Westmount School - 17/10/2017

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Westmount 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.

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 —

a)has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and

b)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

c)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

d)has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school; and

e)has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents; and

f)has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F; and

g)has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

Westmount School was established as an independent school by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in 2003. It consists of 11 campuses across New Zealand. Senior managers and trust members, human resources, property and finance specialists work from the head office which is located in Onehunga, Auckland.

The school is governed by the Westmount Educational Trust Board and a national leadership team. It is led by a principal team comprised of three regional principals, two associate principals and a teacher academy director. The principal team works collaboratively with the national leadership team that oversees the daily operation of the school. It is part of the OneSchool Global Organisation.

This is ERO’s first report of Westmount School as a OneSchool organisation. Previously, each campus was semi-autonomous and ERO reviewed them independently. The school is now centralised as a single entity.

For this review, ERO interviewed local and national trust representatives and senior managers. Key documentation was scrutinised related to property, health and safety, curriculum, student achievement, and personnel management. Confirmation of education provision is supported by on-site visits to two campuses and ERO reports from six recent campus reviews.

The school’s managers have attested that they comply with the provisions of section 35G of the Education Act 1989 in respect to their being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

2 Criteria for Registration

Suitable premises and equipment

The premises and equipment are suitable.

Each community trust owns its campus property which is leased to Westmount School.

Some campuses have recently been rebuilt or redeveloped. Others are in the process of being relocated with new, modern buildings designed for innovative learning and teaching. The new buildings are resourced with appropriate equipment to meet students’ needs.

Within each campus positive learning environments enable independent and collaborative work. Specialist rooms and equipment are available. Large gymnasiums are assets not only for accommodating a wide range of sports, but also as auditoriums for assemblies and prize giving. Spacious grounds are well used by students.

Regular audits and sound record keeping provide assurance to trustees of workplace safety for students and staff.

The school is well equipped, especially in relation to the provision of digital technology. Good use is made of video conferencing so that classes can be run nationally and cater for diverse curriculum areas.

Suitable curriculum

Westmount provides students with a suitable curriculum.

The junior curriculum is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and guided by a strong faith-based ethos and values. Literacy and numeracy are priorities. Some subjects are integrated to provide a more meaningful context for learning.

Teachers of junior classes use Westmount’s Learning Progressions and standardised tests to inform their overall teacher judgements about students’ achievement. They work closely together to moderate student work. Students achieve very well.

Students at risk of not achieving in relation to the Progressions are very well supported and, in some cases, have individually designed programmes to help them meet expectations.

All senior students participate in the National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEAs). A good range of appropriate credits is available. The Career Advantage programme provides courses that include on-line tertiary study and offer opportunities for further study in areas of interest.

Many students successfully participate in the Enterprise New Zealand programme.

The alternative pathways programme supports students at risk of not achieving NCEA. This programme includes foundation literacy and numeracy courses and work experience.

Suitable staffing and tuition

Staffing is suitable.

All teachers are registered and have current practising certificates. Staff are well qualified with curriculum strengths to cover the learning areas. The school has an appropriate appraisal system that is consistent with Education Council expectations. Local and national professional development enables teachers to maintain and build their professional knowledge and continue to implement modern teaching approaches.

There are high expectations for every teacher and learner. Tuition standards are high. Assessment is appropriate. Results at all levels are particularly good. Many senior students are awarded endorsements of merit or excellence. Their achievement is celebrated.

Classroom tone is positive. Students understand their learning and can describe their next steps. Independent learning is evident. Students are actively engaged and interact very well.

Students benefit from the very good ratio of teachers to learners.

3 Other Obligations

Policies and procedures are current and appropriate.

The school has good systems and support for student wellbeing.

4 Conclusion

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

17 October 2017

About the School

Location

Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

472

School type

Composite (Years 3 to 13)

School roll

1612

Gender composition

Male 51%; Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

100%

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

17 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports