Queen Margaret College - 21/10/2015

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Queen Margaret College 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 —

  1. has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school; and
  5. has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents; and
  6. has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F; and
  7. has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

2 Criteria for Registration

Queen Margaret College is a private Presbyterian school providing education for girls from Years 1 to 13. It also has an attached pre-school which accommodates 30 children. The College is located in Thorndon, Wellington. The school is registered as a charitable trust and is governed by the Queen Margaret College Board of Governors. It continues to meet the criteria for registration as a private school.

Curriculum and Tuition

The school curriculum is based on a combination of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes and The New Zealand Curriculum. A seamless IB framework has been developed which consists of the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the two-year IB Diploma programme. Girls sit the National Certificate of Achievement (NCEA) in Year 11 and can choose from continuing with NCEA or completing the IB Diploma in Years 12 and 13.

The curriculum is guided by a clear vision focused on promoting passionate learners, resilient women and future leaders within an inclusive Christian environment. Key learning outcomes of the IB programme, such as inquiry, communication, reflection and caring behaviours are evident throughout the school.

Girls benefit from a holistic education and a broad range of extra-curricular activities. Students enthusiastically participate in meaningful learning experiences in a range of contexts. Teachers make good use of the school’s proximity to the city. An international perspective in programmes is enriched by opportunities for overseas exchanges.

Aspects of New Zealand and Māori culture are included in the curriculum. Students' bi-cultural heritage is further promoted through recent initiatives. Ongoing consultation with students and their families is likely to assist the school to ensure that Māori learners’ identity, language and culture are appropriately promoted.

Teachers in the junior school give priority to the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skills. They use assessment well to inform their teaching and classroom organisation. Learning support is provided to students who require additional assistance. Students are identified for a range of extension programmes across the school.

The foundations for successful learning, that are established in the early years and extended throughout the middle school, contribute to a highly effective curriculum. Virtually all school leavers achieve University Entrance. Many students gain excellence and merit endorsements in NCEA. In 2014, 13 New Zealand Scholarships Awards were achieved. Since 2011, all IB Diploma candidates have gained the qualification, with many receiving high scores.

A range of teaching strategies and conditions contribute to high levels of student engagement and support students to understand, and take responsibility for, their learning. A high proportion of students are involved in the many opportunities available for leadership, performance and sporting activities. Respectful and positive interactions between teachers and students are evident.

The school’s curriculum is communicated well to parents, families and the community.

Suitable staffing

All teachers are qualified and registered. Clear guidelines and high expectations are in place to promote best practice. Students, including those in the junior school, benefit from a range of specialist teachers. Teachers are well supported by a variety of professional learning and development opportunities to improve their practice. The appointment of a lead teacher of e-learning demonstrates the school’s focus on supporting teachers to use digital technology to enhance student learning.

Since the November 2011 ERO report, changes have been made to the school’s leadership structure to support the three distinct IB programmes. Three Heads of School, under the oversight of the College Principal, manage both curriculum and pastoral care. ERO agrees with leaders' plans to continue to review and develop pastoral care and academic mentoring processes.

A sound performance management process is in place. The teacher appraisal model is focused on developing teacher capacity. Leaders appropriately seek and make improvements to the framework, in line with evolving Education Council requirements and current best practice. Teacher inquiry that makes greater use of student outcome information continues to be a focus for development. ERO affirms this direction.

Suitable premises and equipment

The school is well resourced. Specialist facilities and a wide range of equipment, including digital technology, continue to support student learning. Recent building developments include a sports complex with full-sized gymnasium, classrooms and a Year 13 common room.

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

3 Other Obligations

Appropriate systems are in place to assure the school’s managing body that its other statutory obligations are being met.

4 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there were 19 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the code.

This review confirms that the school’s systems and processes for the education and care of international students are comprehensive. International students are well integrated into the school. The effectiveness of programmes of learning is evident through the quality of academic success these students achieve.

5 Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Queen Margaret College meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

About the School

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

278

School type

Private School ( Years 1 - 13)

School roll

671

Number of international students

19

Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Chinese
Indian
Other ethnic groups

69%
  5%
  7%
  5%
14%

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

21 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

November 2011
August 2008
July 2005