Eden Christian Academy - 18/06/2014

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Eden Christian Academy 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.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989, requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review private schools between 6 and 12 months after they have been provisionally registered, and to report to the Ministry of Education for the Secretary to consider full registration.

This ERO review follows the provisional registration of the school by the Ministry of Education in 2013, and focuses on whether the school now meets the criteria for full registration as a private school.

Eden Christian Academy is a provisionally registered, private nondenominational Christian school that opened in 2013. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 13 in the northern Waikato area. There are currently 38 students on the roll.

2 Criteria for Registration

Eden Christian Academy is located in Tuakau in premises that provide generous space and attractive surroundings. Existing buildings have been refurbished with great care to provide appropriate classrooms. The property owners are represented on the school’s governance board and are committed to supporting the special character of the school.

School curriculum content is based on the Accelerated Christian Education content and is taught within the Cambridge Primary Curriculum framework. There is an emphasis on literacy and numeracy within a broad curriculum that includes science, social sciences, Bible Studies, music, art, physical education and aspects of technology. From Year 7 to 9 students work within the Cambridge Secondary 1 programme and senior students prepare for Cambridge International examinations.

Students are likely to achieve well in this environment. Small class sizes and high expectations are building a school culture where teachers have a close knowledge of each learner’s capability. Students and teachers have mutually courteous relationships that are focused on learning. The principal sees the next step as developing individual learning plans for each student.

Teachers benefit from ongoing opportunities to share their understanding of good teaching practice when classes incorporate a range of ages and abilities. The challenge for teachers is supporting students to develop independent learning and problem-solving skills. The steadily increasing school resources will enable students to undertake more hands-on learning in areas like science. Incorporating existing ICT into all classroom programmes would help students to use digital technology well. It would also be useful to seek external support to develop an appropriate collection of books to promote reading.

Twenty-six percent of the students identify as Māori. The principal and staff should now consider how adults can best support students’ cultural identity and promote success for Māori as Māori.

Students enjoy the attractive facilities of the school. The large gym, the theatre and the well landscaped grounds provide good opportunities for formal and informal learning and recreational activities. Classrooms are comfortable and great care has been taken to make the school light and clean. Students’ suggestions for how best to develop the junior playground are to form the basis for the next stage of physical development of the school.

The principal and the designated health and safety officer work effectively with the property owners to ensure that the school is well maintained and that emergency procedures have been well thought through.

The school is well staffed with teachers who support the special character, bring specialist teaching skills and are enjoying the opportunity to build a new school. With the exception of the part-time art teacher, all teachers are registered. Job descriptions are in place. The next step is to ensure that the procedure for appraising teachers is documented and shared with staff.

A particular feature of the school is the number of adult volunteers who provide administrative and teaching support. Their different contributions enable students to take part in a broader range of opportunities such as sporting and community activities that build useful leadership skills. Police vetting has been done for all adults who might be in contact with the students and a database is being maintained.

The principal’s previous experience in different types of private schools gives him a good understanding of what is needed to develop the school. His enthusiastic leadership and commitment to providing good education is helping to create a positive school culture. Strategic planning is in place to guide the long-term growth of the school. Directors have a clear understanding of their governance role and use their individual skills to good effect.

The school has developed a good framework of policies and procedures to guide school operations with a particular emphasis on providing a safe emotional and physical environment. The principal will review these policies and procedures on a regular basis as he reports to the board. The principal should also ensure that policies include a cyber-safety protocol between the school, learners and their families, and an explicit statement that there will be no corporal punishment.

The school’s managers have attested that they comply with the provision of section 35G in respect to 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 Conclusion

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

18 June 2014

About the School

Location

Tuakau, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

682

School type

Provisionally Registered Private School (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

38

Gender composition

Boys 23

Girls 15

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European Pākehā

Asian

Indian

other European

9

19

1

1

8

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

18 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports