Rudolf Steiner School (Chch) - 25/08/2016

Findings

Rudolf Steiner School Christchurch provides good quality, inclusive education and a broad range of learning experiences for students. The special character of the school is clearly evident in the school culture, community and practices. Achievement information is used effectively to make positive changes to students’ engagement, learning and wellbeing. The school is well placed to sustain and build on its performance. 

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

1 Context

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

Rudolf Steiner School Christchurch is a state integrated school providing education for students from Years 1 to 13. Students from the local and wider community attend this school.

The school’s approach is to “educate the whole child, head, heart and hands”, through a broad curriculum that allows balance between academic, artistic and practical activities.

Many students at the school have attended the kindergarten that is on the same site. Children remain in the kindergarten beyond their fifth birthday and transition to the school as a group with their class. Supportive and targeted programmes are in place to help children as they transition from the kindergarten to school and through the school.

The leadership of the school is overseen by a College Principals Group. This group includes the appointed school principal, and the coordinators of the upper and lower schools and the kindergartens.

The board, school leaders and teachers have made very good progress towards addressing the recommendations of the December 2012 ERO report. This is most evident in assessment practices, the use of achievement information, and the strengthening of aspects of evaluation.

2 Learning

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

The school is making increasingly effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers are developing their use and analysis of a range of assessment information. Improved school-wide processes are now in place to better monitor student progress. Teachers know their students very well.

The lower school makes good use of the Steiner Learning Steps that are aligned to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers use a range of standardised tests and are further developing their use of other formative assessments to make accurate judgements about a student’s progress and achievement. They have made good use of external support to improve assessment practices. More robust moderation is evident, especially in writing, to ensure consistency of teachers’ judgements.

The next steps for teachers in the lower school include:

  • developing consistency in their understanding of assessment practices
  • strengthening moderation in other areas of the curriculum.

Many students, including Māori, achieve well. They reach expectations in relation to the National Standards by the end of the lower school.

Upper school students’ achievement is comparable to students at similar schools. They can select appropriate standards within multilevel classes allowing for personalised learning and educational pathways. Numeracy and literacy requirements for the National Certificate of Education (NCEA) are regularly tracked and relevant standards adopted to ensure students can succeed. The numbers of Merit and Excellence endorsements at Levels 2 and 3 continue to improve.

Student’s achievement in the first two years of the upper school is well monitored across all curriculum areas.

The school has an increasing number of students on the roll identified as having additional learning or developmental needs. The Special Educational Needs Coordinator’s (SENCO) processes for monitoring the progress of students with additional learning needs have become more effective. The SENCO works closely with classroom teachers to identify, support and monitor these students. Students with exceptional abilities are recognised and programmes developed to support their learning and progress.

3 Curriculum

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

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

The special character of the school is clearly evident in documentation and practices. The school’s curriculum closely aligns the New Zealand Curriculum, the Rudolf Steiner philosophy and the ideals of the community who choose to send their children to this school.

Students are provided with a broad range of learning experiences. Teachers give a strong emphasis to physical activity, music and the natural world. Teachers have increased the range of curriculum and vocational pathway options with a broader choice within senior course work since the 2012 ERO review.

Teachers know students very well and use this knowledge to support their learning and wellbeing. Students have choice within topics that link to their interests. This is being developed further in some classes.

ERO and teachers agree that the next step for the school is to extend the opportunities for students to provide feedback about their learning and how teachers can support them more.

Teachers have also identified that it is now timely to continue the reflection towards, and implementation of, a 21st century Steiner pedagogy.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The school effectively promotes success for Māori as Māori.

Māori students are well supported and make good progress in their learning. They have many opportunities to learn about their culture and hear and use te reo Māori.

Teachers have given priority to recognising Māori language and culture. They are well supported by resource people within the school’s community. A national Rudolf Steiner Māori curriculum, ‘He Reo Puāwai', is currently being introduced. It provides good direction for integrating Māori values and perspectives in meaningful ways.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to build on and improve its performance.

The board governs the school well. It has made good use of training to increase trustees’ knowledge of their governance roles and responsibilities. Trustees have an increased focus on decision making and targeted strategic planning based on useful information and evidence. They receive information about the curriculum to help them make appropriate resourcing decisions. There is a school wide culture of being responsive to issues as they arise, planning and monitoring to improve outcomes for students.

School leaders have strengthened the leadership and management structure of the school to support clearer processes for timely decision making and allocation of responsibilities. They have improved evaluative practices and developed a more defined schedule for review. The school has made good use of external review and targeted in-depth evaluation. They use a variety of ways to collect student and parent views. Reviews have resulted in improvements to practices, for example, some aspects of appraisal have been strengthened. These approaches are promoting a more reflective culture.

The school is developing links with other educational providers to extend students learning opportunities, raise student achievement, and support the sharing of effective practice. This includes establishing links with other schools in the Christchurch area as well as extending the already strong links it has with other Steiner schools.

The school and ERO agree that the next step is for the school to continue to build on and strengthen aspects of its evaluative practices. This includes:

  • making increased use of the community voice it collects in its reviews
  • teachers maintaining a focus on outcomes for students and the effectiveness of their teaching when evaluating programmes and practices.

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 was one international student attending the school.

The coordinator for international students works with other school staff and uses the school’s well established pastoral care systems to monitor the provisions for international students. The school provides language learning support for the students. Students are successfully involved in a range of learning and social activities at school and in the wider community.

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.

School processes around appraisal need to be further strengthened. This includes updating the school policy and procedures to the current wording of the Education Council, implementing systems for appraising teacher aides, and ensuring all staff have undertaken appraisal consistent with the Education Council Aotearoa New Zealand expectations. [s77C State Sector Act 1988 and NAG 3. Part 31 Education Amendment Act 2015]

In addition the school needs to strengthen appointment and induction processes. This includes updating policies and procedures to ensure that the requirements from the Vulnerable Children’s Act relating to identity checking for employees are being met and developing clearer procedures to support the induction of staff.

Conclusion

Rudolf Steiner School Christchurch provides good quality, inclusive education and a broad range of learning experiences for students. The special character of the school is clearly evident in the school culture, community and practices. Achievement information is used effectively to make positive changes to students’ engagement, learning and wellbeing. The school is well placed to sustain and build on its performance.

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

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

25 August 2016

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

419

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll

368

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Girls 52%; Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

European

Asian

Australian

Other ethnicities

11%

77%

7%

2%

1%

2%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

25 August 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

December 2012

June 2008

April 2007