assessment data they gather about student performance in Years 7 to 10 to show levels of achievement. This should provide a clearer picture of progress, particularly for students in Years 9 and 10. Leaders identify that a next step is to build teachers’ capability to use assessment information more effectively to promote student engagement and learning. Knowing more about student progress at these year levels, and what makes a positive difference for learners, should improve the school's evaluation and knowledge building capacity.

Since the previous ERO review, the College has sustained levels of senior student achievement consistently above all schools nationally. School data for National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) showed that the percentages of students achieving at Levels 1, 2 and 3 exceeded the national roll-based percentages in 2015. Nearly all students leave the school with NCEA Level 2 or above.

Māori and Pacific students achieve well and their academic results compare equitably with their peers at the school. Most students continue into Year 13 to complete their studies and improve their qualifications.

School leaders have identified and are responding to a gap between boys' and girls' achievement at Level 1 in 2015. Senior leaders have targeted boys’ achievement at Level 1 and merit and excellence endorsements as areas for improvement.

Teachers and deans successfully track and monitor student performance. Regular reviews of progress assists them to identify those who are at risk of underachieving and provide these students with additional support.

Individualised plans are developed to support learning for students with additional needs. Regularly reviewing the impact of the planned interventions and programmes should support the school to improve student outcomes and success.

Reports to parents provide useful information about their child's strengths, levels of achievement and next steps for learning. How well students enact the key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) is also included.

3 Curriculum

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

The ongoing review and development of the curriculum should assist the college to strengthen how it supports all students to achieve successful outcomes.

The curriculum strongly reflects the NZC and emphasises the school's special character. The values of integrity, respect and resilience align with the special character and are clearly evident. The curriculum suitably focuses on literacy and numeracy, with religious studies integral.

The hostel contributes significantly to the school culture and character, supporting the success of the school.

Students are well engaged in positive and suitably-resourced learning environments. A calm and purposeful tone is evident throughout the school. In classrooms that ERO visited, school expectations were well understood and the school values were fully enacted. Students were clear about the relevance of their learning, showed high levels of collaboration and participated in programmes with confidence and enthusiasm.

Celebrations of student achievement, success and participation value and recognise students' development and contribution to the school. Students are affirmed for displaying positive behaviours for learning.

Students are provided with curriculum pathways that prioritise core subject areas. They benefit from extensive involvement in learning opportunities away from the school site. A review and development of the curriculum in the senior school should consider:

  • broadening students’ course options
  • increasing links with offsite learning institutions
  • improving the provision for students seeking to follow pathways to employment.

Identifying next steps through an effective evaluation process should assist the school to respond more successfully to the increasingly diverse needs of students. Including students and parents in the review process should increase its quality.

All staff successfully integrate a focus on promoting student wellbeing alongside achievement. Positive, trusting and fair student-teacher relationships are the basis for teachers to build their holistic knowledge of learners.

A next step is to review the quality of provision to determine how well:

  • pastoral systems and processes support wellbeing
  • the careers programme, guidance and subject advice assist students to access appropriate pathways.

A plan is being developed to promote greater use of digital technologies to enhance learning. Teachers are increasing their use of strategies that promote eLearning. Resolving issues that affect connectivity should support further development towards students becoming digital citizens.

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

The school is developing how well it promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

The process for the carving of a Pou, intended to be a focal point in the school's environment, has contributed to building a shared vision of the school's identity. It is seen as a catalyst for building more effective relationships with the Māori community.

There are opportunities to learn te reo Māori within the curriculum.

The school has identified, and ERO's evaluation supports, the need to improve and strengthen the response to Māori students’ culture and identity. The next step is to develop a shared vision for Māori learners at the college to further promote Māori success as Māori. This should align with the principles of The Māori Education Strategy: Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013 - 1017, and the special character of the school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Longburn Adventist College is continuing to develop its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

There is a shared vision and a positive working relationship between the proprietor’s board and the school board. The new school board is engaged in regular training and support to develop their capabilities in stewardship.

The board receives reports about student achievement that provide useful information on which to base decisions. Trustees set a clear direction for the college and establish priorities for improvement. Annual targets should benefit from more detail about priority groups and intended actions. More regular reporting of targeted students’ progress should strengthen trustees’ evaluation and decision making.

Senior leaders collaborate to share a vision for school improvements. They focus on further strengthening conditions for effective teaching and learning, that should contribute to improved outcomes for students. Deliberate actions are taken to support building middle leadership capability to lead learning and to distribute leadership roles more widely.

The appraisal process continues to be developed to support teacher development. It provides opportunities for teachers to reflect on the effectiveness of their practice. It promotes a collaborative approach and collegial support. There is a robust process leading to the renewal of Teacher Practising Certificates. Extensive professional learning opportunities are aligned to the school’s identified priorities. Next steps are to strengthen the appraisal process to include more meaningful individual goals and focused classroom observations linked to school priorities and teacher needs.

The school has reviewed how well it builds the capability of its newly graduated teachers, and recognises the need to strengthen their support.

Effective evaluation by senior leaders is identifying key priorities for improvement. Building evaluative capability across the school is a next step.

Provision for international students

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

Nearly all international students are accommodated in the school’s hostel, which provides the foundation of pastoral care for their time in the school. Year group deans and subject teachers track and monitor academic performance. Students identified as underachieving are provided with additional support. Some international students make good progress and achieve well. Families receive good levels of information and are involved in decisions about courses and programmes.

Improving review and w should consider how to strengthen:

  • orientation and induction of new students into the college
  • monitoring of achievement and progress as a group
  • the use of achievement information to promote learning and success
  • regular reporting of student progress and achievement to the principal and school board
  • courses meeting the specific needs of individual students
  • strategies to celebrate students' diverse cultures, languages and identities.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Students spoken to by ERO enjoy the family-like environment of the hostel. They benefit from an inclusive culture and the diversity of students and staff. Routines and expectations are well understood by the students.

Students have opportunities to participate in a wide range of activities and sports. Students are able to provide ideas and give feedback on hostel provision. Improving the response to student feedback is a next step.

Leaders recognise that there has been a delay in addressing improvements needed to hostel facilities. They now feel they are in a better position to initiate the works needed to address maintenance issues and upgrade the accommodation for students. Some improvements are already underway.

Guidelines have been developed for volunteer deans that provide some direction for following systems and routines. These require strengthening, to include expectations for working effectively with boarding students.

The appraisal process for hostel staff and the improved expectations for volunteers need to be fully implemented and monitored. This should be directed towards increasing consistency of staff performance and building of staff capability.

The current policy framework is not sufficiently detailed to provide full coverage of legislative requirements in school hostels. Policies and procedures need to be developed to ensure they provide necessary guidance and expectations to meet compliance with legislation and to reflect areas of current appropriate practice. Once policies and procedures are updated they need to be reviewed on a regular basis.

Leaders have identified the need to strengthen the links between school and the hostel in terms of how well students learning is promoted. ERO's evaluation affirms this as an important next step.

Addressing the areas of improvement identified in this section of the report should be an urgent priority.

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.


Longburn Adventist College has sustained levels of NCEA student achievement consistently above schools nationally. Its special character is strongly evident and teachers successfully promote wellbeing alongside achievement. Improving internal evaluation will support ongoing school improvement. Areas for development in the provision for hostel students are a priority.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 October 2016

About the School


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Special features

Integrated school

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

5 October 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

August 2013

October 2010

May 2008