Motueka Rudolf Steiner School - 18/02/2013

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Motueka Rudolf Steiner School 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.

Motueka Rudolf Steiner School is fully registered. It has a close association with the Motueka Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten with which it has a Memorandum of Agreement to provide for 9 of its 63 students. The scope of ERO’s external evaluation did not include an onsite visit to the kindergarten to investigate provision for these six year olds.

2 Criteria for Registration

Motueka Rudolf Steiner School is governed by a trust board of parents and managed by a newly restructured College of Teachers (COT), which comprises teachers from both the school and kindergarten. One of the teachers, designated as a principal, acts as a representative of the COT for the Trust. Smaller groups of teachers or parents oversee delegated areas of responsibility. Each of these groups coordinates resources, seeks expertise as required, and reports to the COT. External expertise has been accessed to strengthen governance and management processes following leadership changes.

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

Suitable premises and equipment

The school is in an old colonial homestead which previously served as a community hospital. It comprises six teaching spaces that are used in a range of ways. Other rooms house resources and equipment, a small library, a kitchen area and office spaces which are shared by staff and easily accessed by parents. Ground maintenance and cleaning is undertaken by the parent community. The spacious grounds provide a range of opportunities for physical activity.

  • Teachers, trustees and the parent group are considering ways to develop the outdoor area to better respond to the needs and interests of all students. ERO supports this as an area for development.

Possibilities for relocating the school are being explored by the Trust and community.

  • Currently, the building and premises need improvement to provide a more suitable environment for students and teachers. Strengthening systems to monitor, report and review aspects of health and safety for students and staff is required. Particular attention should be given to more clearly defining safe outdoor boundaries for students.

Teachers use available spaces in creative ways to support the delivery of the curriculum. They purposefully select resources to match planned learning activities, and use a range of natural materials.

  • ERO recommends that stored equipment, resources and library facilities are reviewed to ensure they are current, well organised and easily accessible.

Staffing

The school employs four fulltime teachers and one part-time teacher for the four composite classes, which cater for between 4 to 21 students in each classroom. Qualified teachers are supported by specialist teachers to extend the curriculum. They are highly reflective and committed to improving their practice.

  • A recent review by teachers identifies strengths, progress and areas for strengthening. This should provide a useful baseline for further development.

Professional development, provided by external and internal providers, is building teachers’ practice and understanding of the Waldorf curriculum. Recent restructuring has increased opportunities for collaborative decision-making in managing the school and setting priorities. A focus on opportunities for sharing and observing others’ practice has promoted professional dialogue. Teachers are appraised through a supportive process which allows for personal reflection and collegial feedback in a range of areas. They are exploring ways to strengthen their performance management system.

Curriculum for teaching, learning and assessment and suitable tuition

The school curriculum is strongly guided by the anthroposophical approach of the Waldorf curriculum and Rudolf Steiner philosophy. Curriculum statements for each class provide a framework for the year’s learning and teaching content, linked to students’ identified developmental needs. Each day is structured to provide children with thoughtfully selected experiences to build their confidence, skills and understandings. Students are provided with regular specialised teaching in handcraft and te reo Māori.

A suitable standard of tuition is provided for students. Recent reorganisation of classes has impacted on the way the curriculum is delivered. Teachers are developing strategies to manage this effectively. They are working to develop a personalised school curriculum. This includes using the local setting and being culturally responsive to better match the needs of their students, particularly boys. ERO supports this development.

  • Links to The New Zealand Curriculum, made in school documentation, require further strengthening to effectively inform teaching and learning.

Teachers know students and their families well. Reports to parents celebrate students’ successes and milestones. They reflect a high level of knowledge about individual qualities, strengths and needs. Parents receive a range of information about the curriculum and school events throughout the year. Teachers monitor and assess learning in various ways, and nationally standardised tests are used to measure academic achievement in reading and mathematics in senior classes.

To ensure students are provided with maximum opportunities for regular instruction, ERO’s external evaluation recommends that:

  • student attendance is analysed to identify patterns and trends
  • daily, weekly and longer term timetables are reviewed.

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 Other Matters

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. At the time of this review there were three international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s systems and self-review process for monitoring the provision for international students are thorough.

5 Conclusion

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

18 February 2013

About the School

Location

Motueka

Ministry of Education profile number

1654

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll

63

Number of international students

3

Gender composition

Female 44, Male 19

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other European

48

5

10

Special Features

Private Rudolf Steiner School

Review team on site

November 2012

Date of this report

18 February 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

October 2009

July 2006