Auckland International College - 15/12/2014

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Auckland International College 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.

The criteria for registration are that the school:

  1. has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school; and
  5. has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents; and
  6. has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F; and
  7. has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

The Auckland International College (AIC) is a fully registered private school for secondary students in Years 11 to 13. The college was established in 2003 and until 2012 was housed in commercial premises in Auckland’s central business area. The secular coeducational college is owned by a private company and operated by a council of directors that includes the school principal and the director of residence.

As the school roll continued to increase, and more students required accommodation, the College Council sought a larger site for the school and boarding hostel. In January 2012, AIC commenced operations in larger premises in the residential Auckland suburb of Blockhouse Bay. At the same time, the College hostel reopened in a refurbished facility in the nearby suburb of Avondale.

ERO’s 2010 review identified good provision for education and for International Students. The College continues to offer a specialised three year international education based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

2. Criteria for Registration

AIC provides a three year programme for all its students focused on the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. The formal school year begins in June to fit in with the world-wide requirements of the course. The first year (Year 11) course, that includes health and physical education, is designed to prepare students for the two year IB Diploma programme.

The stated aim of the three year programme is university preparation. The curriculum has an international focus and a strong emphasis on studying home and foreign languages. The largely academic curriculum is balanced by creative, artistic and service components that provide opportunities for students to develop social responsibilities and interests.

Student achievement at AIC in the IB qualification compares favourably with other similar schools around the world. The school aims to produces successful students who become responsible leaders in the global community. The majority of students achieve the IB Diploma, many with very high levels of achievement. Most students leave school after three years with confirmed placements in New Zealand and sought-after international universities.

AIC provides good quality documentation for parents and prospective students about the programme expectations. Regular reports ensure that parents are kept informed of students’ progress. An increasing number of domestic students are enrolling at the College. Staff are very welcoming and provide opportunities for parents to be involved in school events and functions such as the annual graduation dinner.

The courses are well planned and taught by staff trained and experienced in the IB systems and approaches. A number of staff are IB examiners and subject leaders. Teachers meet regularly and have good opportunities for professional learning and development. Senior managers agree, however, that making student centred learning expectations more explicit would improve the consistency to school-wide teaching practice.

Facilities and equipment for teaching are very good. A block of modern classrooms were built on the new site when the school moved in 2012. Students now have access to a library, computer rooms, science laboratories, study areas and an attractive outdoor area for recreation. School managers are exploring ways to improve the e-learning environment. New digital learning approaches will need ongoing teacher training and require a long-term sustainability plan.

Senior managers acknowledge the high expectations and demands of the programme. Deans at each year level work closely with students and their families. On-site university counsellors assist with students’ individual course applications. School counsellors also provide guidance and pastoral care and can assist students to access other support networks and services as needed.

The IB qualification system has a built in approach to improvement and accountability. Students are consulted about the programme and invited to evaluate the quality of teaching. Teachers are appraised and set goals that reflect the school’s annual targets. Formal reporting includes a close analysis of student progress and achievement, and a detailed review of all operating systems. The school received very positive feedback to its recent international IB audit.

A New Zealand [NZ] context is reflected in school curriculum. AIC acknowledges the Treaty of Waitangi in its policy statements, and expect teachers to use NZ contexts and resources in their planning. Senior leaders could strengthen the school’s formal commitment to biculturalism through further consultation and self review. In order for teachers to maintain a current Practicing Certificate, the principal should align teacher appraisal to the NZ Registered Teacher Criteria.

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

3. Other Obligations

There are appropriate 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

AIC 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 this review there were 166 international students attending the school, mainly from China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. A few international students reside with family caregivers, but the majority live at the school’s boarding hostel in Avondale.

The school provides a range of good services for international students. Staff responsible for admissions, orientation and pastoral care work collaboratively and are responsive to the individual needs of international students.

International students are supported to improve their English language skills in appropriately taught classes. They participate in activities outside the classroom including school camps, outings, talent quests and journalism. Many accept responsibilities for leadership, peer support, tutoring and involvement in the wider life of the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students has been completed for 2014.

To improve practice, ERO recommends that international student administrators visit the hostel and the homes of caregivers regularly to ensure accommodation arrangements for international students continue to be satisfactory.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The boarding hostel, located about five kilometres from the school, is operated by the same private company that owns the school. An appointed director with overall responsibility for the boarding hostel reports to the school Council. Informal contact occurs between the hostel and the school, with school managers occasionally visiting and dining with students.

The hostel has appropriate staff. A full time accommodation manager lives on-site, and works closely with the week day and weekend centre managers and night time supervisors. Catering and cleaning is carried out by contracted staff. There is also a social coordinator who arranges hostel events and makes community contacts for students as part of their learning programme.

There have been a number of recent changes in hostel management, including the accommodation manager. The newly appointed week day hostel manager has a suitable background in student pastoral care and guidance. She is working with staff to develop a better understanding of the duties expected of hostel services. She is also reviewing management systems and improving communication and reporting.

The hostel was previously a motel and restaurant and has commercial cooking facilities and spacious outdoor areas. Students are transported to and from the school by bus each morning and afternoon. They have supervised evening study and regular meal and recreation times. The hostel manager meets regularly with hostel student representatives and conducts student surveys to ensure that any issues can be raised confidentially.

While there are no formal complaints, students have shared concerns about heating, overcrowded bedrooms, slow internet and availability of food. The hostel manager understands these concerns and is keen to improve services. ERO has identified concerns about the management of health and safety, including the identification of hazards, cyclical maintenance, general cleanliness and the use of electrical appliances such as portable heaters.

The AIC Council should document plans for long-term maintenance and hazard management for the boarding hostel. The council should also improve gardening and cleaning arrangements and make efforts to provide a more comfortable and homely environment for students living at the hostel.

5. Conclusion

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

However, ERO recommends that the AIC Council develop plans for improving hostel operations in order to meet the requirements set out in the Ministry of Education Regulations and Guidelines for hostel premises and facilities.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

15 December 2014

About the School

Location

Blockhouse Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

473

School type

Private Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

270

Number of international students

166

Gender composition

Boys 48%

Girls 52%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Korean

Japanese

Vietnamese

Indian

Pacific

Singaporean

3%

69%

18%

3%

3%

2%

1%

1%

Special Features

School Boarding Hostel

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

15 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

March 2010

May 2007

April 2004