Fernlea School

Education institution number:
School type:
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

25a Lees Grove, Wainuiomata, Lower Hutt

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Fernlea School - 16/08/2019

School Context

Fernlea School is located in Wainuiomata and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll of 227 students includes 36% who are Māori and 7% of Pacific heritage.

The school’s vision is ‘Learning, Achieving, Succeeding together’. The values of Tae/Can Do Attitude, Connecting/Tūhonohono, Whakaaro/Thinking and Heart/Manaaki underpin the school’s charter and curriculum.

Three strategic goals for 2019 focus on: students as engaged, active participants in their learning; investing in people; and having strong, positive relationships.

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

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

In 2017, staff worked with an external professional learning and development (PLD) facilitator to focus on teaching writing. In 2018 and 2019, the emphasis of PLD has been the development and implementation of the revised curriculum.

The school is a member of the Wainuiomata Kāhui Ako I Community of Learning.

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?

Achievement data from the end of 2018 showed that most students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics. The large majority achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading.

The percentage of students achieving well in writing increased significantly during 2018. This increase included the achievement of Māori students, Pacific students and boys.

In mathematics, the percentage of students achieving at or above curriculum expectations increased during 2018.

Overall achievement in reading was slightly lower in 2018 than in 2017. Between 2016 and 2018, girls were achieving better results than boys in reading.

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

In writing, approximately half of students identified as achieving below expectations at the start of 2018, made accelerated progress by the end of the year. In the same time period, approximately a third of target students in mathematics and reading made accelerated progress.

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 teachers have clear expectations that those students achieving below their expected curriculum level will be supported to make accelerated progress. A well-considered and clearly documented framework for raising student achievement is implemented effectively. Regular monitoring and review supports an ongoing focus on school improvement. Leaders build relational trust and effective collaboration across the school.

The newly developed curriculum is responsive to the aspirations of students and whānau. Extensive and considered consultation has informed the alignment of the school’s vision, values, goals, targets and graduate profile.

Students talk confidently about their learning and demonstrate engagement. They have a good understanding of the school values and regularly discuss them in class.

Inclusive practices for students with additional needs are clearly evident in the school environment. Students are effectively assisted to engage with the curriculum and make progress towards their learning goals. Teachers, teacher aides, and families are well supported as they work together and with external agencies to promote positive outcomes for children with additional learning needs.

A well-considered appraisal process is in place to continue to develop teacher practice. Observations of teaching and feedback affirm effective practice and inform next steps. Teachers use an appropriate framework to inquire into the effectiveness of their practice. This aligns with their appraisal goals and focuses on raising the achievement of specific groups of students.

A clearly documented governance plan provides guidance for the operation of the board. Trustees are well informed. They scrutinise the effectiveness of the school in achieving valued student outcomes linked to the school’s strategic direction.

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

Leaders have identified and ERO’s evaluation affirms that leaders and teachers need to continue to:

  • investigate effective ways of consulting and communicating with whānau

  • work on embedding cultural inclusiveness in the curriculum, including further development of the local curriculum that celebrates unique places and stories for Māori

  • focus on consultation and collaboration with community groups.

In-depth self-review and evaluation practice should be strengthened by evaluating the effectiveness of practices and initiatives in relation to success indicators. The measures of success in the new strategic plan provide a good model.

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 Fernlea 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:

  • collaborative, improvement-focused leadership
  • well-considered systems and processes for accelerating student achievement
  • a values-driven curriculum that supports students’ learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to strengthen consultation and communication with community and whanau, and cultural inclusiveness in the curriculum
  • strengthening in-depth self review and evaluation practice by evaluating the effectiveness of practices and initiatives in relation to indicators of success.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

16 August 2019

About the school


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Males 52%, Females 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 36%
NZ European/Pākehā 51%
Pacific 7%
Asian 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

16 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2016
Education Review August 2013

Fernlea School - 10/08/2016

1 Context

Fernlea School is located in Wainuiomata. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, the school has 230 students enrolled, 31% of whom are Māori and 8% Pacific.

Changes to staffing have occurred since the August 2013 ERO report. These include the appointment of a new principal in 2014, changes to senior leadership, and newly elected trustees.  

The previous ERO report concluded a one-to-two year evaluation process. The outcome of the review was that the school had made sufficient progress in improving areas identified by ERO in 2011. The school was returned to a three year review cycle. Continuing to develop evidence-based evaluation and strengthen the response to Māori learner's culture language and identity was identified for further development.  

School personnel are involved in their second year of implementing Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L). Involvement in a recently established Community of Learning is building upon established relationships developed between Fernlea School and other Wainuiomata schools.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for them to become confident, independent people who love learning and aim for personal excellence. The curriculum provides children with a range of experiences to promote their achievement and supports them to make positive decisions about their wellbeing. The school aims to achieve positive educational outcomes in reading, writing and mathematics, including improving the performance of priority learners.

The school's reported achievement information shows that many students, including Māori learners, achieved in relation to the National Standards in reading and mathematics at the end of 2015. Teachers addressed the disparity between Māori and non-Māori learners in mathematics achievement through targeted teaching in 2015.

Overall, Pacific students achieve well. Generally, girls achieve slightly better than boys in reading and mathematics and significantly higher in writing.

The school reported slightly over half of their students achieved the National Standard in writing at the end of 2015. Overall achievement results in writing had decreased from 2014. Māori learners achieved slightly lower achievement than non-Māori. In response, an achievement target has been developed focused on accelerating the achievement of Māori students and boys.

Leaders, teachers and trustees have identified the need to strengthen teacher practice and students' active participation in the learning process. In 2016, external facilitation of professional learning and development (PLD) is supporting improved teaching of writing. Increased gathering, analysis and reporting of progress information is occurring to determine the impact of PLD. Progress information, reported at the end of Term 1, 2016, shows actions undertaken by the school are leading to accelerated achievement.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has:

  • strengthened processes to identify, track and monitor students requiring their achievement to be accelerated
  • reflected school wide achievement targets in teacher appraisal goals and as part of the teaching as inquiry process
  • facilitated teachers' participation in PLD to strengthen the teaching of writing
  • increased termly gathering of student achievement, collaborative analysis and reporting in relation to progress of targeted learners
  • moderated writing assessment externally with another school and introduced the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT) in writing to strengthen the accuracy of teachers' National Standard judgements
  • introduced learning maps as a strategy to increase the student engagement in the learning process.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The principal and school leaders have initiated well-considered changes to strengthen assessment practice, and build curriculum expectations and teacher capability to achieve equitable outcomes for Māori learners. To accelerate achievement in writing, leaders and teachers have:

  • developed a Māori strategic plan which includes purposeful actions to achieve outcomes 
  • set annual achievement targets, inclusive of Māori learners, and strengthened systems to analyse and track Māori student achievement
  • provided targeted teacher development to increase teachers' responsiveness to Māori learners' culture, language and identity.

The initial outcome of these changes shows a positive impact on achievement. After term 1, 2016, approximately 20% of Maori students included in the target had their progress sufficiently accelerated to meet the National Standard in writing. Continuing to improve practice is likely to build on positive achievement results and promote increasingly greater equity for Māori students.  

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Increased tracking, monitoring and teacher capability has resulted in an improved response to the learning needs of children requiring their achievement to be accelerated. Continued implementation and evaluation of key improvement processes should further strengthen the response to students at risk of achieving poor educational outcomes. 

Well-analysed assessment information is suitably used to identify students requiring their achievement to be accelerated.

Teachers regularly share their practice and collaboratively discuss student progress and achievement. Participation in writing PLD is extending the range of strategies used by teachers to better meet individual student learning needs. Senior leaders' observational feedback to teachers usefully identifies strategies to strengthen their practice. Appraisal and teaching as inquiry are focused on improving the achievement of targeted students. 

Teachers have developed internal and external moderation practices to ensure the accuracy of their National Standards' judgements. Staff have used learning progressions in writing to more accurately determine overall teacher judgements about students' achievement. External moderation with another school has supported shared practice and clarified knowledge of expected outcomes in writing. The recent introduction of the PaCT is further strengthening the reliability and accuracy of National Standards' judgements and is likely to establish key next learning steps for teaching and learning.

Strengthening student involvement in the learning process is an ongoing priority for the school. Teachers implement deliberate strategies to encourage students' active participation in learning.

Mutukaroa is a Ministry of Education initiative implemented in 2015. Trustees have continued funding this initiative in 2016, as it has been shown to effectively build productive home-school learning partnerships and improve student achievement.  

Students identified with complex needs and significant achievement challenges receive appropriate additional learning support. Individual achievement plans identify goals specific to the needs of learners. Regular monitoring occurs to review and report on progress.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Since the previous ERO review, and following the appointment of a new principal, the school has strengthened expectations for delivery of its localised curriculum. Organisational structures and processes show improved alignment to enact the schools' vision and impact positively on achieving equity and excellence for students.  

Students learn in a positive and inclusive environment. Shared values reflect the aspirations for students shared by the staff, parents, whānau and the school community.

Response to Māori students' culture, language and identity is purposeful. Consultation with Māori whānau has informed the development of a Māori strategic plan. Achieving the actions in this plan is likely to further build capability to achieve equity and fully enact te ao Māori across the school's curriculum.

Senior leaders show a thorough knowledge of individual teachers' practice. Regular observation and feedback to teachers identifies effective practices and strategies for further development. School wide writing PLD is strengthening teaching to better address the diverse needs of learners.    

Leaders have implemented useful formats to guide teachers' inquiry into their practice. Continuing to strengthen their capability to comprehensively use this process, should increase their ability to adapt practice, and better meet student learning needs.

Teacher appraisal is robust and effective. Teachers gather a range of evidence demonstrating strategies used to promote student achievement and meet the expectations of the Practising Teacher Criteria. 

Productive educational partnerships are valued by the school. Transition to school is well planned and managed. Key relationships, established between staff, families and whānau, promote the sharing of relevant assessment information. Leaders and teachers collaborate effectively with other schools to support their shared priorities.  

The principal and senior leaders have developed a clear and purposeful structure for school leadership. Since the appointment of the principal, improved processes have been implemented to promote the school’s curriculum and achievement priorities. Developing the collective capability of leaders to plan and undertake effective evaluation should build on improvement and support sustainable practice.  

All trustees are new to the board. Succession has been well planned. A governance manual provides an overview of roles and responsibilities. Established reporting and review procedures are in place. Strategic and annual plans identify relevant goals and actions to inform resourcing priorities. Trustees are well supported by the principal and school leaders to continue governing the school in the best interests of students and their community.   

Leaders have implemented useful processes to support staff in systematically inquiring into the impact of their practice. Action plans establish key priorities focused on raising achievement and improving the school's response to meeting the diverse needs of learners. As practices become embedded, the school is well placed to strengthen the evaluation of actions undertaken to achieve equity and excellence for students.  

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:  

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The principal and senior leaders have implemented improved targeting and inquiry processes to strengthen their response to students who require their achievement accelerated.

Better use of analysed achievement information has impacted positively on addressing the disparity in mathematics between Māori and non-Māori learners in 2015.

Teaching as inquiry, appraisal, PLD and reporting systems show alignment to the schools' achievement priorities.

Continuing to strengthen the impact of these processes should support leaders, teachers and trustees to achieve the actions linked to their targets, annual plan and Māori strategic plan.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the board and school leaders continue to:

  • accelerate the achievement of students achieving below the National Standards, especially in writing
  • further develop the capability of teachers to analyse and interpret achievement information to meet the learning needs of identified students
  • strengthen the consistency of teacher practice through involvement in PLD and effective implementation of the teacher inquiry process
  • revise and document curriculum expectations for teaching and learning
  • evaluate the Māori strategic plan
  • strengthen internal evaluation. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 August 2016

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

10 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2013
June 2011
May 2008