Ashhurst School

Ashhurst School - 02/07/2019

School Context

Ashhurst School is a full primary school catering for students up to Year 8. At the time of this review there were 440 students on the roll including 82 Māori and 10 students of Pacific heritage.

The school values Eke taumata – ‘Achievement; Manawaroa – Resilience; Tū tangata – Responsibility; Whai ngākau – Respect’ are delivered through the Ashhurst School curriculum.

The values are reflected in the current strategic aims to: ensure all learners are engaged, progressing and achieving to their personal best in all areas of school life; develop a safe, fully inclusive school environment and culture where student well-being and community partnerships are nurtured and strengthened.

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

  • student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement of target learners
  • wellbeing.

School leaders and teachers have undertaken a range of whole school professional development aligned to their vision and goals. These include leadership and inquiry development, Positive Behaviour for Learning and building curriculum knowledge in science and mathematics.

Leadership and staffing has remained stable at Ashhurst School.

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?

Established trends in outcomes for students across learning, engagement and wellbeing are moving over time towards being equitable and excellent. A large majority of students achieve at or above in reading, writing and mathematics. Of these, up to 20% of students achieve above expectation in reading and mathematics. Achievement data shows there has been continued gains made for most groups of students in writing. Māori achieve as well as their peers in all areas.

Since the 2016 review, boys’ achievement in literacy has increased with most now achieving at or above expectation in reading. Disparity is reducing between boys and girls in writing with the majority of boys achieving at expectation in this area. There continues to be an appropriate focus on improving boys’ learning outcomes in this area.

A robust pastoral system combines effective systems and processes with innovative programmes to maximise wellbeing and achievement. Individual tracking and monitoring shows progress for these students. Appropriate planning for students with complex needs are inclusive of parent input and incorporates external expertise.

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

The school is improvement focused for all students, and tracking and monitoring systems reflect this focus. Positive school conditions support learning and engagement. Those students whose learning needs acceleration are identified and their needs known.

Data provided by the school for those students who were at risk of underachievement in reading and mathematics in 2018 shows for the majority:

  • disparity of outcomes is identified, addressed and reduced
  • learning and achievement are accelerated, sometimes significantly, for those Māori and other students identified.

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?

Students are confident and articulate about their learning. They work effectively together and independently. They are engaged in purposeful learning contexts and high level teacher questioning further promotes their thinking and understanding. Teachers know their learners well. The ‘flipped learning’ approach is supported with clear learning intentions and aligned tasks. It promotes students developing their own learning strategies. Students recognise ‘flipped learning’ as an effective learning tool.

The innovative science approach underpinned by the school developed ‘Turning is Learning’ model highlights the school’s focus on delivering a responsive curriculum. A well designed implementation process has been informed by leaders, teachers and students. The ‘Nature of Science’ deliberately integrates te ao Māori.

Children with additional learning and behaviour needs are well supported within an inclusive environment.

The community is welcomed and participation encouraged. A range of appropriate, informal and formal, communication strategies and tools are used to successfully engage and support whānau and families to engage in their child’s learning.

Purposeful leadership results in professional learning and collaboration that improves teaching and student outcomes in achievement, engagement and wellbeing. The vision and goals are clearly stated and a focus for school leadership. Te Apiti, the school leadership team, demonstrates an understanding that growing teacher capability is a key to ensuring change for student’s learning outcomes.

There is a coherent line of sight from the school’s vision, to curriclum development, to classroom delivery. There is a focus on supporting all learners to achieve well and be successful. Teaching clearly reflects the school values.

Building capability in te reo Māori is a deliberate focus for teachers and students. Tikanga and te reo Māori is woven through the school rituals and programmes. School wide te reo Māori is celebrated and affirmed through hui, celebrations and school wide events. Whānau Māori voice is valued and responded to, and there are opportunities for them to support and enrich student’s learning.

Inquiry and knowledge building for improvement and innovation is focused on building collective capability through a robust appraisal process that uses purposeful observation and feedback. Cohesive organisational structures, processes and practices enable and sustain collaborative learning and decision making. Challenging professional learning opportunities align with the school vision, values, goals and targets.

The board bring a variety of strengths and skills. They have undertaken training and provide competent oversight of school operations. Sound systems and procedures effectively support student’s safety and welfare. Trustees maintain a strong focus on equitable resourcing for the school to maximise student outcomes.

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

It is timely to evaluate the now embedded innovations and practices in the school. This should support school leaders to keep their focus on improved outcomes for those students whose progress and achievement needs acceleration to ensure equity for all.

3 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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Ashhurst School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership approaches and actions that, are strongly improvement and future focused for raised student outcomes
  • innovative teaching practices and learning environments that are successfully developed and managed to effectively increase student collaboration, participation and engagement
  • leaders’ focus on increasing teacher capability through collaboration, inquiry and professional learning that, maximise children’s learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • internal evaluation of school practices to identify what is working well for students and where improvement is needed.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

2 July 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%
NZ European/Pākehā 76%
Pacific 1%
Other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

2 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, July 2015
Education Review, August 2011
Education Review, August 2008

Ashhurst School - 29/07/2015


The school community works collaboratively to maintain a positive school culture and high expectations. Students experience high quality education in an inclusive environment underpinned by a focus on student-led learning. They are supported to succeed through a wide range of curriculum and learning opportunities. The majority are high achievers.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Ashhurst School, near Palmerston North, caters for Years 1 to 8 students from the township of Ashhurst and surrounding rural areas. The roll of 415 students includes 21% who are Māori. Leadership is a key feature of the curriculum especially for Year 8 students.

Students continue to be consulted about learning and environmental developments and their opinions are valued.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO. Trustees, senior leaders, teachers and support staff work as a professional and experienced team. Relationships among staff and with the board and community are respectful. Shared aspirations for the school’s future are evident.

The collaboratively developed motto ‘Together we Learn’ underpins all that happens for students and staff across the school. The values: Achievement; Resilience; Responsibility; and Respect (Eke Taumata, Manawaroa, Tū Tangata and Whai Ngākau) are evident in practice.

Increasing development of flexible use of spaces and cooperative teaching is being embedded. The provision and use of digital technologies continues to be a focus. Development has been carefully considered, planned and reviewed by the board, leaders and teachers.

This report evaluates the school’s capability and capacity to undertake and use evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building for improvement and innovation to promote positive outcomes for students.

2 Learning

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

The learning community effectively uses student achievement and evaluation for improvement and innovation to maximise the learning of all students. Leaders and teachers use a wide range of information to know students well. This allows them to be responsive to student learning and wellbeing.

School data shows that good results have been sustained over time. The majority of students achieve at or above expectation in relation to National Standards in reading and mathematics, and many are at or above in writing. Trustees and leaders have developed appropriate targets in response to this achievement information.

Thoughtful decisions based on achievement data inform provision of interventions and initiatives for students at risk of underachieving. Teachers inquire effectively into student achievement data to evaluate the success of teaching, programmes and interventions. Progress is monitored, programmes are adjusted and specific next steps are shared with learners. A carefully-considered approach uses teachers’ collective knowledge to find solutions and share what makes the most difference. As a result the progress of many students is accelerated.

Students increasingly take responsibility for and lead their own learning. They know the purpose of tasks. Teachers support students to self-assess the quality of their work. Students and teachers collaboratively set criteria to measure how well they are learning.

Student progress and achievement is under constant scrutiny by trustees and staff. In-depth analysis of data and regular reports from team leaders and the principal guide the board’s planning decisions.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and achievement. They have a wide range of opportunities to meet and share information with teachers. Genuine partnerships between the school and parents support engagement and children’s learning at home.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is well designed and successfully promotes and supports student learning. It is underpinned by the school’s motto ‘Together we learn’. The key elements and priorities of The New Zealand Curriculum are effectively integrated.

Students and their families are consulted about the curriculum. Specific strengths, interests and needs of students are considered when their learning programmes are developed. A well-considered approach to the concept of modern learning pedagogy and practice is evident across the school. The curriculum supports students to have the necessary communication skills, adaptability and creativity for the future. The school continues to explore, develop and embed best practice in the curriculum.

High expectations of teachers and students promote a positive, responsive culture for learning. Teaching approaches are learner centred. Positive high quality environments reflect and celebrate students' work. Trusting relationships between teachers and students are evident. A wide range of teaching resources, including digital technologies, supports students in their learning. Students are encouraged to develop leadership and ownership of their learning by:

  • setting personal learning goals
  • planning and deciding what, where and when they work
  • reflecting on their learning
  • self-assessing their progress using a range of learning and disposition progressions
  • identifying their next steps
  • discussing their progress with teachers.

Students and teachers, with support that draws on local expertise, are increasing their capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Teachers reinforce and integrate the learning in class programmes. Students learn about te ao Māori and kapa haka in order to help them build their understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

An emphasis on ensuring students' progress in literacy and mathematics is evident. Ideas across a range of curriculum areas are explored through a school-developed inquiry learning approach. Students are able to develop and apply knowledge and learn a range of skills in meaningful ways.

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

The principal, senior staff and teachers effectively promote educational success for Māori students, as Māori. The school’s curriculum increasingly emphasises aspects of biculturalism within teaching programmes.

There is a shared vision and a genuine commitment by staff to value the language, culture and identity of Māori students in the school. Partnerships with parents and whānau of Māori students result in positive outcomes for students. The school uses effective strategies to gather whānau aspirations about their children’s learning.

Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning. They achieve very well across all curriculum areas. They are confident and competent learners and are represented in leadership roles. The school kapa haka group and Māori school waiata contribute to supporting Māori student success.

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.

Trustees are skilled and knowledgeable about their governance role. They are strategic, improvement focused, and committed to the wellbeing of the staff and students. The board plans wisely for the future, making carefully considered decisions to support high quality teaching and learning. Change is well managed, soundly-based, and informed through extensive consultation with parents and community.

The principal and senior leaders are a cohesive and collaborative team. Highly effective leadership drives ongoing improvement, sustainability and innovation. Senior leaders maintain coherent and responsive systems to guide self review, and teaching. They lead professional learning programmes that are relevant to teachers’ developmental needs and interests focused on promoting student-centred learning. Senior leaders and teachers lead learning in the wider education community.

Coherent appraisal processes are well aligned with the school’s curriculum, priorities and goals. They promote high expectations for continued improvements to teaching and leadership practices. Critical reflection, cooperation and a high degree of trust encourage teachers to lead in areas of interest and expertise.

Students’ transition into and beyond the school sustains confident and positive attitudes to learning. Feedback from Year 9 students indicates they are well prepared through extensive leadership opportunities, learning challenges, high expectations and the broad curriculum.

The board’s concept of a ‘community of learners’ is evident in practice. Collaboration and shared decision making assist parents to be informed about, and involved in, their children’s education. There is commitment and partnership, between parents and school, to prepare students for future learning and demonstrating the attributes of good citizenship.

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.


The school community works collaboratively to maintain a positive school culture and high expectations. Students experience high quality education in an inclusive environment underpinned by a focus on student-led learning. They are supported to succeed through a wide range of curriculum and learning opportunities. The majority are high achievers.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

29 July 2015

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 53%,

Female 47%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

29 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

August 2008

August 2005