Nelson Christian Academy - 08/12/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

The school actively promotes its special Christian character. This is most evident in the positive culture and in relationships at all levels.

The programmes and teaching practices help students to engage and achieve well.

Students learn in a positive and supportive environment. Governance and leadership practices contribute to ongoing improvement and quality of education for students.

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Nelson Christian Academy is an integrated inter-denominational Christian School. Its special character is most evident in the positive school culture, the active promotion of values and the way Christian education is integrated into its curriculum.

The school roll is growing. Students come to the school from a variety of areas within Nelson, with many students travelling to school by bus.

The school is a part of a local cluster of schools. This cluster involvement provides useful opportunities for professional support and learning for school leaders.

Recent professional development has enhanced the quality of teaching and student achievement in mathematics.

Since the school’s November 2011 ERO review, there have been significant changes in team leaders and teaching staff. These changes have supported improvements to the quality of teaching and learning.

The school has retained and built on the strengths identified at the time of the 2011 review. This applies in particular to improved student engagement in learning and the level of additional learning support provided for students with identified needs. Students benefit from greater consistency in the quality of teaching programmes and practices across the school.

2. Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school makes effective use of student information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Areas of strength

Student achievement information shows that most students make good progress in reading and mathematics. Students are achieving well to very well in these areas. Achievement in writing is a little lower. School leaders have accessed professional development in writing for 2015.

Students who received additional, focused learning support in 2014 showed accelerated progress.

The principal and teachers systematically gather a range of assessment information to support their judgements about student achievement and progress in English and mathematics.

School leaders make very good use of this information to report overall achievement trends and to establish clear annual targets. They also use this information to help provide appropriate professional development for staff.

Teachers are making increasingly effective use of student achievement information to develop their programmes, adjust groupings and to provide additional support to identified individual students. A variety of well-organised and targeted support is provided to these students. The school makes appropriate use of external expertise to promote student progress and to support staff.

Areas for review and development

School leaders should now extend the reports of student achievement and progress to include more aspects of learning that the school gives priority to.

3. Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well, and in some instances very well. It provides students with an appropriate balance of suitable learning experiences.

Areas of strength

Students learn in a positive environment. Respectful and supportive relationships help students to take risks to extend their learning. Students give and receive good peer support. Well established routines maximise the time students spend learning.

The nature of class programmes helps students to make useful links between their past and current learning, and also between curriculum areas.

Teachers make consistent use of a range of effective teaching practices that promote student learning. For instance:

  • teaching is purposeful and well paced
  • students are clear about what they are expected to learn and receive regular feedback about their learning
  • teachers make ongoing adjustments to their programmes, groupings and practices as they reflect on students’ responses and progress.

Areas for review and development

To further improve the quality of education for students, school leaders and teachers should:

  • explore further ways of supporting students to have more opportunities to lead their learning
  • clarify and better document their expectations around what counts as high quality teaching
  • extend the school’s guidelines to include all curriculum areas.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school is promoting the success of its Māori and Pacific students well. Students’ cultures are valued.

Areas of strength

Increasing numbers of Māori students are becoming involved with the school’s kapa haka group. The school’s inclusive culture supports their learning and promotes their wellbeing. Regular consultation and the good relationships that exist between teachers, parents and whānau, promote a good sense of partnership.

In 2013, Māori students achieved well in reading but not so well in mathematics and writing. Pacific students achieved as well as other students at the school and above national patterns for their peers in English and mathematics.

Areas for review and development

The board and school leaders continue to develop ways to meet parents’ aspirations, and respond to their ideas for promoting success for Māori and Pacific students.

4. Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board, principal and other school leaders have created an increasingly positive and improvement-focused school culture.

Areas of strength

The principal’s leadership is fostering ongoing school development and a cohesive leadership team. The leadership team works in ways that help teachers to feel well supported and fosters collaboration. Staff willingly reflect on their programmes and practices and respond in a positive manner to well-considered changes.

The increasing delegation of tasks among staff is helping to build more sustainable practices. In-depth appraisals result in the principal and teachers receiving useful ongoing feedback about their work.

Sound governance practices exist. The board and leaders work in partnership towards common goals. Reports to the board support trustees to make well-considered decisions. Trustees undertake ongoing training. Supportive relationships exist between the school and its community.

Areas for review and development

To further improve performance school leaders should:

  • consider ways of further refining the strategic and annual plans to increase their usefulness
  • extend the scope of ongoing self review.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees 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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

Conclusion

The school actively promotes its special Christian character. This is most evident in the positive culture and in relationships at all levels.

The programmes and teaching practices help students to engage and achieve well.

Students learn in a positive and supportive environment. Governance and leadership practices contribute to ongoing improvement and quality of education for students.

Next ERO review

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Southern Region

8 December 2014

About the School

Location

Stoke, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

1148

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

159

Gender composition

Girls 58%

Boys 42%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Pacific

70%

20%

2%

8%

Special Features

Integrated Christian School

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

8 December 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2011

June 2008

October 2005