Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School - 25/11/2013

1. Background

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

ERO reviews of private schools are significantly different in process and more limited in scope and reporting than those for state and state-integrated schools, focusing as they do on the Criteria for Registration set out in section 35C of the Education Act.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989 requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review private schools and to report to the Ministry of Education on whether each school continues to meet the criteria for registration. The schools are privately owned and the legislative requirements are significantly different to those for state and state-integrated schools. Private schools are not required to follow the National Education Goals or National Administration Guidelines.

What does apply in place of the legislation imposed upon state schools by the Education Act is the contract between the persons paying for the tuition of the child at the school – the parents – and the school authority. Those are matters between the parent and the school’s governing body. More information about ERO reviews of private schools can be found on ERO’s website www.ero.govt.nz/Reviews-Process.

The criteria for registration are that the school —

  1. has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and
  2. usually provides tuition for 9 or more students who are of or over the age of 5 years but are under the age of 16 years; and
  3. has staffing that is suitable to the age range and level of its students, the curriculum taught at the school, and the size of the school; and
  4. has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school; and
  5. has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents; and
  6. has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F; and
  7. has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

2. Criteria for Registration

Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School initially catered for students from Class 1 to 6 (the Lower School). As the school roll continued to grow, provision was made to cater for Classes 7 and 8 (the Middle School). At the end of 2012, the Upper School (Classes 9 to 12) received full registration from the Ministry of Education. The school now operates as one school, providing education for students from the age of 6 to 18 years. Of the 160 students, 11 identify as Māori.

The school is owned by Rudolf Steiner Schools’ (Titirangi) Trust. It is managed by the College of Teachers that has representatives from the on-site Kindergarten, the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. The school is led by the school administrator. Teachers in the respective schools constitute the management groups. The Trust has recently reviewed the school’s vision and mission statements. This review has resulted in the development of structures and processes to help ensure clarity and sustainability in governance, organisation and management.

The school provides suitable premises, equipment and staffing to support the delivery of the school’s curriculum. Parents are very supportive and involved in the ongoing maintenance of premises and equipment. Students of all ages enjoy the spacious, natural grounds and native bush that enhance their learning. Respectful interactions between students and staff are evident across the school.

The school’s curriculum is based on the Steiner/Waldorf philosophy, catering for children’s developmental stages over time, and preparing them for the challenges of modern society. The programme for students in Classes 1 to 8 clearly reflects the Steiner/Waldorf philosophy. Learning experiences are gradually broadened as students progress through their years at school, generally with the same teacher. The programme nurtures students’ artistic capacities. Individual student progress and achievement is well monitored and discussed with parents. The Trust is now keen for school-wide student progress and achievement to be reported to them.

The school is supporting students to meet university entrance requirements through National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Students in Classes 11 and 12 are enrolled with Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu so that they can receive correspondence learning in a broad range of subjects. Students in these classes are building skills to manage their correspondence learning in addition to the Waldorf curriculum. They use ICT to support their learning. The school is continuing to develop appropriate systems to manage a safe internet environment for learning.

Upper School developments are well supported. The management group reviews the adequacy of classrooms and learning spaces to cater for students as the roll continues to grow. Ongoing consideration is given to providing suitable Upper School premises to meet curriculum requirements. Upper School curriculum statements are being developed to more explicitly align with the educational objectives of the school’s Steiner/Waldorf curriculum. Leaders agree that provision for art and crafts, and science in this area of the school remain priorities for development. The Trust is also investigating ways to gain input from students who have left the school as one way of evaluating the effectiveness of the school curriculum.

Since ERO’s 2010 review, teachers have focused on improving self review and sharing strategies for effective teaching and learning. Regular, well documented meeting outcomes show progress in this area. ERO affirms the school’s commitment, particularly in Classes 1 to 8, to include aspects of Te Ao Māori in programmes in a natural and meaningful way. Good work is being done to build consistency and continuity in curriculum and in teaching and learning practices between the Lower/Middle Schools and the Upper School.

All teachers in the school are registered with the New Zealand’s Teachers’ Council. A programme of advice and guidance supports provisionally registered teachers. The staff performance management system is currently under review. School leaders realise that a more comprehensive, robust system will help to ensure the Trust and parents that students experience high quality teaching and learning.

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.

Actions Required

School leaders should ensure that:

  • safe storage and handling of chemicals complies with legislative requirements and is aligned with school policy[Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992; Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996]
  • all resources, including those in the woodwork and crafts area, are safely stored and managed[Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992]
  • the Secretary for Education is informed when a student is stood down.[Education Act 1989, s18]

3. Other Statutory Obligations

Appropriate systems are in place to assure the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner Trust that its statutory obligations are being met.

As first mentioned in ERO’s 2010 review, a self-review framework based on s35A of the Education Act, together with other legislation for private schools, would provide a useful system for reviewing compliance and suitability. ERO’s 2012 review identified the need for the Upper School management group to continue to align Upper School systems with school-wide policies. The Trust agrees that continued focus on of these areas would assure them that systems and practices are enhancing students’ learning.

4. Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were 17 international students attending the school, mainly from Asian countries. This is the second year that Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School has enrolled international students. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

International students’ pastoral care is well coordinated and monitored. Their academic progress is regularly reviewed. A formalised English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) programme supports their language development as needed. International students are well integrated into the school community.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough and provides good quality care for these students.

5. Conclusion

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

25 November 2013

About the School

Location

Titirangi, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1595

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

160

Number of international students

17

Gender composition

Boys 52%,

Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā  78%

Māori  7%

British 2%

Indian 2%

South African 2%

South East Asian 2%

Pacific 2%

other Asian 5%

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

25 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review November 2012

Private School Review August 2010

Private School Review August 2007