Westmount School - Taranaki Campus - 19/01/2017

Findings

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

Westmount School, established by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in 1993, consists of 11 campuses and 12 satellites nationally.   The Westmount School National Trust governs the school and a team of three Regional Principals and Heads of Junior, Middle and Senior Schools provide professional leadership for all teaching staff nationally.  The school is part of the global One School organisation.

2 Criteria for Registration

Suitable premises and equipment

The premises and equipment are suitable.

The property is well maintained and in good condition. Teachers have created positive learning environments. Specialist rooms and equipment are available to meet the needs of Westmount students. The large gymnasium is an asset not only for accommodating a wide range of sports, but also as an auditorium for assemblies and prize giving.

Regular audits and sound record keeping assure trustees of the provision of a safe workplace for students and staff.

Students take full advantage of the spacious grounds.

The school is well equipped, especially in relation to digital technology.

ERO’s 2013 report noted that the library is small and many books needed to be culled, this has not yet been achieved. A new library space is planned and the culling of books would be useful before the shift takes place. Students access modern literature and research material through class libraries and digital technology.

Trustees have attested that the two satellite premises are suitable. Both of these are to be closed at the end of 2016. Plans for extended Hawera premises to accommodate the satellite students are at an advanced stage. 

Suitable curriculum

Westmount Taranaki Campus provides students with a suitable curriculum and tuition.

The curriculum is based on the New Zealand Curriculum. The junior classes report against Westmount’s national standards. Teachers of junior classes use standardised tests to inform their overall teacher judgements. They work closely together to moderate their assessments of student work.

Students at risk of not achieving national standards are very well supported, and in some cases have individually designed programmes to meet their pathway.

All senior students participate in the National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEA). Most senior subjects are taught via video conferencing (VC). This enables a wide range of credits to be taught by nationally selected teachers. It also gives the students an opportunity to interact with fellow Westmount students from other campuses.

There are opportunities for some senior students to be further extended by studying at tertiary level.

Parents are well informed of their child’s achievement and pathways available.

Suitable staffing and tuition

Staffing and tuition are suitable.

Students benefit from the good ratio of teachers to learners. Teachers all have current Practising Teacher Certificates and are well qualified to cover the learning areas.

Teachers have many opportunities for professional development, both for individuals and also through nationally organised conferences and programmes. The school has an appropriate appraisal procedure that is consistent with Education Council expectations. There are ongoing improvements with the implementation of the process.

Teachers have high expectations for every learner. Tuition standards are high. Assessment is appropriate. Results at all levels are very good. Many senior students are awarded endorsements of merit or excellence. Student achievement is celebrated.

Teachers in junior classes use standardised tests to inform their overall teacher judgements. There is regular testing, and teachers' moderate samples of student writing to ensure consistency.

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

Fit and proper persons

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

Better systems need to be in place for the school’s managing body to be assured that its other statutory obligations are met.

Currently policies and procedures are developed at national level and are available for campus personnel on a shared Westmount site. The expectation of the requirements for the implementation of section 18 of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 have not been well communicated. This has been addressed since the onsite phase of this ERO review.

It is recommended that the national body review communication of all policies and procedures to all campus personnel.

4 Conclusion

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

19 January 2017

About the School

Location

Hawera

Ministry of Education profile number

99262

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

135

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

100%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

19 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

February 2013

June 2009

June 2006