Ballance School

Ballance School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within 12 months of the Education Review Office and Ballance School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website


Ballance School, located in the Tararua district, provides education for learners for years 0 to 8.

Ballance School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • to support the achievement of all students around the priority learning areas of reading, writing and mathematics and to develop student agency

  • to create a sense of belonging/ turangawaewae and wellbeing for our tamariki, through supporting them to learn about wellbeing and environmental awareness.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Ballance School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how well the local curriculum responds and reflects local contexts and environment, community values and aspirations, enabling all tamariki to be confident, connected and actively involved.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is that the school has identified the need to review and develop their local curriculum, to ensure that it is inclusive, culturally responsive, reflecting the vision, aspirations and unique context of the community.

The school expects to see a wide-ranging, strategically planned consultation process that genuinely consults and involves students, whānau and staff. A key guiding document will be developed that will authentically guide the school’s direction, vision, teaching and learning.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support the school in its goal to evaluate how well the local curriculum reflects whānau values and aspirations and responds to the local context and environment, enabling all tamariki to be confident, connected and actively involved:

  • rich teaching and learning programmes with a clear focus on developing student agency and continuous improvement

  • whānau who are highly committed to children’s learning and continuous improvement, supported by a community with strong connections to the school.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • the development of a strategic consultation framework that prioritises input from tamariki and whānau

  • consultation with tamariki, whānau and the wider community, guided by the strategic framework

  • professional learning for Kaiako about Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories Curriculum and, in particular, further research and knowledge about the history and kaupapa of the local area.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

12 December 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Ballance School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of November 2022, the Ballance School Board of Trustees has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Ballance School Board of Trustees.

The next Board of Trustees assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

12 December 2022 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Ballance School - 18/12/2018

School Context

Ballance School, is a rural school situated west of Pahiatua. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Most students comes from the surrounding rural community. The roll of 31 children includes 19 who identify as Māori.

The mission statement is: ‘The roots to grow and the wings to fly’. The valued outcomes for students are ‘RESPECT: responsibility, enthusiasm, strength, perseverance, empathy, creativity and teamwork’.

In 2018, the school’s achievement targets are focused on raising achievement in reading, writing and mathematics for all students.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • Māori learners’ achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

  • mathematics for all year levels.

Professional learning and development in writing is a current focus for staff. A new principal and teaching staff were appointed at the beginning of 2017.

The school is part of the Tararua Kāhui Ako.

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?

At the end of 2017, school achievement information reported that almost all students achieved at or above expectations in reading, with most in mathematics. This has been a consistent pattern over the past three years. Achievement in writing has been more variable, with most students usually achieving at or above expectation. Writing achievement was lower in 2017.

The majority of Māori learners are achieving well.

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

In 2018 the school reports that some students identified at risk of not achieving are making better than expected progress in reading, writing or mathematics.

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?

Teachers use a suitable range of assessment tools to gather baseline data for each student. This data is used appropriately to inform teaching and learning and strategic and resourcing decisions. Students at risk of not achieving are effectively identified. Individual student achievement is well monitored. Teachers use the information to recognise and respond to students’ interests and learning needs. The use of shared learning spaces promotes a collegial and collaborative approach to addressing the learning needs of students.

Teachers know the students and their families well. High priority is placed on the pastoral care and wellbeing of students. This is aimed at encouraging students to see themselves as successful learners. The recent implementation of the new school values is supporting this aim.

External guidance and advice is readily accessed, to ensure students with more complex needs are appropriately supported. Use of resourcing aptly promotes students’ participation and engagement in the programme alongside their peers.

Students learn in a positive learning environment where interactions between adults and students are respectful and caring. Student voice is valued and regularly sought to provide them with choice in their learning. The wider curriculum provides authentic learning contexts, and opportunities to engage in sporting, cultural and social activities, and build relationships with other students.

Teachers collaborate effectively to enhance learning opportunities for students, through strong networking with other small schools, professional learning opportunities and regular meetings with their Kāhui Ako. This supports teachers to grow their capability and improve teaching practice.

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

The review of the documented curriculum is underway to ensure it reflects current practice and the intended outcomes for students. This review should include careers and second language learning for students in Years 7 and 8, and the implementation of the digital technology curriculum.

Assessment practices and processes require further strengthening. This includes reviewing the range of assessments tools used, developing a definition of acceleration and coherent systems and process to measure the rate of progress of priority learners. This should enable leaders to better respond to emerging patterns and trends and report effectively on progress against school targets.

Reflection and review are regularly used to inform decisions for improvement. Strengthening internal evaluation processes and practices by clearly identifying success indicators should enable trustees, the principal and teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes, initiatives and teaching practices on outcomes for students.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • surrender and retention of property and searches of students

  • consultation with the Māori community regarding progress and achievement of Māori students.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • ensure that it has policies, practices and procedures on surrender and retention of property and searches of students by the principal, teachers and authorised staff members
    [Education Act 1989, sections 139AAA to 139AAF]
  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies plans and targets for improving progress and achievement of Māori students.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • review the behaviour management policy and procedure to include the elimination of seclusion and the need to minimise physical restraint for student and staff wellbeing

  • strengthen reporting of hazards identified and mitigation of risk

  • strengthen the documented appointments procedure to show the school’s processes for identity checking of employees as required by the Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the use of achievement information to identify the needs of students most at risk of not achieving that enable close monitoring of these students

  • high expectations and a collaborative approach that promotes students as successful learners.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening assessment practices to better measure and report the rate of progress of priority learners

  • internal evaluation to better know the effectiveness of systems, processes and the curriculum on promoting equity and excellence and acceleration of learning.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

18 December 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 16, Female 15

Ethnic composition

Māori 19
Pākehā 10
Pacific 2

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

18 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2015
Education Review December 2012
Education Review September 2010