Fergusson Intermediate (Trentham)

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School Context

Fergusson Intermediate (Trentham) in Upper Hutt currently caters for 490 students in Years 7 and 8. Of these, 18% are Māori and 5% are of Pacific heritage.

There have been recent changes in staffing, leadership and board of trustees’ membership. In 2018, there was a significant roll increase.

The established vision “High Expectations for All – Rise to the Challenge”, guides the school’s direction. The values of Respect, Integrity, Self-management and Engagement (RISE) underpin school practices and were developed as part of the Positive Behaviour for Learning project. The school continues to provide a Meeting Challenges programme to support individual wellbeing needs of children, led by a school counsellor.

Staff actively participate in a number of professional activities within the Upper Hutt schools cluster.

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
  • outcomes for students with special and additional learning needs.

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?

Most students continue to achieve at expectation in reading, and the majority meet expectations for writing and mathematics. There is evidence of improved progress in achievement for some learners.

The school recognises that overall, Māori and Pacific achievement in reading, writing and mathematics requires improvement to reflect that of their peers. Significant disparity for these learners persists. Boys’ achievement in writing continues to be below that of girls. The school has yet to effectively promote equitable outcomes for these groups.

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

School processes and practices are not yet effective in consistently accelerating learning for those Maori and other students who are at risk in their learning.

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?

Trustees, leaders and staff demonstrate a strong commitment to inclusive practices and promoting a sense of belonging that supports students’ wellbeing and learning. Positive interactions and relationships are underpinned by shared understandings developed through RISE values. These values provide a strong foundation for building a culture of relational trust.

Students with additional or complex needs are well supported to participate in school life and engage meaningfully in learning. Good information from a range of sources inform decision-making about provision for their learning and wellbeing.

There is a clear focus on building a collective understanding of learners and their families. Teachers know students well and share information to promote their wellbeing and engagement in learning. Students’ perspectives are valued and considered when making decisions. Access to the curriculum is enabled through appropriate, well-planned support. Students value the range of opportunities for learning across the school day.

Trustees demonstrate good understanding of their roles and responsibilities. They have a clear focus on outcomes for students and realising their vision and values. The board has good processes for effective operation.

Professional community networks provide opportunities for teacher and leadership growth and for sharing of practice and information. These support collective understandings and approaches to teaching and learning and assist students and their families to make transitions between schools.

The new leadership team is focused on providing a strong platform for students’ achievement, wellbeing and engagement in learning. Priorities for improvement are clearly and collaboratively identified and there is a well-considered approach to development and change. A strong focus on building systems for enacting priorities through effective communication is evident. Deliberate actions build leadership capacity within the school. Leaders demonstrate a good knowledge of teachers’ strengths and areas for development.

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

A review of curriculum is planned. This should provide clearer direction for teachers and help to:

  • establish expectations for effective teaching to promote consistent practice across the school
  • strengthen aspects of cultural responsiveness and connections to the local context
  • ensure the curriculum supports student agency and is responsive to students’ interests, strengths and needs.

A deliberate focus on addressing disparity in achievement for Māori and Pacific is required. This should be informed by a strategic approach to development in consultation with families. It should also be supported by:

  • a clear focus on acceleration through improved target-setting and aligned processes
  • better monitoring of students’ learning and progress
  • analysis and review of outcomes of deliberate teacher actions and targeted programmes.

A revised appraisal process is in place. Ensuring robust implementation should promote school priorities, and better support teachers to inquire into and develop their practice.

Current use of indicators of effectiveness in board reports supports the review of strategic goals. A next step is to build schoolwide capacity in internal evaluation and use of data to better identify effectiveness of actions in promoting positive 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

Appraisal audit

The endorsement process for renewing and issuing of practising teacher certificates was not sufficiently robust to meet Education Council requirements.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to policy review and appraisal.

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

  1. maintain an ongoing programme of self review of policies and procedures
    [NAG 2b]

  1. ensure the appraisal process for teachers is robustly implemented.
    [NAG 3; s 77a State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a collaborative leadership team with a shared vision that is strategically leading change

  • inclusive practices that support student participation and a sense of belonging

  • improvement-focused trustees who demonstrate understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Next steps

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

  • improving equity of achievement for groups of learners at risk

  • continued development of a curriculum to better respond to students’ interests, culture, language and identities

  • use of data for evaluation to improve outcomes for learners.

  • targeted planning to accelerate learning [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]

  • internal evaluation processes and practices

[The school has requested ERO to provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

7 May 2018

About the school


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 51% Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%
Pākehā 69%
Pacific 5%
Asian 6%
Other ethnic groups 2%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

7 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015
Education Review November 2011
Education Review February 2008


1 Context

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

Fergusson Intermediate School is located in Upper Hutt. Students from a range of ethnic backgrounds attend. Of the 405 students, 22% identify as Māori and 7% as Pacific. The roll has continued to increase in recent years. Significant property development has occurred since the November 2011 ERO report. The environment promotes 21st Century learning. A planned and well-considered approach has been taken for the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ initiative to increase the use of technology in teaching and learning.

Since the previous ERO review, two new deputy principals were appointed to undertake specific roles and responsibilities. Five new trustees were elected in 2013. The school’s core values are recognised and understood throughout the school as the guiding framework for learning and behaviour. Respect for others is highly evident and contributes to an inclusive community of learners.

2 Learning

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

The school uses a wide range of assessment information to make positive changes for students' learning. Senior leaders use an appropriate range of data to set annual student achievement targets, plan professional learning and development and identify future directions.

Improved moderation practices, across classrooms and with other schools, support the reliability of overall teacher judgements. The school continues to strengthen its use of National Standards data to further promote outcomes for students.

Trustees receive useful beginning, mid and end-of-year reports about student progress and achievement. Data reported to the board in July 2014 shows many students were tracking towards at or above, in relation to the National Standards, in reading and mathematics. The school acknowledges the need to address underachievement of many students in writing.

School reported assessment data shows that overall, Māori students are progressing well. Senior leaders set annual improvement targets to support the raising of Māori student achievement.

Teachers use student achievement data to inform teaching and learning programmes. Also, this information is used to assist students to develop clarity about their learning and identify their next steps. Ongoing reflection on teaching and learning programmes helps teachers cater for students’ immediate and changing needs. A model to support teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice is developing. Continuing to strengthen this process should increase the rate of progress and achievement of targeted students.

Robust systems and processes are in place to identify students who require extra support and extension. Students are placed in programmes appropriate to their needs. Their progress is tracked and monitored. The inclusion of students with special educational needs is well managed and responsive to individuals and their families. These students learn alongside their peers and participate fully in school life. Their transition to and out of school is carefully planned and supported by positive relationships with students and their parents, and with neighbouring schools and external agencies.

Parents receive useful information about their children's progress and achievement in relation to National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. Students’ next learning steps and strategies for parents and whānau to extend learning at home are shared and discussed at regular parent-teacher meetings.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes success for many students. Curriculum review assists teachers to identify how they can better support those students who are not making sufficient, accelerated progress.

Teaching and learning programmes are underpinned by The New Zealand Curriculum principles, values and key competencies. There is a strong focus on supporting students to be 21st Century learners. Increased use of technology enhances teaching and learning.

Students have opportunities to participate in a wide range of learning in and outside the classroom and these include cultural, sporting and academic experiences. Many second-language options are available. Annual curriculum review ensures learning topics reflect current national and international events.

Staff have participated in a considerable amount of professional learning and development focused on raising student achievement in mathematics. As a result, useful strategies to support students’ progress and achievement have been developed. Teachers continue to transfer these effective teaching strategies to reading and writing.

Pacific language, culture and identity are promoted through the school’s Pasifika group and within learning programmes. Support is provided through Pacific parent involvement in the whānau group and representation on the board of trustees. National Standards data shows that most Pacific students are not achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics. Trustees, senior leaders and teachers are continuing to develop strategies to support and raise the achievement of these learners.

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

The school has initiatives that positively support Māori learners, such as extension te reo Māori classes and Māori context in curriculum design. Kapa haka is a strength within the school and students and their whānau attend a noho marae each year. Staff are building their use and knowledge of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. The school identifies, and ERO's evaluation confirms, the need to continue to strengthen teachers’ cultural competence across the school. Use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners should support this development.

The school is developing working relationships with whānau. A wide range of useful information is shared each term at well-attended whānau hui. Whānau are supported to contribute to decision making. A homework centre and focused information evenings have been established as a response to whānau feedback.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Fergusson Intermediate School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Senior leaders have complementary skills and actively work towards achieving the school’s vision and goals.

Trustees know their governance roles and responsibilities well. New members have undertaken training to support their knowledge and understanding. They use information to good effect, making decisions focused on improving student outcomes.

Senior leaders support staff by providing opportunities to take on leadership initiatives within the school. The recently reviewed appraisal process provides a useful framework to develop consistency of effective teaching and guide self-reflection. Schoolwide direction clearly focuses on meeting the diverse needs of students. Teachers work with each other, share ideas and reflect on their teaching practices. Good strategies and practices are focused on promoting and responding to student wellbeing.

Senior leaders, trustees and teachers demonstrate a clear understanding of the importance of forming partnerships with parents, whānau and the wider community. They make positive connections, share successes and seek ideas and opinions to ensure that their decision-making is in the best interests of students. The ‘Meeting Challenges’ programme continues to operate for students at risk of disengaging with education. It provides support for students and families and promotes a sense of belonging.

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.


Fergusson Intermediate School is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. There is a strong focus on supporting students to be 21st Century learners. Positive connections are made with parents and whānau to ensure school decision-making is in the best interests of students. School leaders continue to review the curriculum and strengthen teaching practices to improve the acceleration of progress and achievement of all students.

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

Joyce Gebbie 

National Manager Review Services Central Region

12 February 2015

Image removed.

About the School


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

12 February 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

December 2008

February 2006