Nelson Christian Academy - 12/06/2019

School Context

Nelson Christian Academy is a state integrated school located in Stoke, Nelson. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this review, the roll was 205 students, with 16% identifying as Māori.

The overarching vision is to teach students Christian character, positive values and encourage academic excellence. This is underpinned by the FAVOUR values of: faith, aroha, valuing others, open to God’s word, understanding and respect.

In its charter, the school focuses on building leadership and teacher capability, promoting community involvement and fostering special character and student wellbeing. Annual Plan targets focus on raising achievement in writing.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • achievement for gifted and talented students
  • attendance.

Since the December 2014 ERO report, there have been a substantial number of leadership and staff changes.

The school is a member of the Te Kāhui ako o Omaio ki Tahunanui 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?

Achievement data for 2018 shows that most students achieve school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. By the end of Year 8 this is particularly evident where almost all students achieve in these subjects.

Māori student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, over time, is below that of their peers, though the level of disparity reduced in 2018. Māori achieved higher in reading than their peers in 2018.

Addressing the significant disparity for boys in writing is an ongoing priority.

Pacific student numbers are very small, and overall their achievement in literacy and mathematics is similar to their peers in the school.

Students with additional learning needs are very well supported to participate, progress and achieve in relation to appropriately developed individual education plans.

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

School data for 2018 shows that many students, including Māori, identified as priority learners make accelerated progress in reading, writing or mathematics.

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?

A responsive, localised curriculum underpinned by the school’s special Christian character effectively promotes students’ engagement in learning. A purposeful, positive and respectful environment promotes their wellbeing, sense of identity, belonging and engagement in their learning. There are many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural and leadership activities. Student voice is valued. Continuing to increase individual responsibility and choice in their learning is an identified key goal.

Leaders and teachers are well supported to grow their expertise and leadership ability through extensive professional learning and development opportunities. The newly refined teacher appraisal process is improvement-focused with individual goals aligned to school targets. It has the potential to promote teacher capability and lead to improved outcomes for students.

Sound assessment processes and practices effectively support leaders and teachers to gather robust achievement information. This informs resourcing and strategic decision making. Teachers use assessment information to recognise and respond to students’ interests and learning needs. Students at risk of not achieving are effectively identified. Newly introduced moderation practices support teachers to make dependable judgements about achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

There is a well-established culture of reflection throughout the school. It is timely to develop a shared, schoolwide approach to internal evaluation that is evidence based and uses agreed indicators of success. This should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to evaluate the impact of initiatives, programmes and interventions on student progress and achievement and better inform planning for continuous improvement.

The school is going through a time of significant change. It is important to carefully manage the pace of this change and evaluate the impact of new systems, processes and methodology, in order to identify and embed effective practices.

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 Nelson Christian Academy’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • a school curriculum that fosters students’ engagement in learning
  • systems and processes that focus on responding to individual learning and needs.

Next steps

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

  • continuing to reduce disparity for Māori students and boys in writing

  • internal evaluation to better measure impact on student outcomes and better inform planning for continuous improvement.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the appraisal of all teaching staff.

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

  1. ensure that all teachers are fully appraised annually.
    [77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure records for stand downs, suspension and exclusions, and emergency drills are complete and appropriately stored.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

12 June 2019

About the school

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

1148

School type

State Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

205

Gender composition

Girls 52%, Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 16%

NZ European/Pākehā 61%

Asian 17%

Other ethnic groups 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

12 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014

Education Review November 2011