Hillside Primary School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Education institution number:
3935
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
39
Telephone:
Address:

24 McCaughan Street, Browns

View on map

School Context

Hillside Primary School is a rural Year 1 to 8 primary school in Central Southland. It has a roll of 37 children who learn in multilevel classrooms.

The school’s vision is to encourage innovation, promote excellence and life-long learning, and to celebrate and respect differences. To achieve its valued outcomes, the school’s strategic goals are focused on accelerating achievement and progress for all children in reading, writing and mathematics. This is supported with a school-wide approach to learning using digital technology.

Leaders and the teaching staff have been stable for a number of years. Most of the board are experienced and long-standing, with some newly-elected trustees.

The board receives reports on achievement and progress for all children in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the school’s targets. Achievement reports are also received for some other curriculum areas, including science, technology and visual arts. This includes reports on children who require additional learning support.

The principal regularly reports to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for children in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • children’s wellbeing

  • progress against school targets.

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 trends have been consistently maintained over time. 2017 end of year data shows that most children achieve well in writing. Almost all children are achieving well in reading and mathematics. Progress data shows that most children have made or sustained sufficient rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics over the last three years. School information shows that almost all children have achieved well in science, technology and the arts.

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

The school is highly successful in accelerating progress for children who need this. By the end of Year 8 the school can consistently show that greater proportions of all children achieve at or above the school’s expectations. All children who need to make progress in their learning are identified, individually planned for and are closely monitored within the class. The school makes good use of internal and external support, such as teacher aides and the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) network.

School information shows that those children who need to make accelerated achievement have made progress but not all have made enough progress to be at the expected curriculum levels yet.

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?

The school provides a number of processes and practices that are significantly contributing to highly effective school operations, student success and wellbeing. It provides an authentic and responsive, integrated curriculum where the learner is at the centre. All children are encouraged to be actively engaged and benefit from a meaningful inquiry approach to their learning. The curriculum is set in real world contexts that are relevant to the children’s lives and backgrounds. Teachers ensure that learning is thoughtfully integrated across different curriculum areas and linked to the local context and wider world. Digital technology is frequently used as a teaching and learning tool and for the sharing of learning between children, teachers and parents.

The board is highly committed to children’s learning, wellbeing and progress. Trustees significantly resource skilled teacher aides to support individual and group programmes in and out of the class. They maintain a focus on the whole child and actively promote and continue to develop networks to extend and enrich the school’s curriculum. Relationships between the board and the principal are based on a shared commitment to improving valued outcomes for all children. Trustees draw on their networks and expertise to strengthen organisational capacity and effectiveness. The principal and the board collaboratively develop and successfully pursue the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence.

The principal seeks out parents’ aspirations and encourages reciprocal learning relationships with them and their whānau and children. Parents, whānau and community are welcomed and involved in children’s learning and school activities as respectful and valued partners. The principal establishes clear expectations for all children and teachers to enact the values of the school and to support the school’s localised curriculum. The principal promotes and engages in professional learning alongside teachers which has impacted positively on learner outcomes.

Teachers clearly identify strategies and implementation approaches that result in the successful acceleration of children’s progress and achievement. Teachers work collaboratively to plan a relevant curriculum and design engaging tasks and activities. Teachers are knowledgeable about and confident with current technologies to be able to use them effectively to support effective teaching and create new opportunities to learn. Teachers know the children very well as individuals and learners. They use innovative and collaborative approaches to assessment, and each child’s progress is carefully tracked and monitored.

Internal evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building processes in the school are purposeful and focused on improvement. The school makes good use of relevant information across all year levels to promote school-wide improvement.

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

The school needs to develop indicators for reporting against its valued outcomes in relation to the school’s vision and values.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • high levels of student engagement, agency, achievement and progress

  • strong, collaborative learning partnerships with parents and the wider community

  • innovative and future-focused teaching and learning practices.

Next step

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

  • the development and use of relevant indicators for reporting against the school’s valued outcomes in relation to its vision and values.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer – Southern

Te Waipounamu – Southern

29 May 2018

About the school

Location

Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

3935

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

37

Gender composition

Female: 16

Male: 21

Ethnic composition

Māori: 1

Pākeha: 33

Other: 3

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

29 May 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: 15 June 2015

Education Review: 15 June 2010

Findings

Teachers have high expectations that students will achieve well and be successful in their learning. Student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is consistently high. Students benefit from the broad, well-balanced curriculum. The board, staff and parent community work well together. Te ao Māori is actively promoted. Investigating modern learning practices is a next step for the school.

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

1 Context

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

The experienced board, principal and teachers have provided continuity of leadership and teaching for a number of years. Trustees have prioritised low class numbers so the ratio of adults to students is high. Many parents are actively involved in the life of this small, rural school.

The values of the New Zealand curriculum are reflected in the school’s curriculum and contribute to the development of students as confident learners.

Since the previous ERO review in June 2010, the principal, board and staff have further developed self-review processes and maintained high student achievement levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

Hillside School has recently joined a new cluster of rural schools to share professional knowledge and learning.

2 Learning

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

Teachers make good use of assessments to support individual students’ engagement and achievement. Teachers’ sound knowledge of students as individuals and as learners contributes to decisions about classroom programmes. Trustees receive a range of useful achievement data in learning areas including, and beyond, reading, writing and mathematics.

Students receive ongoing useful feedback from teachers about their achievements and next learning steps. Learning is regularly shared across the school so students know achievement expectations at different levels of the school. There is good support in place for those who are at risk of not achieving.

Teachers are committed to making sure their decisions about students’ progress and achievement in literacy and mathematics are consistent. This includes exploring a new Ministry of Education assessment tool to support professional judgements in writing.

ERO has identified, and the school agrees, that some assessment practices should be reviewed, in particular:

  • reporting of National Standards progress and achievement to parents of students in Years 1 to 3
  • increasing student involvement in assessment practices
  • reporting more specifically to the board on school-wide strengths and areas for improvement to show progress over time.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum successfully promotes and supports student learning. Most students are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards. A good proportion of students are achieving above expectations in these learning areas.

Strong curriculum leadership is evident in the two multi-level classrooms. Teachers work well together to provide an effective and well-balanced curriculum. Significant strengths of the curriculum include:

  • the way key knowledge, attitudes and values are linked into all aspects of students' learning
  • a very strong literacy focus with good links between reading and writing
  • comprehensive approaches to integrating different learning areas into inquiry studies
  • a systematic approach to school-wide planning.

Teachers have high expectations that students will achieve well and be successful in their learning. The well-balanced curriculum effectively supports students’ learning and wellbeing. Students' opinions are sought and valued.

Students have relevant opportunities to learn in, and beyond the classroom. Teachers skilfully support students to think critically and creatively to solve problems for themselves. Learning styles are catered for with a balance of academic and ‘hands on’ approaches in lessons. Students have considerable opportunities to practice and embed new learning.

Students have good opportunities to grow their leadership skills. As class numbers are small, each student is encouraged to take on responsibilities and contribute to school life. The family-like atmosphere is supportive and relationships at all levels of the school are positive and respectful. Manners are valued and evident in behaviour and interactions.

Key next steps for teachers are to:

  • investigate modern learning practices where students take increasing ownership of their learning pathways
  • develop a planned approach to e-learning and digital citizenship.

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

Positive relationships with students help them to recognise and work towards meeting their potential. Māori students have good opportunities to experience and celebrate success in ways that are meaningful to the Māori culture.

A school-wide focus on building knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori is well supported by Māori whānau in their community. Weekly school-wide kapa haka develops te reo and tikanga Māori skills for students and staff. Teachers make increasing use of Ministry of Education resources, such as Ka Hikitia and Tātaiako, to help integrate Māori values into practices.

The principal and teachers consult with Māori whānau to promote te ao Māori in the curriculum. This also includes progressions of learning to develop students' understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique bicultural context. Staff and Māori whānau have identified this as an ongoing journey. ERO agrees this is a key area for continued focus.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board, principal, and staff work well together. They effectively consult with parents and respond to community views. Regular professional discussions support the shared understandings of school priorities and the development of strategic and annual planning.

Recent developments in appraisal processes provide a robust evidence-based model for teachers and the principal. This process, along with high expectations for teaching practice, encourages reflection and ongoing improvement.

The principal, board and staff have developed a consistent, formal approach to self review. Feedback from parents, students and teachers contribute to the process. Reviews are regularly used to provide information and support decision making about school operations and the curriculum.

ERO has identified, and the board agrees, that self-review practices should be further extended to include a deeper level of analysis, evaluation of the outcomes of actions taken, and their impact on students’ learning.

ERO has also identified that it is timely for the board to refine the strategic plan to better focus on key strategic priorities.

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.

Conclusion

Teachers have high expectations that students will achieve well and be successful in their learning. Student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is consistently high. Students benefit from the broad, well-balanced curriculum. The board, staff and parent community work well together. Te ao Māori is actively promoted. Investigating modern learning practices is a next step for the school.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

15 June 2015

About the School

Location

Winton, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

3935

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

32

Gender composition

Boys 17; Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

5

24

3

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

15 June 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

May 2007

May 2004