Samuel Marsden Collegiate School - 09/07/2015

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Samuel Marsden Collegiate School 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.

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

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School (Marsden) is a private Anglican school for girls from Years 1 to 13. It is located in Karori, Wellington and was established in 1878. Marsden Whitby was also reviewed in June 2015 and ERO’s findings are documented in a separate report.

The school’s vision is to develop confident, independent learners within a warm, values-based Christian environment. The school spirit and values are captured in the four pillars of excellence, resilience, creativity and giving. Strategic planning and curriculum development are aligned to the four pillars.

Suitable curriculum and tuition

The New Zealand Curriculum guides teaching and learning programmes. Leaders and teachers ensure there is a clear emphasis on holistic education and students’ wellbeing. Literacy and numeracy are given appropriate priority in the primary school and girls achieve well in these areas before transitioning to the secondary school.

At all levels of the school there is a strong focus on a broad range of curricular and co-curricular experiences. Students have lessons with a range of subject specialist teachers. Service to others and the wider community is promoted and girls respond well to this curriculum emphasis.

Students and their families are well informed about the curriculum and career options. Girls are effectively supported to make choices about academic pathways suited to their interests and strengths.

The school’s motto ‘Ad Summa’ captures the high expectations communicated to students for success. A range of positive achievement results, including international examinations and awards, indicate that high expectations are met and the curriculum is very effective. Girls achieve very well in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs), with high numbers gaining merit and excellence endorsements.

The board and management prioritise pastoral care. Girls are well supported by a collaborative, active and easily accessible pastoral team.

Ongoing review of curriculum content has led to some creative programme developments. Teachers use a good range of strategies, including digital technology, to deliver interesting curricular programmes. Girls have many opportunities for authentic learning experiences.

Positive and respectful relationships underpin teaching and learning. Students are purposefully engaged in their classroom programmes. Those spoken with by ERO are confident, articulate and happy to share their ideas and ask questions.

Teachers and leaders are appropriately planning to extend future-focused learning approaches. This work could lead to teaching which is increasingly responsive to the individual strengths, needs, interests and cultures of students.

Differentiated teaching strategies in the primary school English and mathematics programmes are based on students’ strengths and needs and contribute to student success. Increased strategies which support personalised and student-led learning, particularly in Years 7 to 10, are likely to further enhance student engagement and achievement.

School leaders consider it is timely to expand on The New Zealand Curriculum principles and key competencies and explore how they could be more explicit in the Marsden curriculum.

Leaders have identified that the Marsden curriculum and environment need to be more bicultural, with increased reflection throughout the school of te ao Māori. With the support of key staff and board members, they have taken steps to address this.

Suitable premises and equipment

Premises and equipment are of high quality and suitable for every aspect of the curriculum. Grounds and buildings are spacious, well maintained and tidily presented.

Significant building development is underway. New facilities will include open learning spaces and an information centre. These are likely to present exciting opportunities for teachers to implement future-focused teaching approaches.

Currently, students from Year 3 upwards bring their own digital devices to school to support their learning. School equipment is available for girls in these Years who do not have their own.

Suitable staffing

All teachers are qualified and registered. Specialist subjects are taught by staff with qualifications and skills appropriate to their fields of expertise. Staff performance is monitored regularly using the Registered Teacher Criteria. A programme is in place to strengthen staff capacity and reflective practice. Leaders consider that a continued focus on teaching inquiry is an appropriate next step.

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

3. Other Obligations

Appropriate systems are in place to assure the Samuel Marsden Collegiate 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 six 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 self-review processes for international students are comprehensive. Effective policies and practices support the pastoral care, integration, academic learning and programmes of the school’s international students.

5. Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Samuel Marsden Collegiate School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 July 2015

About the School


Karori, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Private School (Years 1 – 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā




Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

9 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

November 2011

July 2008

April 2005