Emmanuel Christian School - 28/05/2019

School Context

Emmanuel Christian School is a Year 1 to 10 interdenominational Christian school in Christchurch. A middle school for students in Years 7 to 10 has been in operation since 2015. The current roll of 204 students is culturally diverse, comprising students from 60 ethnicities, some of whom are English Language Learners (ELL).

This special character school states that its vision is to be a thriving bible-based learning community. The values, collectively referred to as The ECS Way, are for Excellence, Christ-like character, Service and Wisdom.

The school has three current strategic goals which cover the areas of Christian character, innovation and quality teaching, and development of the middle school. The two identified targets for 2019 are to raise students’ achievement in literacy and numeracy.

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

  • literacy and numeracy
  • special character.

Since the September 2015 ERO review, there have been significant leadership and staff changes, including a new principal and a deputy principal in charge of the middle school. Both appointments were made in 2018. A number of teaching staff have also changed. Since the last review, there have been several school property developments.

The board comprises elected trustees, a student representative and proprietors’ representatives.

Leaders and staff are active members of the Te Rōpu Whakapono o Waitaha 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?

Leaders and teachers are developing approaches to support the achievement of equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The school’s 2017 and 2018 data for Years 1 to 10 shows that:

  • most students achieve at or above the school’s expectations in reading, mathematics and science (Years 5 to 10)
  • the majority of students achieve at or above the above expectations in writing.

Girls outperform boys in reading and writing. There is little variation in the pattern of achievement for 2017 and 2018, with disparity remaining for a number of boys in writing and for some Māori students in reading and writing.

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

Information provided to ERO shows that the school is reasonably successful in accelerating progress for identified students. Achievement information is not routinely analysed to show accelerated progress across the school.

Achievement data for 2017 to 2018 shows that:

  • over 50% of students performing below and well below expectations in reading and writing made accelerated progress
  • slightly less than 50% of students performing below expectations in mathematics made accelerated progress.

There is evidence of positive shifts in progress for a number of Māori students, but these are not yet significant enough to eliminate the remaining disparity in reading and writing.

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 school’s collaboratively-developed shared vision and values provide the basis for a curriculum that is responsive to the needs of students and promotes a positive view of children as learners. The bicultural elements of the curriculum are evident across the school. Clear guidelines for teaching and learning support teachers in Years 1 to 6. The middle leader is developing similarly clear guidelines for Years 7 to 10 classes.

Teachers use a range of groupings and other teaching and learning strategies to differentiate learning and maximise support for students. ELL students are effectively supported in the classroom by the teacher, their peers and through specialist support in and out of the classroom. A range of assessments are used to identify next steps for student learning and inform teacher planning.

The school engages well with the community and members of the wider education sector. There is thoughtfulness given to building respectful communication with parents and whānau. The Kāhui Ako provides opportunities for professional collaboration between schools and supports the development of effective teaching practice within the school. Students also benefit from the learning, cultural and sporting opportunities afforded by the Kāhui Ako.

Strategic and annual planning, school priorities and class action planning are aligned. Reflective and inquiry practices are being developed to build teacher capability and better support student learning. The board is building trustee capability in relation to its stewardship role.

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

The school has worked hard to develop understandings of te ao Māori. It is important that leaders develop a formalised and strategic approach to ensure that gains made in integrating tikanga and te reo Māori, and bicultural understandings, are sustained. Capability to support success for Māori students should continue to be developed among all teachers.

Leaders need to develop systems and processes for managing data across the school. Priorities include:

  • creating a consistent, whole-school approach to collating, analysing and using data to inform targets, planning and evaluation at strategic and classroom levels
  • improving the use of analysed data to identify the rates of acceleration, the impact of interventions and effectiveness of teaching strategies, and reporting to the board
  • rationalising and strengthening assessment practices across the school to ensure that the data being gathered is routinely analysed
  • using data to create specific and measurable targets for achievement at strategic planning and classroom levels.

Internal evaluation requires further development. Given the extent of recent change within the school, it is timely to:

  • develop and implement an identified approach and framework for internal evaluation
  • build leader and teacher internal evaluation capability
  • strengthen strategic planning to include measurable goals that can be monitored and evaluated.

School leaders should ensure that all feedback about wellbeing is analysed in a timely manner to inform board decision making, actions for improvement and internal evaluation.

3 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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

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

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

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an emergent bicultural curriculum, and collaborative and adaptive teaching practices to meet the needs of students
  • inclusive practices for students from other cultures, and thoughtful interactions to engage parents in their children’s learning.

Next steps

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

  • ensuring that progress in building understandings of te ao Māori is sustained and has a clear strategic direction
  • improving understandings about the acceleration of learning and sufficient rates of learning progress for individual and groups of students
  • building robust processes for data management and use
  • developing data-based internal evaluation practice and capability at all levels of the school
  • ensuring that there is a more timely and strategic response to wellbeing issues that were previously identified in the 2018 wellbeing survey of students and their families.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to Stewardship and Curriculum.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. provide appropriate career education and guidance for all students in Year 7 and above.
    NAG 1 (f)]
  2. comply with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community.
    [Section 60B Education Act 1989]

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern Region

28 May 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special character Year 1-10 school

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 107, Boys 98

Ethnic composition

Māori 8%

NZ European/Pākeha   72%

Asian 19%

Other ethnicities 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

28 May 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review September 2015

Education Review April 2012