Maranatha Christian School - 10/05/2017

Summary

Maranatha Christian School is an integrated school situated in Belmont, Lower Hutt. It caters for 145 students in Years 1 to 8 and serves a diverse ethnic community.

Since the March 2014 ERO report, several staff changes have occurred, including the appointment of a new principal, associate principal, team leader and teachers. Financial difficulties resulting from a dropping roll have been largely addressed as the school has started to experience significant roll growth. A major building programme is planned to begin early in 2017.

Trustees are now in their second term. Collaboration is evident between the school proprietors, the Maranatha Foundation Board (MFB), and the school board.

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

The school is developing its approach to supporting students whose achievement requires acceleration. It has systems in place to monitor the achievement of individual students. However, it has yet to identify patterns of achievement for groups of students, and to effectively target their needs and ensure equitable learning outcomes for all.

The school reports that most students achieved well in relation to National Standards in 2016. However, the school is yet to achieve equitable outcomes for Māori and Pacific students, particularly in numbers of students achieving above the National Standards in reading and writing. Moderation practices should be improved to ensure the dependability of assessment of students’ learning.

The curriculum prioritises the Christian values and reading, writing and mathematics. However it requires further development to ensure it is sufficiently responsive to the cultural and learning needs of this community of learners.

Developing internal evaluation for evidence-based decision making and improved target setting continues to be a focus.

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in one-to-two years. 

Equity and excellence

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

In 2016 the school reported that most students, including Māori, achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. However, the school is yet to achieve equitable outcomes for Māori and Pacific students, particularly in numbers of students achieving above the National Standards in reading and writing. Disparity of achievement in mathematics is reducing over time.

The school is developing its approach to supporting students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Students at risk of not achieving are identified and targets set for some key groups. Leaders should broaden annual achievement targets to ensure all students who need acceleration are identified and have their achievement supported and monitored in ongoing and defined ways.

The school monitors the achievement of individual students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Teachers check their progress and discuss the effectiveness of the teaching strategies they use. Students requiring additional learning support are identified and their learning is planned and tracked through individual education plans.

As part of the writing professional learning and development, the school has been supported to improve the consistency of teacher judgements against the National Standards. In order to ensure the dependability of the school’s achievement information, teachers should:

  • continue to review the purpose and use of assessment tools
  • develop moderation processes in reading and mathematics.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The curriculum prioritises Christian and ‘LIFE’ values (Love, Integrity, Faith and Excellence), environmental education and the national priorities of reading, writing and mathematics. Significant work has been undertaken to improve school tone. A comprehensive approach to student management, collaboratively developed by students, teachers and school leaders has been successfully shared with the community. Students’ understanding of expectations is supported and the impact is evidenced by the children’s friendliness, respect for others and willingness to help.

Senior leaders work collaboratively to share information about teaching and learning. A positive culture to support shared responsibility for student learning is developing. Increased emphasis is being placed on identifying students who need additional support. Teachers are being encouraged to use achievement information to better identify students’ learning needs. Progress in relation to the school’s annual goals is regularly monitored by the leadership team, in consultation with teachers, and reported to trustees.

Progress has been made in developing relationships and communication with families. Comprehensive reporting of student achievement against National Standards is now in place. Consultation and communication between leaders, teachers, and the community is beginning to provide useful feedback to support decision making about school direction and long-term planning.

The school is supported by an experienced board of trustees. Their roles and responsibilities are well defined. Appropriate emphasis is given to teaching, learning and student achievement.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

Trustees, school leaders and teachers have work to do to in order to address disparity and promote equitable and excellent outcomes for students. They should:

  • focus on developing internal evaluation to assist with understanding what works, what does not and what needs to change
  • strengthen target setting and plan deliberate actions to accelerate achievement
  • support students’ transition from early childhood services through purposeful sharing of information about individual students and learning programmes
  • refine learning partnerships between the school and homes that support and focus on the learning of individual students.

Review and documentation of the school curriculum should include:

  • ensuring it is culturally responsive to this community of learners
  • increasing knowledge and understanding of te ao Maori to support the implementation of a bicultural curriculum reflecting the commitment made in the school charter
  • developing way for students to take ownership and control of their learning.

Support for teachers’ development is being strengthened and needs to be embedded. The newly revised appraisal process has the potential to support ongoing improvement to teaching. Teachers are at an early stage of inquiring into their own practice, using student achievement data as evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching strategies.

Since the on-site phase trustees and leaders have begun to strengthen key operational practices including review of policies and consultation on the strategic plan and charter. Coherent school planning should align with student achievement targets, teacher and leader appraisal and classroom practices. A continued focus on strengthening consultation with all members of the community is needed.

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. 

Appraisal audit

The appraisal process should be strengthened to include gathering of evidence to show how teachers and the principal are meeting Education Council’s requirements for the issue and renewal of their practising certificates.

Actions required

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to curriculum and community consultation. In order to address this the board must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community , develop and make known to the school’s community, policies and procedures , plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students
    [Section 60B Education Act 1989]
  • offer students in Years 7 and 8 opportunities for learning second or subsequent languages.
    [The New Zealand Curriculum]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should complete:

  • the review of policies to respond to updates of legislative requirements
  • charter consultation begun in 2017, to ensure the document represents the views of parents and whānau. 

Going forward

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

At the time of this review, this school was not well placed to provide conditions for children to achieve educational excellence, or to address in-school disparities. The main areas of concern are:

  • provision of a responsive curriculum
  • internal review, strategic planning and target setting
  • strengthening leadership and teaching.

Leaders and teachers:

  • have not yet adequately built their knowledge of the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet adequately established necessary conditions to effectively accelerate learning and achievement
  • are not well placed to achieve and sustain accelerated achievement for all children who need it.

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • developing a responsive curriculum
  • extending internal review, strategic planning and target setting
  • strengthening leadership and teaching. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

10 May 2017

About the school 

Location

Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

1179

School type

Full Primary, Years 1 - 8

School roll

145

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
Pākehā 39%
African 14%
Indian 8%
Samoan 4%
Tongan 4%
Other ethnic groups 19%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

10 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, March 2014
Education Review, February 2010
Education Review, March 2007