The Deep Green Bush School - 17/04/2018

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that The Deep Green Bush School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

1 Background

The Chief Review Officer has a statutory duty to report on the performance of private schools throughout New Zealand.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989, requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review private schools between 6 and 12 months after they have been provisionally registered, and to report to the Ministry of Education for the Secretary to consider full registration.

This ERO review follows the provisional registration of the school by the Ministry of Education in February 2017, and focuses on whether the school now meets the criteria for full registration as a private school.

2 Criteria for Registration

Deep Green Bush School is a new private school located in Clevedon, Auckland. The school opened in February 2017. It is provisionally registered to cater for children from Years 1 to 13 and currently caters for a small group of children from Years 1 to 9. Deep Green Bush School is privately owned and its establishment phase is being managed by the owner and the head teacher.

The school provides suitable premises, equipment, curriculum, staffing and tuition.

The school operates from 25 acres in the Clevedon area. It is situated in an attractive rural setting with bush and stream access, and is adjacent to farmland. The premises are suitable for this type of school, and for activities that support its educational philosophy.

The school has appropriate staffing. All staff have a shared understanding and commitment to the school’s vision. The head teacher has secondary school teaching experience and works fulltime at the school. A second teacher with primary school and early childhood education qualifications and experience has recently been appointed, and currently works in a part-time position. This new appointment is supporting the development of early literacy and numeracy. Based on current roll numbers, the owner and a parent volunteer provide additional assistance to ensure there are at least two adults on site each day. An appraisal process is in place for the head teacher. The development of an appraisal process for other staff is being considered.

The bush and natural environments are central to the learning opportunities for the children. The school has a range of outdoor and indoor equipment available for children. Staff, students and parents are continuing to contribute to increasing the range of appropriate curriculum resources. The school has a large number of books that support the school’s philosophy. Staff are expanding the scope of these, including reading material suitable for younger children. The school is developing good management systems for the use of outdoor tools and activities that could have some risk.

The owner and head teacher have developed a visionary and future-focused school curriculum. The school’s valued outcomes are "to raise young adults who will have social and emotional intelligence, confidence in practical life skills, who will be deeply connected with the Earth which sustains all life, those who will have a deep understanding of what's going on in the world, and those with the wisdom, maturity, responsibility and courage to live their lives for the benefit of all life on Earth.”

The head teacher and owner have developed comprehensive statements that support the school’s valued outcomes. These statements contain considerable background information and theorists’ ideas. A next step for the school is to further expand the practical implementation of the curriculum to enhance the learning experiences for all students and to achieve the school's valued outcomes.

Democratic processes, where children choose what they want to do, are key tenets of the school philosophy. Tuakana/teina relationships are strong and evident throughout the school day.

Recently staff have introduced an assessment system that monitors and responds to children's developing strengths and interests. This is currently being implemented with the younger students. It would be beneficial to extend this throughout the school. Staff have been trialling different approaches for reporting to parents.

The level of tuition meets the standard for suitable tuition. Play-based and child-led learning are central to the school's philosophy. Teachers are increasingly responsive to children's interests and ideas, and provide mentoring and individual and group learning opportunities. A focus on the natural world encourages children to become motivated to act for ecological causes.

Across the week, children are able to participate in various ‘councils’ designed to give them a voice in the running of the school. The councils provide opportunities for:

  • the teacher to share key ideas
  • in-depth student discussion
  • the development of literacy and numeracy skills
  • broadening the range of learning experiences.

A next step for leaders and teachers is to evaluate the effectiveness of learning and teaching approaches across the school.

The school’s managers have attested that they comply with the provisions of section 35G in respect to their being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

3 Other Obligations

External advice and support have been accessed to develop policy statements and supporting procedures. Processes for risk identification and management continue to be strengthened. School leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that a next step is to engage an external assessor to review the school's recently established health and safety systems.

4 Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that The Deep Green Bush School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

17 April 2018

About the School

Location

Papakura, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

778

School type

Private Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

11

Gender composition

Boys 7 Girls 4

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other

3
5
3

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

17 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports