Christian Renewal School - 19/12/2014

Findings

Christian Renewal School provides a good quality education for its students. Students benefit from the school’s Christian character and a broad curriculum that supports their learning. Ongoing school improvement is guided by strategic planning and the leadership of the principal and board.

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?

Christian Renewal School is a state integrated Christian-focused Years 1 to 13 school, operating on a church site in Morningside, Whangarei. The school serves parents who want a Christian education and supportive learning environment for their children. The growing school roll reflects the many students who transition into Years 9 to 13 from schools in the wider Northland area. Twenty percent of students identify as Māori.

The school has a stable staff. Many teachers cover a wide range of curriculum areas to cater for student interests and strengths. The principal and two associate principals form the senior management team. In 2012 the principal was absent from the school on sabbatical leave.

The proprietors continue to enlarge the school’s facilities. Although this has reduced play areas, a local park has been accessed for students’ sport and recreational activities.

Students and staff benefit from the respected leadership of the principal and the board of trustees. Strategic priorities are guiding ongoing improvements and supporting learning outcomes for students. The recent development of a priority learner’s register for the junior and senior school is beginning to promote a more effective system to cater for student’s different abilities.

Senior managers have accessed workshops to support a more effective performance management system. They acknowledge the need for establishing more effective connections with the wider educational community and to keep up to date with developments in education and new government expectations.

2 Learning

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

Most teachers use achievement information to identify broad areas of student’s strengths and needs, and to group students for instruction.

The junior school’s achievement information in relation to National Standards for Years 1 to 8 suggests students, including Māori, continue to achieve very well throughout the school, and very well compared with other local area and national achievement levels. Tightening guidelines for making Overall Teacher Judgements [OTJs] and strengthening assessment moderation should help to ensure data reliability.

Steps could be taken to improve the planning and monitoring of students who are at risk of not achieving in reading, writing and mathematics in the primary school. A more comprehensive priority learners' register could be implemented to record specific student's needs, together with possible strategies to enhance the individual student's learning.

School managers should increase expectations that all teachers use explicit strategies designed to promote achievement and success for all students in their learning. They should also provide opportunities for teachers to review the impact of these strategies on students’ progress. Deepening student’s knowledge of their achievement levels and their individual next learning steps continues to be an area of development for the school.

Student achievement overall in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) appears to be on an upward trend and many students are achieving very well. Achievement results are similar to national averages and close to those of schools with a similar profile although the very small numbers of students make such comparisons difficult. Board targets are on track to reach the Ministry of Education goal of 85 percent for NCEA Level 2, in 2017.

Senior managers recognise that Māori student achievement in NCEA Levels 1 to 3 could be improved. As achievement information data is assessed and analysed, the expectation for curriculum leaders to report on Māori student progress and achievement could be strengthened.

Senior managers know senior students as individual learners. Close ongoing tracking and monitoring of senior students highlights individual students who may be at risk of not achieving. Monitoring and adjustment processes result in some positive shifts to student progress and achievement. The achievement of students with special abilities and needs in the senior school is analysed with suggested strategies identified for class teachers. A recent Year 9 literacy project supported by the Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) resulted in significant increases in reading achievement for some of these students.

Senior managers have identified that further achievement information, other than that from standardised assessment tools, would assist teachers to make useful gains in accelerating Year 9 and 10 progress and achievement. Using the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) could help achieve this objective and improve outcomes for students at NCEA Level 1.

ERO and school managers discussed the significance of developing a ‘teaching as inquiry’ approach across the school. Reflecting on how well teaching has supported student learning would support teacher’s to better diversify teaching approaches.

3 Curriculum

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

Overall the school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning and incorporates a school vision and goals that are reflective of the special Christian character of the school. A positive learning culture results in calm and settled students who are keen and enthusiastic learners. Students have good relationships with each other and value the commitment of their teachers.

The curriculum appropriately prioritises literacy and numeracy. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are used to enhance and extend learning. Teachers provide opportunities outside the classroom to engage students in real and meaningful learning.

The curriculum is flexible and responsive to student’s interests. It is adapted to student needs, particularly in the senior school. As a result, a wide range of courses are provided for senior students inclusive of correspondence courses and those provided by external providers. Students benefit from the school’s commitment to their individual learning pathways. These pathways enable students to plan their learning and prepare for their future education, training and employment.

The provision of vertical form classes in the senior school and student participation in assemblies and school camps provides opportunities for student leadership.

ERO and school managers agree that there should be further development in curriculum design to better reflect the principles and full expectations of the New Zealand Curriculum.

As part of the school’s commitment to reflecting the unique the position of Māori culture, teachers should account for how programmes promote and encourage success for Māori, and should deepen their understanding of the boards Treaty of Waitangi policy.

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

The BOT acknowledges that promoting greater success for Māori students is a key goal of the school’s strategic planning. An annual target for 2014 is focused on the improvement for Year 1 to 8 Māori students’ achievement in writing. Progress is being made to achieve this target.

A recent staffing appointment has increased the opportunities for Māori students to learn te reo Māori in Years 1 to 6. Students in Years 7 and 8 have the opportunity to follow a te reo Māori correspondence course which is a pre-requisite for NCEA Level 1. Teachers could now begin developing their capability in providing te reo me ōna tikanga to ensure this resource is sustained.

The BOT and senior managers agree that the development of an action plan with the Māori community in response to Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017, the Ministry of Education’s goals for improving outcomes for Māori students, should increase engagement and consultation with whānau Māori.

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.

Long serving leadership by the principal and BOT chairperson provide stability and confidence in the strategic direction of the school. Planning and reporting are aligned to the school’s strategic goals. Lifting student achievement is a central focus of the principal and senior managers.

New and experienced trustees bring a variety of skills and expertise to their roles. Board training has promoted effective governance and unity of purpose between the board and management of the school. Trustees annually review their performance in governing the school and set targets for improvement.

Self review is multi-levelled, responsive, and is particularly focused on making positive changes for learners. The principal’s review and analysis of the 2012 NCEA results focused on the achievement of every individual senior student, with specific recommendations for courses and future student pathways.

Further steps in school development include:

  • continuing to build the leadership capabilities of middle managers in data analysis and evaluation
  • refining and improving performance management systems and expectations
  • investigating further community consultation and board succession planning.

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

Christian Renewal School provides a good quality education for its students. Students benefit from the school’s Christian character and a broad curriculum that supports their learning. Ongoing school improvement is guided by strategic planning and the leadership of the principal and board.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

19 December 2014

About the School

Location

Morningside, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1138

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

200

Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Filipino

Pacific

African

other

20%

59%

12%

4%

3%

2%

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

19 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

December 2011

July 2008

May 2005