Rolleston Christian School - 22/03/2016

Findings

The board, governance facilitator and principal have worked very effectively to ensure the smooth opening of the new school in February 2015. Good processes are in place to support the education and wellbeing of students. The school is operating in accordance with its vision and values and is well placed to provide for its students.

ERO is confident the board has the capability and capacity to grow and develop the school with a focus on student achievement and its special character.

1 Introduction

A New School Assurance Review is a review of particular areas of school performance and is undertaken to specific terms of reference.

New School Assurance Reviews are generally undertaken within the first year of the school’s opening.

Terms of Reference

This review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Rolleston Christian School. The terms of reference for the review are to provide assurance:

  • that the school is operating in accordance with the vision articulated by the board of trustees
  • to the elected board and community that the school is well placed to provide for students.

2 Context

Early in 2008 the Christian School’s Trust indicated their interest to the Ministry of Education (MOE) in opening an integrated Christian School as part of the network of schools in the fast growing Rolleston township. This application gained approval in July 2014.

mall classes provide opportunities for flexibility in teaching and learning.The school is a member of a cluster of Christian schools in Christchurch and the local Rolleston schools’ cluster. The new principal was employed in August 2014 to prepare for the school’s opening in February 2015. The purpose built facilities and s

The local community have a positive perception of the school and its place in Rolleston.Teachers bring a range of experience to their roles. Experienced staff members are in leadership roles in preparation for expected roll growth. The school successfully applied to have its roll extended to include Year 7 and 8.

An earlier report commissioned by the MOE showed the school was well placed to provide education for students. The establishment board has provided a sound foundation for further development with many systems and processes in place. The board of trustees includes proprietor’s representatives and parent-elected trustees. There are a number of experienced trustees on the board.

The most significant difference between this school and other schools in the area is its special Christian Character.

3 Background

Rolleston Christian School provides for students from Years 1 to 8. There are currently 77 students enrolled. These students reflect diverse backgrounds and a range of ethnicities.

The board’s vision is to provide a strong Christian and academic foundation for students.

A governance facilitator has worked alongside the principal in establishing structures and processes that have been important to the successful opening of a new school.Trustees work collaboratively with the school’s principal.

The school has been well supported by the MOE and School Trustees Association.

The school curriculum integrates its special Christian Character with The New Zealand Curriculum, to provide students with specific literacy, mathematics and inquiry project-based learning.

4 Findings

The school places strong emphasis on its vision and values. The school’s community has worked in a coordinated and mutually supportive way to ensure the vision and values are well understood and underpin all areas of school development and curriculum implementation.

Most students respond positively to teachers’ learning goals. There is a high level of support for students with specific learning and behaviour needs. Effective processes show strong links between identifying needs and taking action to accelerate or extend students’ learning.

The curriculum reflects the parent community’s expectations to have the school’s special Christian character thoughtfully integrated into all aspects of students’ learning. It contains clear guidelines for learning, teaching and home-school partnerships. The theme-based learning approach includes practical opportunities for students to contribute to the local environment, sustainable practices and is also beginning to include some bicultural aspects. Teachers are helping students to develop critical thinking and citizenship skills.

The transition of new entrants into the school is well planned. The process is building positive relationships with local early childhood services.

The school’s assessment programme has a range of suitable approaches that will help teachers to gain a picture of students’ learning in literacy and mathematics.

High value and recognition is given to the joint role that parents and family have in working with the school to promote students’ learning. Ongoing communication through the school’s website, newsletters and parent evenings keeps the community well informed about all aspects of the new school.

Teachers provide high quality written reports to parents that show a clear picture of students’ learning and achievement. Students’ views about their learning complement the reporting process and give value to the importance of their voice.

Capable trustees, with a wide range of skills and experience, have developed a comprehensive charter, strategic and annual plan. These key documents make the future direction of the school very clear. Other aspects that support the governance and leadership of the school include:

  • governance guidelines developed to meet the school’s unique context
  • well-developed policies and procedures that respond to, and provide for, staff and student wellbeing and safety
  • leaders’ and trustees’ ability and willingness to engage with a wide range of external professional providers to ensure quality guidance in establishing foundation systems and practices.

Trustees have clear roles and responsibilities and work well with the principal. Together they are building strong professional networks so that the systems and process needed in setting up a new school are suitable and robust to support and benefit learners.

The board’s commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi is evident in the charter. Consultation and the development of a bicultural curriculum are clearly set out in the annual plan. School-wide kapa haka provides a weekly opportunity for students to learn about Māori culture from a specialist tutor.

There is very good alignment from key school documents through to processes to support the acceleration of students at risk of not achieving. Internal evaluation of the school’s progress towards strategic and annual goals is supported by the use of indicators that show what success looks like.

The principal, alongside the governance facilitator, has implemented useful performance management systems in place to ensure that teachers receive ongoing appraisal and professional development to affirm and extend their practice. A culture of reflection is emerging with professional discussions focused on developing shared understandings and a well-rounded approach for catering for students’ learning and wellbeing.

The principal is ensuring the ethos of the school, its special character and outcomes for learners are at the centre of decision making. Her leadership is effectively developing a collaborative learning culture. Shared understandings amongst teachers is developing as they work to implement and embed new systems and practices.

The board, principal and ERO agree the key next steps for the school are to:

  • continue to scaffold and empower students to be more able to lead their own learning, including effective use of digital technology
  • further promote New Zealand’s unique bicultural heritage
  • continue to develop a localised curriculum
  • extend assessment practices to include all essential learning areas
  • develop a self-review framework that better supports internal evaluation.

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:

  • school management and reporting
  • 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 students' 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 board, governance facilitator and principal have worked very effectively to ensure the smooth opening of the new school in February 2015. Good processes are in place to support the education and wellbeing of students. The school is operating in accordance with its vision and values and is well placed to provide for its students.

ERO is confident the board has the capability and capacity to grow and develop the school with a focus on student achievement and its special character.

Deputy Chief Review Officer 

22 March 2016

School Statistics

Location

Rolleston

Ministry of Education profile number

710

School type

State integrated Year 1 - 8

School roll

77

Gender composition

Boys 43; Girls 34

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
African
Pacific
Other ethnicities

  5
46
12
  7
  7

Review team on site

February 2016

Date of this report

22 March 2016