Ashburton Christian School - 13/06/2019

School Context

Ashburton Christian School is a state integrated school with a Christian special character. It has a roll of 114 students in Years 1 to 10.

The school’s vision and valued outcomes for its students are centred on the four key concepts of: love, know, serve and impact. Its strategic aims focus on: New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, servanthood, curriculum development, broadening provision of Christian education, and sustainability. 

At the time of this review the board was in the process of establishing its achievement targets for 2019.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • some selected curriculum areas
  • achievement against student achievement targets.

Since the school opened in 2009 the roll has increased, the facilities have been developed and there have been some staff changes.

The school is in the process of seeking Ministry of Education approval to increase its roll and extend its provision of education to students in Years 11 to 13.

Leaders and teachers have engaged in professional learning to develop the school’s curriculum provision based on the key competencies in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Ashburton Christian School is a member of the Hakatere Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is making progress effectively towards achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for all of its students.

Learning information from 2018 for students attending in 2019 indicates that most are achieving at or above the school’s expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. There is equity of outcomes for boys and girls in mathematics. Boys and girls achieve similar outcomes in literacy in Years 1 to 3. Years 4 to 9 information shows boys achieving less well in literacy.

There are some differences in overall achievement for some cohorts, such as Year 3 literacy. Reporting this information to the board would support trustees’ future decision making.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those students who need this?

The school is accelerating learning for some students who need this.

It can show accelerated progress to improve outcomes for some younger students, and boys who were targeted for improvement in mathematics. Monitoring by teachers shows acceleration of progress for some students.

Broadening the way the school reports acceleration for those groups of students who need this would better enable the board to: evaluate outcomes, acknowledge its successes and inform future decision making.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The board, leaders and staff are unified in their approach to the school’s Christian philosophy and in their understanding of the school’s vision and strategic direction. Leaders establish clear and consistent expectations for teaching and learning. There is an emphasis on meeting the holistic needs of all learners as individuals. The Christian character is highly evident in the daily practices of staff and students.

Students are provided with a coherent and responsive curriculum. The key competencies are the foundation of curriculum design and are well integrated in all learning areas. Students are supported to think with depth and complexity. A broad range of learning experiences in authentic contexts contributes to student engagement and motivation, particularly in the senior school.

Students experience an increasing range of choice and leadership opportunities as they move through the school. Leaders have taken an innovative approach to providing an engaging curriculum that supports students’ strengths and interests, most notably for those in Years 7 to 10.

Caring and respectful relationships underpin teaching and learning. The school has established a welcoming and inclusive environment. Teachers know students as individuals and as learners. A strong reflective culture is embedded in school practices. Teachers’ professional discussions focus on the best ways to achieve positive outcomes for students.

Students who need extra support to achieve are quickly identified and plans put in place to meet their needs, particularly in mathematics. Equitable and excellent outcomes for students are supported by the proactive use of community resources and external expertise.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The board needs to be better assured of how well the school is achieving its valued outcomes for students. It should consider engaging in external training to better understand its roles and responsibilities in:

  • setting and regularly monitoring annual student achievement targets

  • developing a greater level of evaluation of how well the school is achieving its strategic aims and other valued outcomes for students.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

No international students were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

4 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
  • finance
  • 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.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Ashburton Christian School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • its shared beliefs and understandings of the school’s philosophy and strategic direction in the provision of teaching and learning
  • its comprehensive and in-depth provision of curriculum that enhances students’ learning
  • its caring and inclusive environment for teaching and learning and strong holistic focus on meeting every child’s needs.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • strengthening the board’s understanding of its roles and responsibilities
  • refining school self-review practices to be more evaluative
  • strengthening the quality of appraisal practices.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to police vetting of non-core workers every three years. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • obtain a Police vet of every person employed by the school every three years
    [Vulnerable Children’s Act 2014].

Since the on-site stage of the review, the school has taken steps to meet this requirement.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that the principal’s appraisal uses the current performance standards for principals.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

13 June 2019

About the school

Location

Ashburton

Ministry of Education profile number

608

School type

Composite state integrated (Years 1 to 10)

School roll

114

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 5%
NZ European/Pākehā 55%
Filipino 9%
Other ethnicities 31%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

13 June 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2015
Education Review August 2012