Motueka Rudolf Steiner School - 29/06/2017

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.

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 www.ero.govt.nz/Reviews-Process.

The criteria for registration are that the school —

a)has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and

b)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

c)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

d)has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school; and

e)has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents; and

f)has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F; and

g)has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has had several new teachers. It has also purchased land with the intention of relocating and developing a Waldorf farm school. Overall, the school has made good progress against the recommendations in the 2013 ERO report.

2 Criteria for Registration

Motueka Rudolf Steiner School is a fully registered private school that works closely with the Motueka Rudolf Steiner Kindergarten. The school and kindergarten are governed by a Trust board and each year a different teacher is designated as principal. Since the 2013 ERO review, the Trust has appointed a manager for the school and kindergarten. The manager has ensured appropriate policies and procedures are in place and regularly reviewed.

Teachers from the school and kindergarten meet regularly and work closely as a College of Teachers team. There is a formal Memorandum of Agreement with the kindergarten to provide education for six year olds enrolled at the school. This review did not include on-site visits to the kindergarten. The kindergarten was considered ‘well placed’ to provide quality education in ERO’s 2015 Education Review Report.

The school has well-considered strategic goals and strategic and annual plans to guide its development. The trust and its subcommittees have well-documented records of decisions and actions taken.

The school's managers have attested that they comply with the provisions of Section 35G of the Education Act 1989, in respect to being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

Suitable premises and equipment

The building, teaching spaces and equipment meet the criteria for suitable premises. The school is in a colonial homestead. It comprises six teaching spaces, one of which is dedicated to handicraft. Teaching and learning areas are used flexibly and creatively.

Since the last review, the school community has fully fenced the school grounds and extended the outdoor play area. This work includes a basketball court, and a sand pit for younger children. Parking for the school is now beyond the perimeter of school fences and is safer for children. The school has also reorganised and improved its storage and ease of access to library and teaching resources.

Parents are organised into task groups that take responsibility for cleaning and most maintenance work. Appropriate building and property checks take place.

Staffing

The school meets the criteria for suitable staffing. Currently there are four experienced, fully trained and registered teachers. These teachers are also Waldorf trained and very committed to the school’s approach to teaching and learning. Class sizes are small and children follow the same teacher through their schooling. This contributes to continuity of learning relationships.

Teachers work very collaboratively. They frequently talk about their children’s interests, dispositions, development, strengths and needs. Using a 'child study' approach, teachers share their observations and understandings about children and discuss how they can best support their personal development and learning.

Teachers benefit from ongoing professional learning about the Waldorf curriculum and approach to teaching and learning. Changes are needed to the appraisal system to ensure that it aligns better with the Education Council's ‘best practice’ expectations.

Curriculum for teaching, learning and assessment and suitable tuition

Children in this school benefit from a broad, deep and interesting curriculum. By the end of Year 8 they transition to high school as resourceful, confident, capable, and curious learners with strong literacy skills.

The school’s curriculum is guided by the Waldorf curriculum and Rudolf Steiner philosophy. Curriculum guidelines are detailed and include progressive learning objectives and assessment criteria. This curriculum is well implemented. Teachers plan carefully and thoughtfully evaluate how well they have supported children in their learning and development.

Curriculum strengths are its focus on the ‘whole’ child, including their spiritual, emotional, creative and intellectual growth. Teachers create a calm environment, with secure and trusting relationships that support children’s wellbeing and learning. Children are very positive about their school and their teachers. They describe the school as being like a family.

Other curriculum strengths are the strong focus on handicrafts/technology, science, visual and performing arts. Parents and specialist teachers share their knowledge and expertise to further enrich the curriculum. Parent voice is regularly sought and valued. Parents are well informed about the school’s curriculum and their children’s learning and development.

The school needs to extend its curriculum guidelines to better reflect what is unique about Motueka Rudolf Steiner School’s curriculum (such as the value it places on the local environment and Māori culture to enrich children’s learning). Guidelines should also make clear the school’s aspirations and expectations as a farm school.

Reports to and discussions at Trust level need a greater focus on children’s learning. In particular, school leaders should provide information about older children’s achievement in literacy and mathematics to assure the Trust about children’s readiness for high school. Some aspects of health, wellbeing and safety (such as property checks and attendance) should be regularly included in reports.

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.

4 Other Matters

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review, there were no international students attending the school.

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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

29 June 2017

About the School

Location

Motueka

Ministry of Education profile number

1654

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

65

Number of international students

0

Gender composition

Girls: 40 Boys: 25

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
German
Other European
Australian
Japanese
American

2
53
3
3
2
1
1

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

29 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Private School Review
Private School Review
Private School Review

February 2013
October 2009
July 2006