Rudolf Steiner School (Chch) - 06/12/2012

1 Context

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

Students, staff, board and parents display a strong commitment to fostering the school’s special character. The Rudolf Steiner philosophy is well embedded in the day-to-day life of the school.

The school provides for students from Years 1 to 13. This range supports students’ smooth transition from the kindergarten on the same site through to their secondary education.

Teachers know their students well as they teach them from Year 1 through to Year 8.

Supportive relationships foster a strong sense of community, a positive school culture and students’ wellbeing.

The aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 continues to have a considerable impact on many students, parents and staff. The board and management are responding positively to the associated challenges.

The board, managers and teachers have made good progress towards addressing the recommendations in the June 2008 ERO report. For example, some significant improvements have been made to aspects of the school’s curriculum, assessment practices and curriculum self review.

2 Learning

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

Overall, students, including Māori students, are well engaged and achieve well.

The school’s analysed achievement information shows that younger students from Year 3 onwards often achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Most Years 7 and 8 students are achieving very well according to a range of national assessments. They display very good oral language and cooperative learning skills. Students in Years 12 to 13 in particular, demonstrate many of the attributes of becoming independent lifelong learners.

The success of students in gaining National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) qualifications continues to improve. For example, the number of students gaining merits and excellence increased significantly in 2011. Ninety five percent of Year 13 students achieved NCEA Level 3 qualifications.

Many students made good progress towards achieving the targets set to raise their achievement in 2011. Māori students achieve at similar levels to their peers.

The school managers and teachers are making increasing use of achievement information to identify and respond well to students who are achieving below the school’s expectations. For instance, they use this information to provide well-targeted additional learning support for some students. These students are well supported both within and beyond the school and benefit from the different teaching practices and programmes used to meet their learning needs.

The next steps for the school include:

  • clearly defining what counts as students being gifted and talented at this school and extending the range of provisions for meeting the needs of these students
  • further using student achievement information to better determine the progress groups of students make during their time at the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum successfully supports and promotes students’ learning.

Positive features of the school’s curriculum include the:

  • rich and varied range of learning opportunities created for students through the successful blending of the Steiner and the New Zealand curriculum
  • way tikanga and te reo Māori is increasingly acknowledged and celebrated in the school’s culture and curriculum
  • provision of a wide variety of learning experiences that are well integrated across many aspects of the curriculum
  • monitoring and support provided for students in Years 11 to 13 working towards qualifications.

The principal and managers have identified that some teachers use a wider range of teaching practices than others to successfully engage students in learning. ER0 confirms the need to place an ongoing emphasis on identifying, sharing and extending the use of best teaching practice, including the effective use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support teaching and learning.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Overall, the school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The planned review of leadership and management structures and practices has the potential to strengthen the school’s capacity for ongoing improvement.

The board governs the school well. Trustees bring to their role a useful variety of skills and demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting the school’s special character.

The board provides a clear future direction through its strategic and annual plans. Trustees and the principal make good use of reports and curriculum reviews to decide what is most important and monitor progress towards achieving key objectives.

While trustees undertake aspects of self review, their work in this area could be enhanced by:

  • developing and following a more clearly defined self-review programme
  • increasing the provisions for gathering parent, staff and student opinions as part of their review processes
  • refining the use made of review findings to help identify their most important future priorities.

The work of the school’s principal is critical to the success of the school. He plays a significant role in local and national initiatives to improve Steiner-based education. This is resulting in preserving key elements of the Steiner philosophy and the school’s special character while being open to different ways of enhancing the quality of education for students. The principal’s high expectations and focus on reflective practices is contributing to the establishment of effective curriculum self-review practices.

The principal has identified, and ERO agrees that priority should now be given to reviewing leadership and management structures and further building leadership capacity within the school. These developments will be critical for building on the best of what is happening and responding to current and future challenges, for example, as changes in staff occur, to address work load issues and provide for roll growth.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code). The board has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this ERO review, four international students attended the school.

The coordinator for international students works with the principal and upper school managers to monitor the provisions for international students. They effectively support staff to meet students’ needs, and to ensure students’ integration across the school.

Students are fully involved in a range of activities at school and in the wider community. School leaders regularly review their compliance with the Code and students' progress and achievement is analysed as a group.

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.

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

6 December 2012

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

419

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

391

Number of international students

4

Gender composition

Girls 57% Boys 43%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Māori

European

Asian

Other Ethnicities

76%

8%

12%

2%

2%

Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

6 December 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2008

April 2007

November 2003