Westminster Christian School

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Summary

Westminster Christian School is a state integrated school that caters for 275 children from Years 1 to 8. Families attending the school come from a wide range of Christian denominations, and are diverse in ethnicity and home languages. The school’s roll is made up of 31 percent Pākehā, 50 percent Asian and small numbers of Māori and Pacific children. Children who have English as an additional language comprise 33 percent of the roll.

Since the 2014 ERO evaluation there has been continuity in the senior leadership team. A growing roll has meant an increase in teachers. The board of trustees’ special character representatives are long serving and actively involved. Recently, new parent trustees have been elected and a new chairperson has been appointed.

The leadership team continues to make progress in addressing areas for improvement identified in the 2014 ERO report. A local school curriculum has been developed and internal evaluation has been strengthened.

The school is keen to join a Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako (CoL).

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Westminster Christian School responds well to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school has many useful processes and practices in place, and the school community has high expectations for all children to succeed. Trustees and senior leaders are aware that their priority for ongoing improvement centres on internal evaluation that is focused on improved outcomes for children.

The school continues to perform highly in relation to student achievement against the National Standards. A large percentage of children achieve at the National Standard for reading, writing and mathematics. The challenge now is for leaders and teachers to support even more children to achieve above the National Standards.

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. The school has a targeted focus in 2017 on raising boys’ achievement, in order to address a small disparity.

Agreed next steps are to strengthen evaluation capacity, ensure that strategic goals are regularly reviewed, and continue to build the capacity of teachers to support children to have greater ownership of their learning.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectively to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers’ promotion of and support for children’s wellbeing impacts positively on children’s engagement, motivation and their learning.

Teachers have good knowledge of children as individuals and take collective responsibility for their success. Leaders and teachers carefully consider each child and plan individual learning pathways. Learning assistants are an integral part of the school’s teaching programmes and provide good quality support for classroom teachers and for children who are at risk of not achieving. Leaders and staff collaborate to plan the best way forward for children with additional learning needs.

Teachers use a wide range of standardised and formative assessments to inform their overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. As the school itself has identified, it would be useful to establish regular, formalised times for moderation within teams and across the whole staff. The school is yet to moderate teacher assessments with other schools.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has effective processes that enable the achievement of equity and excellence for children.

The school’s special character and Christian values inform themes and concepts for learning and underpin the curriculum. Staff model respectful relationships. Children experience faith in action through authentic charitable actions and events.

The curriculum is made meaningful and responsive through wide consultation with students, parents and community. Teachers use a variety of approaches for curriculum delivery, and learning experiences are relevant for children. Children proudly share their successes with their families.

Digital technologies are developing well in the school to support children’s learning. Some teachers are enhancing children’s learning by personalising their learning pathways. The school is exploring ways to more consistently support and develop these innovative teaching approaches across the school.

The school is in a good position for teachers and children to continue exploring and embedding the concept of children leading their own learning. Teachers could now establish shared beliefs and structures to help them develop this teaching and learning approach to support children as they move through the school.

The school prioritises provision for children with additional learning needs. A team of capable support staff, coordinated by a senior leader, responds effectively to children’s diverse learning needs. Strong relationships with external agencies provide a comprehensive support network for children at risk of not achieving.

The school’s well developed partnership with parents helps to ensure that children’s learning remains focused on faith-based values and key competencies. Through this partnership parents are able to support their children in their faith and in the school’s curriculum focus. A good mix of informal and formal reporting keeps parents in touch with their children’s wellbeing and progress.

The board of trustees receives reports in relation to school operations, student achievement, personnel and the special character. More frequent and varied information about children’s achievement would help trustees’ resourcing decisions.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The school has many processes and interventions in place to raise children’s achievement.

Trustees and senior leaders are aware that their priority for ongoing improvement centres on the implementation of useful internal evaluation procedures. The school’s key next step is to deepen the evaluation process with a focus on improved outcomes for all learners. Leaders should focus more on developing shared understandings about the quality of outcomes for children, and strengthen the evaluation process to elicit a greater level of improvement.

School leaders have identified the benefits of working with teachers to identify successful strategies for accelerating children’s learning and embedding improved teaching practices. More systematic moderation of teachers’ judgements in relation to the National Standards and deepening inquiry into the effectiveness of teaching practices would contribute to more focused improvement.

Leaders and teachers should continue to develop effective teaching strategies that encourage students to be self-directed learners who take increasing ownership of their own learning. The school plans to review the curriculum to promote key competencies and learning skills through an inquiry process. Further development of the curriculum will give greater guidance for future-focused learning approaches.

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

  • 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 a 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 the review there were three international students attending the school.

ERO’s audit of the school’s implementation of the Code is built on schools’ internal review of their international student programme. It includes the school’s overall approach to international students, their pastoral care, the education programme provided and the students’ academic progress, achievement and social integration.

ERO’s audit of the school’s implementation of the Code identified that good teaching practices are in place and outcomes for students are positive. The school’s internal evaluation of systems and programmes for international students would be improved by greater vigilance in completing required documentation.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all children. However, disparity in achievement for some children remains.

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need to develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of children’s learning and achievement.
  • need to build teacher capability to accelerate children’s learning and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate learning for children
  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and children’s progress
  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

The school has requested that ERO provide them with an internal evaluation workshop.

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

30 June 2017

About the school 

Location

Glenfield, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

344

School type

State Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

275

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

 

Pākehā
Māori
Chinese
Korean
Indian
Filipino
other European
other Asian
others

31%
1%
22%
13%
7%
5%
8%
5%
8%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

30 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2014
February 2011
October 2007

 

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Westminster Christian School, on Auckland’s North Shore, is a state-integrated school. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll continues to grow and is increasingly multicultural. Chinese and Korean students make up one third of the roll.

The emphasis placed on the school’s Christian character and values promotes a unified approach and respectful tone that enables teachers and students to focus on learning. Students who spoke with ERO said that they valued their religious education studies and the opportunities for learning these studies provided.

The school has a long-serving team of professional leaders, teachers and support staff. They work together to develop students as self-directed independent learners through the school’s curriculum. Teachers have had professional development in the National Standards, accelerating student learning in maths, supporting English language learners, and inquiry learning processes.

The school’s community is very supportive of the school. The board of trustees make informed and responsible decisions to enhance student learning.

The 2011 ERO report acknowledged the positive tone of the school and the high quality learning environment it provided for students. It also noted the senior leadership team’s focus on continuous school improvement. The leadership team has made progress in addressing some of the areas for development identified in ERO’s 2011 report, particularly those relating to increasing opportunities for students to develop as self-directed learners. Work has also been undertaken to develop a more integrated curriculum, with an increased focus on the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Student achievement information is used well to make positive changes to student engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers use suitable assessments to determine student achievement levels. Trustees and school leaders use achievement data to set school priorities, to identify professional learning and development focus areas, and to make resourcing decisions. Teachers use achievement data to plan for the different abilities of students.

School leaders and teachers are responsive to students’ learning needs. They discuss achievement information and have begun to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching approaches. Senior leaders have identified the need for teachers to continue to monitor and evaluate achievement information and to explore more innovative approaches for accelerating students’ progress.

Senior leaders collate and analyse achievement information in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This information shows that most students progress and achieve well. Senior leaders are now refining their charter targets to ensure they are relevant and focused on improvement for all learners.

The school has a large number of English as second language learners. Professional learning and development has supported specialist teachers to use the English Language Learning Progressions (ELLPS) to identify progress for these students and to help them be successful learners in daily classroom programmes.

Students are well engaged in and focused on learning. Classroom environments reflect students’ learning and their achievements. Teachers work actively to increase students’ ownership of their learning. Students report that teachers give them positive feedback and tell them what to do next to improve. This is helping students to talk confidently and knowledgeably about their learning, and they are beginning to reflect on their own progress and to set goals for themselves.

Senior leaders acknowledge that students would now benefit from having written feedback that includes more specific comment about their learning and achievement and how these could be further improved. This knowledge would support students to set more focused and achievable goals for their own learning.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It reflects The New Zealand Curriculum, community expectations and gives value to the special character of the school. Teachers provide good quality teaching programmes. They establish clear expectations and plan class programmes to support students’ learning.

The curriculum has a focus on developing learners who take responsibility for themselves, interpret and critique the world around them, and are equipped for ongoing learning. It provides opportunities for students to become confident and articulate about their learning. They often work collaboratively or independently and engage in a variety of meaningful tasks.

The curriculum has a clear emphasis on literacy, numeracy and promoting thinking. An integrated inquiry approach is being developed for social sciences, science and technology. Alongside this, students have opportunities for involvement in the performing arts, and sporting and extension activities. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are beginning to extend teaching and learning.

Senior leaders have identified the importance of deepening students’ thinking skills and strategies. ERO and senior leaders also identified priorities for further developing the school’s curriculum. These include continuing to focus on inquiry learning and considering how to increase opportunities for students to work as self-directed learners. Senior leaders also agree the school should now establish a curriculum that reflects the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school had no Māori students at the time of the ERO review.

The school provides some opportunities for students to learn about Māori culture, customs and te reo Māori. The board, senior leaders, teachers and staff agree they could now explore ways to increase their awareness of bicultural practices that support Māori learners.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. It could further increase sustainability by developing the rigor of its self review.

The board is well led and provides good quality governance. Trustees are knowledgeable and bring a variety of skills and expertise to their roles. The board and senior leaders have a unity of purpose and good working relationships. Board decision making is focused on continuing to improve outcomes for students.

The senior leadership team and teachers are committed to providing well for their students. The school’s professional culture provides a foundation for teachers to perform effectively and to take on leadership responsibilities. A range of professional development opportunities helps teachers to improve their practice. New and beginning teachers are well supported and highly valued.

Students have a range of opportunities to be leaders and those who spoke to ERO value the importance of helping each other sort out their problems in the playground.

While the school has some useful self-review processes, senior leaders agree that a next step is to strengthen evaluative thinking skills across the school. This should contribute to greater depth in teachers’ programme evaluation and enrich the school’s performance management systems. The board could also consider its role in lifting the level of evaluative thinking in the school’s self review processes.

Provision for international students

Westminster Christian 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 the review there were three international students attending the school.

Westminster Christian School has well developed systems for international students. The inclusive, respectful culture, effective pastoral care provisions and good quality education provide support for the integration of international students into school life.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review processes for international students are thorough.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 February 2014

About the School

Location

Glenfield, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

344

School type

State Integrated (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

228

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Boys 56% Girls 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Korean

Filipino

Indian

British

Middle Eastern

African

Cambodian

Other European

Other Asian

Other South East Asian

Other

31%

16%

15%

5%

4%

3%

3%

2%

1%

13%

3%

3%

1%

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

20 February 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2011
October 2007
October 2004