Diocesan School For Girls - 22/06/2015

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Diocesan School for Girls 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.

Diocesan School for Girls is a fully registered private school in Epsom, Auckland. It caters for students from Year 1 to 13. It has a roll of 1249 students, plus 49 international students.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989, requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review fully registered private schools, and to report to the Ministry of Education on whether each school continues to meet the criteria for full registration.

This review report was prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

2 Criteria for Registration

The school was founded in 1903 by Bishop Neligan, the then Anglican bishop of Auckland. In keeping with the founder’s intent, the school continues to provide high quality education for girls. The school supports girls to pursue personal excellence in their entire academic, sporting, cultural and spiritual pursuits. The school’s purpose statement “be more than you ever imagined” is fostered by the board, school leaders and staff and is highly evident in the systems and practices within the school.

The school meets the criteria to have a suitable curriculum. The curriculum offers students a dual pathway. The curriculum for Years 1 to 6 is the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate. In Years 7 to 11 the New Zealand Curriculum is taught. Students in Year 12 and 13 choose between National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and Baccalaureate Diploma qualifications. Academic success for each girl continues to be a fundamental expectation.

Since the 2010 ERO report, the curriculum has been expanded and deepened to provide a more holistic focus on the student as a successful learner, balanced with a caring focus on girls' well being. Pastoral care is woven into every aspect of the school curriculum. Fostering the understandings of a sense of care for one self, each other, and the community is very evident in the curriculum.

Programmes that teach citizenship, mindfulness and ethics are supporting the school’s intent to develop the skills young women will need to successfully navigate a changing world. The new digital design faculty effectively links to and supports learning in other curriculum areas. There are increased learning opportunities that grow students’ cultural knowledge as a response to New Zealand’s increasing diversity and preparing students to be global citizens. Girls have many leadership roles and opportunities where they can express their views to improve and influence young women's lives.

The PYP is now fully developed and well implemented in the Junior School. Class programmes recognise the young girl as a capable and confident learner, where students lead, think about, and inquire into their learning. Teachers work collaboratively within the high school faculties to find new and innovative approaches to stimulate and challenge students’ deeper cognitive engagement.

The expansion and deepening of the curriculum is resulting in continued high academic achievement across the whole school. The school is justifiably proud of girls’ academic achievement in national and international qualifications in the Senior School.

Generous staffing supports the delivery of the curriculum and the standards of tuition are high. Specialist teachers enrich learning opportunities for all students. Very good performance management systems set high expectations and effectively acknowledge staff capabilities as learners, leaders and teachers. There is an extensive range of opportunities for teachers to investigate improvement to practice that support the school’s appraisal system. Teachers take advantage of the opportunities available for academic research and sabbatical. Staff review the impact of their teaching on outcomes for students and display a strong sense of professionalism and commitment to providing high quality education. All teachers are registered with the New Zealand Teachers Council.

The board of governors ensures that students and their teachers are provided with high quality premises and equipment to support the curriculum. Since the 2010 ERO review, the board has successfully managed the completion of several new facilities. These include the building of a large underground car park, an international standard all-weather turf area for sport and recreation, new tennis and netball courts, and the purchase of properties to extend the hostel facilities. Planning stages are complete for more significant campus developments that include a performing arts centre and opening up campus access to the chapel.

The school’s high quality and extensive self-review practices ensure ongoing development and improvement. Very good use is made of external expertise in the school’s review processes. The principal shows strong leadership in responding to review outcomes and enacting the purpose statement “be more than you ever imagined”.

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

3 Other Obligations

There are good systems in place for the school’s managing body to be assured that its other statutory obligations are met. Systems for monitoring health and safety provisions are extensive and indicate a high level of commitment to student and staff welfare.

4 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The 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. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirm that the school’s self-review processes for international students are thorough. At the time of this review there were 49 international students attending the school.

Diocesan School for Girls has high quality provision for international 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’ progress and achievement is closely monitored. Comprehensive reporting systems to parents and the board are in place. Students are well integrated into the school community, with opportunities for leadership, contribution to school self review and the sharing of their cultures.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Innes House, accommodates 50 students, 4% of the school roll. It is owned by the Doris Innes House Trust and the Diocesan School for Girls board of governors. The board took over the management of the hostel from the trust in 2010. Since the 2010 ERO review the hostel premises have been extended, allowing for more girls to board. A restructuring of staffing responsible has also occurred. The hostel owners have attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

In 2014 the school’s self-review systems triggered additional refinement of hostel management and pastoral care provision practices. Although some improvements are noted, the board of governors has identified plans to restructure the hostel staffing to ensure that student management practices align with the school’s high expectations for student well being.

Conclusion

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

Dale Bailey Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 June 2015

School Statistics

Location

Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

67

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

1249

Number of international students

49

Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European

Pacific nations

other ethnicities

2%

70%

1%

27%

Special Features

School Hostel, Early Childhood Foundation Class

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

22 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

May 2010

May 2007

May 2004