Raphael House Rudolf Steiner Area School - 21/02/2018

School Context

Raphael House Rudolf Steiner Area School is in Lower Hutt. Of the 346 students on the roll, 13 % identify as Māori. Students from a wide range of other ethnic groups are enrolled. The school provides education from kindergarten to Class 12 (Year 13). The provision for children in the kindergarten, on the school roll, is addressed in ERO’s review of the kindergarten.

The Waldorf philosophy underpins the school’s special character and is evident in all aspects of the school life.

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

  • achievement against the Learning Steps framework
  • achievement in relation to the New Zealand Certificate of Steiner Education
    (Levels 1, 2  and 3)
  • outcomes related to wellbeing of students.

A number of initiatives to enhance student achievement and to address areas identified for development in the November 2014 ERO report have been introduced.

A principal, deputy principal and two lower school coordinators (job share) were appointed in February 2017. Steps have been taken to clarify the roles and accountabilities of the Proprietor’s Trust, Board of Trustees and school leaders since the last ERO review. Proprietors are represented on the board of trustees.

The school is a member of the National Rudolf Steiner Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (KA). 

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working to develop practices and processes to effectively address equity of outcomes for all learners.

School reported information for 2016 shows almost all students achieved the New Zealand Certificate of Steiner Education in Classes 10 - 12, many with merit and excellence.

In Classes 1 - 7 most students achieved in literacy and mathematics as assessed against the Learning Steps. Māori students achieve at higher rates in reading and writing than their peers. Girls achieve better in reading, writing and mathematics than boys. Improvement for all groups is evident in each of the past three years in writing.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is working to develop effective practices and processes to accelerate the progress of all learners whose achievement requires acceleration. For some students in 2017, mid-year school achievement information shows acceleration is evident.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The leadership team are collaborative, open to change and improvement focused. They demonstrate a collective capacity to consider and implement change. Leaders have implemented useful systems and processes to identify and monitor student achievement at classroom and school-wide levels.

Students with additional needs are included in all aspects of school life. Staff work collaboratively with parents and specialist staff to provide the support these students require.

Parents, whānau and community are welcomed and involved in school activities and festivals as respected and valued partners in learning.

School leaders are appropriately focused on raising teacher capability and improving the delivery of the curriculum to support the achievement of the school’s annual targets and goals. A focus on raising literacy and mathematics has lifted expectations of achievement and teacher practice in reading, writing and mathematics

There has been a strategic approach to the integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into all aspects of school operation. Te reo Māori is compulsory in Classes 8 and 9 and kapa haka is part of the Class 4 - 7 curriculum. Suitable staffing appointments have been made to support these changes and to grow teachers’ cultural competency. 

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

Strengthening the implementation of teacher appraisal processes and aligning these to school priorities and the Standards for the Teaching Profession should support teacher growth. Senior leaders should also take a greater role in observing teacher practice to ensure consistency of feedback and expectations of teacher practice.

Teachers should focus teacher inquiry on those students whose achievement requires acceleration, to enable teachers and leaders to better evaluate the impact of actions on outcomes for students.

Leaders are developing their evaluative practices. This is supporting their understanding of necessary changes and enabling a responsive and considered approach to implementing decisions made for improvement.

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.

Provision for international students

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

At the time of this review there were 12 international students attending the school, including four exchange students. All students come through the global network of Waldorf Steiner schools. The sharing of values and the Waldorf Steiner philosophy supports students’ positive integration. 

There is appropriate academic, social, cultural and pastoral provision. Clear guidelines and expectations are in place to provide a safe and welcoming environment. School staff and management work collaboratively to provide a good level of pastoral care. They build positive and productive relationships with students. Students integrate well into school life and participate in a range of social, sporting and cultural events.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, leaders can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collaborative practices and leadership that demonstrate a collective capacity to consider and implement changes to improve outcomes
  • developing teachers’ capacity and capability to better respond to students’ language, culture and identity.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening the implementation of appraisal processes, that supports teachers to develop practices that accelerate progress and achievement for target students
  • internal evaluation that better evaluates the impact of teaching strategies, programmes and initiatives on outcomes for students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

21 February 2018

About the school 


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Area School, Years 1 - 13

School roll


Gender composition

Female 57%, Male 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori                               12%
Pākehā                            80%
Other ethnic groups    8%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

21 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, November 2014
Education Review, November 2011
Education Review, June 2008