ACG Sunderland - 12/06/2014

Findings

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

ACG Sunderland is a fully registered, private co-educational school in Henderson, Auckland. It consists of a primary school for Year 1 to 6 students and a college for Year 7 to 13 students. Its first students were enrolled in 2007. The school has a roll of 246 students plus 32 international students.

The school’s managing body is the board of the Academic Colleges Group (ACG), a private company that owns several, mainly secondary, schools in Auckland and overseas.

ACG’s vision, values, policies and procedures underpin the operation of ACG Sunderland. The school is very well managed and led.

2. Criteria for Registration

The school meets the requirements for a suitable curriculum. ACG Sunderland aims to provide a quality education that prepares students to achieve at high levels, be well prepared to succeed at tertiary levels and in the world of work and leisure, and to have a lifelong love of learning. These aims reflect the vision of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The Cambridge International Primary Programme forms the basis of English, mathematics and science curricula in Years 1 to 6. Similarly in Years 7 to 10 Cambridge English, mathematics and science curricula underpin the teaching and assessment programmes. The New Zealand Curriculum provides the framework for other learning areas of the school’s curriculum for Year 1 to 10 students. Year 11 to 13 students are provided with learning programmes that enable them to achieve qualifications through Cambridge International Examinations.

As well as the academic programmes, the school’s curriculum provides numerous opportunities for students to be involved in a wide variety of extra-curricular sports and activities. Parents and students can readily access information about the school’s curriculum and learning programmes electronically, and through school publications, including regular newsletters.

Noteworthy features of the school’s curriculum delivery are the small classes that support student’s individual learning strengths and needs. Additional English language and reading support is provided for college and primary students. Senior students have flexible learning pathways to achieve their academic goals in the senior school. Tutorials and provision for independent study also support these students to achieve their academic goals.

High levels of student achievement are evident in the Cambridge assessments in Years 6 and 9 and in the Cambridge examinations for senior students. The progress and achievement of Māori and Pacific college students is monitored. Acknowledgement of student success and achievement in all aspects of school’s broad curriculum is well embedded in school culture.

The settled, purposeful, learning environment that characterises the school supports the effective delivery of the curriculum. The importance given to attendance and punctuality maximises the time for teaching and learning. Students are well behaved and hardworking. Their enjoyment of learning is especially evident in classrooms where they are actively engaged with each other, their teacher and in practical work.

The school employs registered teachers who are well qualified and have the specialist skills and expertise to meet the high standards expected of them. Their professionalism, commitment, and effectiveness are reflected in their work ethic, on-going professional development and ACG Sunderland’s pleasing academic results. Non-teaching staff are police-vetted and are an integral part of the teaching team, sharing the teachers’ commitment to supporting student learning, achievement and well-being.

The school is very well equipped for enhancing student learning. Classrooms are comfortable, attractive and well equipped. Staff and students have ready access to computers and students are able to bring their own information technology devices to support their learning. Good use of administrative technology facilitates efficient school management. The introduction and use of technology for managing teaching and learning is enabling teachers to become more efficient in their planning and resourcing of programmes.

ACG Sunderland has attractive premises. Developments since ERO’s review in 2010 include the installation of a full-sized gymnasium, provision of colourful sunshades in the playgrounds, and renovation of the science laboratories. Music now has a dedicated space for both the primary and college programmes. The renovated reception area, re-carpeted atrium and corridors reflect the value placed on providing a pleasant, respectful environment for staff and students.

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

3. Other Statutory Obligations

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

4. Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is signatory of 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 this review there were 32 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. The Cross-cultural training for staff in contact with Year 1-8 international students could be formalised. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is sufficiently thorough.

The number of international students has grown over the past three years from 8 to 32 students. The school is very responsive to the aspirations, interests and needs of these students and their parents. There is good provision of pastoral care and English language support. Students are well integrated into the school and local community. As with all students, their progress and achievement is closely monitored. Parents can access information about their child’s attendance and achievement electronically as well as through regular school reports.

5. Conclusion

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

12 June 2014

About the School

Location

Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

571

School type

Private Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

246

Number of international students

32

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Indian

British/Irish

Pacific

other

4%

60%

9%

8%

4%

4%

11%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

12 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Reviewpe

November 2010

December 2007