Pītau-Allenvale School

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Education institution number:
School type:
Special School
School gender:
School for pupils with intellectual impairments
Total roll:

14 A Aorangi Road, Bryndwr, Christchurch

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School Context

Allenvale School is a special school located in Christchurch. It has a roll of 145 students aged from 5 to 21 years of age, with wide-ranging needs and learning abilities. Almost all students receive Ongoing Resource Scheme funding. Teachers, teacher assistants and specialist services, including therapists, work with students using a team approach. A new principal was appointed towards the end of 2018.

The school currently has one satellite class at Westburn School in Christchurch and a double satellite class at Ashgrove School, Rangiora. In conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Allenvale has developed an off-site tertiary education unit for students aged 17 years and above, located at the Papanui Youth Development Centre, Christchurch. A relocation to a new purpose-built site is planned.

The school's vision is Ko te kura, ko te hāpori, ko tātou -Toward community inclusion. This vision is underpinned by the core values of whanaunatanga (belonging), mana motuhake (independence), atawhai (generosity) and tutukitanga (success).

The school’s valued outcomes are to develop competence in communication and cooperation, living skills, basic literacy, numeracy and information skills, wellbeing and self-management. Current targets reflect the proportion of students meeting their goals, which include a focus on fitness, key milestones and social interactions.

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

  • progress and achievement information in relation to individual students' goals and targets.

The school is a participant in the Waimairi-iri 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?

Students are well supported to achieve personal success, excellence and wellbeing. School information for 2017 shows that the majority of students, including Māori and Pacific, achieved their personal goals in relation to valued learning and wellbeing. In 2018 the number of students achieving their personal goals increased in comparison to 2017.

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

The school is achieving some success in accelerating learning for students. The school has identified a group of students not meeting expected outcomes. This group has been specifically targeted and provided with individual support. The 2018 results showed a substantial improvement of outcomes for this group.

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 participate and learn in caring, inclusive environments. There are positive relationships between staff and students. Students receive ongoing and regular support from school staff and a range of specialists. They have access to a wide variety of communication tools to support their engagement and access to learning. The school values are clearly evident in practice. They link directly to the focus on bicultural practices.

Community collaborations enrich opportunities for students to become confident, connected learners. There are well-managed transitions and continuity for students. Students enjoy increasing opportunities for engagement in the wider community. A wide variety of communication tools is used to foster home-school communication.    

Staff are engaged in professional learning and development that increases their knowledge and skills. Professional development is supported by professional learning teams and access to external expertise. The focus of this work includes culturally responsive practice and building confidence and capabilities in digital technologies. There is a range of opportunities for teachers to take on leadership roles.

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

Allenvale School is facing a number of challenges in the next few years. A new principal and a redesigned leadership structure, together with the planned relocation of the school, mean that management of change is a key priority for the board and leadership team.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that school leaders need to continue to embed the new structure and systems so that staff are effectively supported to provide positive outcomes for students. The principal is aware that change needs to be carefully managed to ensure staff are well informed and have opportunities to contribute to future directions. Trustees need to keep a close watch on staff and student wellbeing during this time. It would be timely to use anonymous, research-based surveys at regular intervals to assist with this process.

The board should strengthen its focus on the school’s valued outcomes for students. Trustees would benefit from regular, well analysed information about students’ wellbeing and how well they are engaging, progressing and achieving in all aspects of the curriculum. This information needs to include what is working well, what needs to be improved, and recommendations to the board to inform its decision making.

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. 

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Allenvale 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:

  • the inclusive and positive culture which places students at the centre of the school community
  • the focus on students’ wellbeing, engagement and transition programmes
  • the use and development of a wide range of communication tools to enhance student outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • effectively analysing data to gain information about students’ progress, achievement and wellbeing
  • improving practices to support the management of change in leadership structures and systems
  • the use of anonymous, research-based surveys to support staff and student wellbeing.

Alan Wynyard
Director Review and Improvement Services Southern
Southern Region
15 April 2019   

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special School

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 114, Girls 31

Ethnic composition

Māori                     11%

Pākehā                   67%

Pacific                      4%

Other ethnicities     18%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

15 April 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review            October 2013

Supplementary Review    November 2009

Education Review            July 2007

1 Context

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

Allenvale School in Christchurch provides high-quality learning programmes for students verified as having high or very high needs, or receiving ongoing resourcing. Students range from school age to 21 years old. The health and care needs of students are well attended to within a culture that clearly recognises that Allenvale is first and foremost a school.

Students are provided with a range of learning options and environments with classes on the school premises, a satellite class in a neighbouring school and transition classes for older students to an off-site tertiary education centre. The board is keen to continue developing satellite class options in other welcoming school environments. While students are geographically spread on different sites, they identify strongly as being part of Allenvale School.

School leadership is highly effective. The principal and board have established an open and transparent decision-making environment that is well supported by senior managers, teachers, therapists and teacher assistants. This is clearly seen in the considerable progress the school has made since the 2007 ERO review. All areas identified for review and development in the 2007 education review report have been fully addressed.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very well to promote positive learning outcomes for students.

Areas of strength

The board receives regular, detailed achievement information that clearly shows how well students are achieving against yearly targets. This useful information recognises what students are able to do and, in some cases, recognises any barriers or inconsistencies that may affect student progress so these can be addressed.

Teachers select with care from a wide range of possible assessments to match students’ diverse needs. They use these selectively to gather a wide range of appropriate information about students. This data is used effectively to acknowledge individual achievement and to plan further learning experiences. Teachers evaluate classroom programmes and consider how their teaching practices impact on student learning.

Comprehensive records are kept to show student progress over time. Useful information is passed from one teacher to another when students move classes or to a new learning situation under the school’s management.

Students observed by ERO, showed high levels of engagement in their learning in relation to their specific needs and abilities. Teachers use skills gained from professional development to explain the purpose of the learning task and affirm each step taken towards achieving this. Students learn in a school environment where effort is valued and celebrated.

Parents’ aspirations for their children are recognised and built into individual education plans (IEP) for younger students and transition plans (ITP) for older students. Learning goals are discussed and, where appropriate, students are involved in setting goals. Parents receive good information about how well their child is progressing.

Areas for review and development

The school values the goal-setting process for students and constantly seeks to refine and improve it. Further steps could include:

  • strengthening the links between individual students’ assessment documentation and planning their next steps in IEPs
  • ensuring that the students’ wishes for the future, where appropriate, remain central to all ITPs
  • more in-depth analysis of IEP and ITP data to identify any trends and patterns.

3 Curriculum

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

The school is very effective in the way it manages and develops the curriculum to meet the individual needs of students.

Areas of strength

The school has developed a comprehensive and detailed curriculum that strongly reflects the learning needs of its students. It provides teachers with expected learning content for students and detailed expectations on the best ways to teach. The school’s curriculum links well with the New Zealand Curriculum.

Teachers reflect on the school's adapted curriculum regularly and offer suggestions for improvement through well-established curriculum advisory groups. This process keeps the curriculum refreshed and well suited to the context of its learners.

The curriculum is focused on teaching and learning and includes students’ social and physical development. Students engage in many different learning opportunities and events are tailored to meet their individual needs. Fitness, to promote healthy living, is a priority.

While the curriculum provides good guidance for progressive learning, there is also an expectation that teachers will be flexible in modifying learning programmes to meet student needs. Teachers are creative in presenting similar ideas in many different ways. They look for opportunities to extend students’ learning. This can be seen, for example, in a new programme designed to assess reading comprehension skills in non-verbal readers.

Older students benefit from effective transition programmes. Students are well supported as they move into further education, meaningful community work and selected leisure activities. Those spoken with by ERO said they had developed good friendships and liked being more independent. Teachers responsible for transition are constantly improving and refining the way they support young adult learners so their experiences are more in line with their age-appropriate peers.

Teachers provide calm, purposeful learning environments where respect and student dignity is promoted and valued. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are used for learning. Students are able to use ICT to communicate and respond well to the instant visual medium that ICT provides.

Teachers are well supported in their work by capable teacher assistants, therapists and senior leaders. This approach to teamwork means student wellbeing and learning is a shared process.

Effective processes and relationships with other external agencies effectively assist students’ transition into school.

Area for review and development

School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that it is timely to continue with developing aspects of the curriculum that reflect the school's philosophy and values. While ICT is being used well, the board recognises that there is much scope available to extending this further. It has strategic plans in place and ERO agrees this is a useful direction for the school.

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

The school is increasingly effective in promoting success for Māori, as Māori.

Areas of strength

The school places high value on recognising and appreciating the Māori culture. This can be seen in:

  • staff and community members who are acknowledging their cultural heritage and offering to contribute their knowledge and skills in te reo and tikanga Māori
  • pride and confidence shown by kapa haka students who overcame their anxieties to ably perform in the 2013 Cultural Festival
  • strong leadership of the Māori Advisory Support Group which is strengthening the knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori amongst staff, students and parents
  • school-wide development in te reo and tikanga Māori for all staff including beginning staff meetings with waiata
  • the emphasis on community inclusion, and each individual student in the new carving in the school's foyer to which all students contributed under the guidance of a master carver
  • opportunities students have to engage in, and appreciate the Māori culture in classes where many teachers also integrate basic te reo Māori into everyday learning
  • specific strategic and annual targets set for Māori student achievement.

The principal has taken a strong lead in valuing the Māori culture and fostering a learning environment in which Māori students are more likely to succeed as Māori.

ERO agrees with the school focus to continue to develop teachers’ confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori and integrating this into daily programmes.

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.

Areas of strength

The board is highly committed to lifting achievement outcomes for students within a safe, inclusive learning environment. Trustees understand their governance role and bring a good range of skills to the board.

The board and principal have developed a clear understanding of the school's vision and strategic direction. There is a strong team culture and an agreed forward-thinking approach evident in board and senior managers’ conversations and documentation. This influences how they prioritise staffing allocations and resources.

The school benefits from high-quality professional leadership. The principal has established sound processes for involving staff in decision making. There are many useful processes in place to guide teaching, learning and wider school operations.

Teachers highly value the collaborative and transparent approach that is modelled effectively by the principal and senior managers. They appreciate the way their views are sought and the many opportunities they have to contribute to decisions.

Teachers also have many opportunities to take on leadership responsibilities. There is a commitment by senior managers to supporting and developing staff leadership through professional development. This is a growing area of expertise. Supporting these leaders with a clearer process for self review would strengthen their understanding of evaluative practices.

ERO suggests it would be helpful to the board to further expand on charter and strategic goals, showing how it intends to prioritise these over a three year period. This would enhance the board’s annual review process.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

23 October 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special School

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 70%

Girls 30%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnicities





Special Features

Satellite Class at Westburn Primary

Tertiary Education Unit

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

23 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

July 2007

May 2007