Rutherford School - 30/06/2017


Rutherford School has a current roll of 275 of whom 28 percent are Māori, 30 percent Pākehā and 13 percent from islands in the Pacific. The remaining children are from more than 25 diverse ethnicities. The school hosts a satellite unit for Arohanui Special school.

The board consists of mainly new trustees. They have a professional approach to their stewardship role and are proactive in expanding their knowledge. Many families and staff have longstanding and inter-generational connections with the school. A new experienced principal was appointed at the beginning of 2017. She and five leaders of learning make up the leadership team.

The school has sustained areas of strength identified in the 2014 ERO report and made some good progress in response to ERO’s recommendations. Teachers have participated in professional learning to help raise children’s achievement in writing. However, this is yet to be reflected in achievement results.

The school’s 2016 achievement information shows that about three-quarters of the children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Over the past three years there has been no significant shift in thisoverall achievement.

The school is part of the Te Atatu Community of Schools|Kāhui Ako (COL). This group of local schools includes the adjacent college.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Rutherford School’s systems and practices are partially effective in achieving equitable outcomes for all children. School leaders and teachers know which children are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. The leadership team is committed to increasing equity in outcomes for children.

School leaders have begun to share more useful, well analysed achievement information with the board. However, they are yet to develop robust processes for collating, analysing and using achievement information to plan responsive, effective programmes.

Improving outcomes for children whose learning needs acceleration is a school priority. At the time of this review, the school’s internal professional development and learning is focused on raising the capability of all teachers. The revised teacher appraisal process will support this growth, as teachers use evidence based inquiry into the effectiveness of their teaching practice.

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

Rutherford School is working towards responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school has the capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. There are useful strategies for ensuring teachers’ judgements about achievement in relation to the National Standards are robust. Involvement in the CoL will enhance these moderation practices.

School wide data from 2013 to 2016 show that children’s overall achievement has not improved significantly over time, especially in reading and writing. Pacific children’s achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has improved over the last three years and is similar to that of their peers.

Māori children are yet to experience the same level of achievement in National Standards as their peers, particularly in writing. School leaders recognise the importance of addressing this disparity so that Māori children are well supported to achieve the National Standards.

A 2017 strategic target is to improve achievement in writing. Leaders identify and monitor a group of children at risk of not achieving and use an action plan to quickly improve teachers’ capability to address inequity. Some of these children are making accelerated progress.

The school’s inclusive practices support children to achieve more equitable outcomes. Their emotional and social competence is promoted. Children who require additional learning support benefit from an inclusive curriculum. Their progress is monitored and planned interventions provide very good learning opportunities that enable these children to make good progress.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Leaders are building teachers’ professional capability and collective capacity to realise excellence and equity for all. They support teachers to use formative assessment strategies and to establish consistency and coherence across the school. Promoting purposeful, improvement focused internal evaluation is a priority for the school.

Strategic leadership is supporting organisational change. The principal is building a culture of strong relational trust, integrity and openness with the school community. She is working to build collective ownership of the school’s strategic direction.

Settled, organised learning environments support children’s learning well. Teachers use effective teaching strategies to engage learners. Some teachers’ practice increasingly personalises learning for children.Teacher aides are an integral part of the classroom programme and life of the school. They support children very well under the direction of the class teacher.

The curriculum is aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), and offers children a wide range of learning opportunities. Children’s ideas and interests are displayed in classrooms. Teachers openly share professional practice with each other as a way to support and progress the learning of all children.

Trustees and teachers are committed to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and to fostering bicultural practices. All children, including Māori, enjoy learning waiata and being involved in school tikanga. Leaders, teachers, whānau and children participate fully in school whakatau. Parents value these learning experiences for their children.

Learning leaders and teachers know the children well and demonstrate a shared responsibility for their wellbeing. The school has a focus on consistently promoting positive behaviour to support learning. The school values of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, tūrangawaeawae, ako and ‘accentuating the positive’ are interwoven throughout the school curriculum.

Learning leaders and teachers have high expectations for children to succeed. The school’s community advocates for and supports the school in a variety of ways. Parents have many opportunities to contribute to the school and to know about their children’s learning.

The board is well informed about the general progress and achievement that children make over time. They receive useful reports from school leaders about children’s engagement with the school activities and about health and safety matters.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Further developments for the school include:

  • developing a school-wide understanding about accelerated learning and addressing disparity for groups of children

  • continuing to build partnerships with whānau to support children’s learning

  • increasing opportunities for children to manage their own learning, discuss the knowledge, skills and strategies they are learning, set goals and evaluate their own success

  • strengthening strategic approaches to supporting children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

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

  • 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 required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to of the health curriculum. In order to address this the board must:

  • consult with the community at least once every two years on the delivery of the health curriculum
    Education Act 1989, s60B.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • implement systems to ensure that all policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated in relation to current legal requirements.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • implement and evaluate school-wide strategies for accelerating learning and addressing disparity
  • strengthen partnerships with whānau to support children’s learning
  • increase opportunities for children to manage their own learning.

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

30 June 2017

About the school


Te Atatu Peninsula, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

other Asian
other European


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
June 2011
May 2008