Whangarei Adventist Christian School - 19/02/2018

Findings

Whangarei Adventist Christian School has undergone a period of improvement. Teachers provide appropriate programmes of work. Students are well engaged, and older students are taking responsibility for aspects of their learning. The board is developing its capability to more effectively govern the school.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Whangarei Adventist Christian School is a small integrated primary school in Whangarei. It provides Adventist special character education for students in Years 1 to 8.

This is the second consecutive longitudinal ERO review process for the school. Since the 2015 ERO review, the school has experienced fluctuations in roll numbers and staffing entitlements. A new principal was appointed in December 2016.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Priorities identified for review and development during ERO’s 2015 review included strengthening:

  • professional leadership to establish high standards that are shared across the school
  • teaching practice that supports students to learn and to know about their progress
  • governance to ensure the school meets its statutory obligations.

Progress

The school has made good progress in addressing some of the areas identified for review and development. Improvements made to teaching and learning are substantial. The roll growth indicates the Adventist community’s renewed confidence in the school. Governance remains an area for development.

The principal has focused on improving the learning culture for students. Teachers now have higher expectations of children’s output in the classroom. They provide appropriate learning opportunities for children. Teachers promote student behaviour that is likely to be conducive to their learning. As a result of these good practices, children are better engaged in class programmes.

Newly introduced assessment processes have increased the accuracy of information about children’s learning, and support the overall dependability of student achievement data. Older students have a good understanding of their levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. They use this knowledge to plan for their next steps in learning. Parents receive appropriate written reports about their children’s progress and achievement.

Teachers foster independence in students. Older students manage elements of their own timetable and learning. Students explore aspects of their interests using the school’s inquiry approach. They are increasingly presenting their learning to their peers and parents to conclude a project.

Online programmes designed to support reading and mathematics learning engage students well. Teachers use informative summaries from each child’s use of these programmes to monitor and track their progress.

Key next steps

In order to continue to improve teaching practice and learning opportunities, key next steps include:

  • reviewing and documenting the school curriculum to formalise the emerging teaching practices and priorities, and to embed them school wide
  • continuing to strengthen the processes for monitoring children’s progress, and those that promote children’s understanding of their own achievement.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

The school is better placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

Effective leadership is driving school improvement. The principal has confidently prioritised and addressed many of the areas identified for improvement in the 2015 ERO report. In addition to the significant improvements to teaching and learning, aspects of management including the administration systems, record keeping and management of resources have also been improved.

The growing roll resulted in the appointment of a second teacher. This has helped teachers to extend the range of opportunities that they plan for students and to further develop the school culture.

Internal evaluation processes are not yet being used to improve school operations. As the school re-establishes as a two teacher school, it is important to develop internal evaluation processes. These processes should be developed and used at the classroom, school and governance levels to determine the effectiveness of programmes, initiatives and practices in promoting positive outcomes for students.

The board is still developing its capability to effectively govern the school. While trustees meet regularly and are committed to the school, their understanding of the extent of their governance role is still developing. They have continued to focus on reviewing policies and have had some involvement in strategic planning. It is timely for trustees to undertake training as a board to support them to effectively govern the school. 

Key next steps

In order to continue to improve the school’s performance, key next steps include:

  • establishing internal evaluation processes to determine the effectiveness of programmes, initiatives and practices in promoting positive outcomes for students
  • trustees increasing their capability to more effectively govern the school.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees 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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

4 Recommendations

Recommendations, including any to other agencies for ongoing or additional support.

ERO recommends that trustees use support from the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association to continue building their capability to more effectively govern the school.

Conclusion

Whangarei Adventist Christian School has undergone a period of improvement. Teachers provide appropriate programmes of work. Students are well engaged, and older students are taking responsibility for aspects of their learning. The board is developing its capability to more effectively govern the school. 

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

19 February 2018

About the School 

Location

Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

4154

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

29

Gender composition

Girls       17
Boys      12

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
African
other

10
10
  3
  6

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2015
September 2013
December 2010