Waikato Waldorf School ( Rudolf Steiner) - 28/05/2018

School Context

Waikato Waldorf School (Rudolf Steiner) is an integrated composite school located in the north eastern suburbs of Hamilton. It currently provides education up to Year 9. Of the 178 students on the roll, 12% identify as Māori and others are from a range of cultural backgrounds.

The school’s board includes elected parent representatives and proprietors who represent The Rudolf Steiner Schools Waikato Trust (RSSWT). School premises are owned by the RSSWT, which is also responsible for ensuring that the curriculum maintains its special Waldorf Curriculum character. In 2016, a ‘governance group’ was formed to foster closer relationships between the board and the RSSWT. The ‘college of the community” is a forum for representatives of parents and the community, which also meets to sustain the school’s special character. The Waldorf curriculum is formally aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum.

Student learning is underpinned by the school’s special character, which is based on the educational principles of Rudolf Steiner and supports emotional, physical and cognitive development. This incorporates education of the head, heart and hands: thinking, feeling and willing. The school’s charter states that it values goodness, beauty, truth and reverence.

Since the 2015 ERO review, a new principal has been appointed and there have been board and staff changes. Teachers have engaged in whole-school professional development in mathematics, Waldorf education and bullying prevention.

The school is a member of Te Pae Here North-East Hamilton Community of Learning l Kāhui Ako.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing, mathematics and special education.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school achieves equitable and excellent outcomes for the majority of students. However, disparity remains for groups of Māori and boys. Māori students achieve at similar levels to non-Māori in mathematics and writing. However, there is significant disparity for Māori students in reading. Some Māori students who are at risk of underachieving have additional needs that delay their learning.

School-wide achievement information for 2017 shows that girls achieve at slightly higher levels in reading and mathematics and significantly higher levels than boys in writing.

Children with additional learning needs are well monitored and making progress towards achieving individual goals.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

School-wide student achievement information shows that small numbers of at-risk Māori and other students made accelerated progress in 2017.School targets for 2018 indicate a more specific and deliberate focus on accelerating achievement for Māori and other students who are at risk of underachieving.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school’s curriculum is responsive and inclusive for the majority of students. It is underpinned by the school’s special character, which promotes a holistic approach to learning and wellbeing. A wide range of meaningful learning experiences includes a strong focus on art, music, movement, regular integration of practical activities, environmental and outdoor education, and performance opportunities. There is a sequential approach to teaching te reo Māori including Māori perspectives within learning contexts. Culturally responsive practices are evident throughout the school.

A strengths-based approach to learning and development is well embedded across the school. Teachers know students and their families very well. Students benefit from positive relationships with teachers and peers. Students with additional needs are clearly identified and monitored. Classroom, specialist teachers and learning assistants provide a wide range of adaptive programmes, interventions and therapies to foster student wellbeing and learning.

The school’s special character promotes strong partnerships with parents and the school community. Parents are well informed about students’ learning and achievement. They are included and involved at many levels of school operation. There are regular opportunities for parent education and consultation about the school’s direction. Students and their families are able to transition smoothly from the adjacent Waldorf kindergarten to the school. Strong partnerships for learning are leading to positive learning outcomes for the majority of students.

There is a collegial, collaborative approach to implementing the school’s vision and values. Senior leaders have established a learner-centred culture of sharing and professional dialogue. Leaders and trustees are committed to maintaining the school’s special character and ensuring the wellbeing of staff and students. Trustees regularly review and discuss achievement information to inform resourcing decisions. There is an appropriate school-wide focus on targeting the accelerated progress of at-risk students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

There is a need to strengthen aspects of internal evaluation to ensure that all students who are at risk of underachieving have opportunities to accelerate their progress. Leaders and teachers should:

  • sharpen the focus on accelerating progress for all at-risk students

  • implement a more deliberate approach to students’ self-management of their learning and next learning steps according to the school’s special character

  • engage in professional development in instructional writing to address the identified needs of at-risk students.

Trustees should ensure that the school formally engages with Māori parents to gather aspirations for their children and share information about achievement trends and patterns.

3 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

  • finance

  • 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.

Provision for international students

The school is signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review, there were two international students attending the school.

Within its special character curriculum, the school provides suitable education, pastoral care and integration opportunities for these students.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a responsive curriculum that provides a holistic approach to learning and development

  • a wide range of specialist interventions that support students with additional learning needs

  • partnerships with parents and community networks that support student wellbeing and learning.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • accelerating learning for all at-risk students to achieve equitable outcomes for all groups, including Māori and boys

  • professional learning and development to build teacher capacity

  • internal evaluation for continuous improvement.

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

28 May 2018

About the school

Location

Hamilton

Ministry of Education profile number

539

School type

Composite (Years 2 to 9)

School roll

178

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
Pākehā 76%
Other European 7%
Chinese 3%
Other 2%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

28 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review March 2012
Education Review July 2009