Selwyn House School - 11/05/2012


On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Selwyn House 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.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989, requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review fully registered private schools, and to report to the Ministry of Education on whether each school continues to meet the criteria for full registration.

This review report was prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

Selwyn House is a fully registered private school.

The school managers have attested that they comply with the provisions of section 35G of the Education Act 1989 in respect of their being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

2 Criteria for Registration

Since the June 2008 ERO review, the school has been authorised to offer the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) Primary Years Programme (PYP). This globally-focused and inquiry-based curriculum provides students with wide-ranging opportunities to investigate topics of interest, to question, create and take actions that make a positive contribution to their local and wider community. A recent external evaluation of the school’s curriculum carried out by the IBO found that it is being taught to a high standard in almost all aspects of the programme.

Parents are well informed about the PYP. Written reports and student-led interviews give them detailed information about students’ understandings, progress and next steps.

The school successfully integrates aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum, particularly in literacy and mathematics. The National Standards have been introduced to provide a consistent benchmark for student achievement and progress in these areas.

Assessment practices have been reviewed and extended. A variety of reliable assessments are used to identify how well students are achieving and progressing in literacy and mathematics and plan next steps in learning.

Specialist teachers in the arts, physical education, science, technology and Spanish contribute strongly to the quality of teaching and learning through specialist programmes and the integration of their subjects in inquiry studies.

Students with special abilities and learning needs are well supported in class programmes and through extra tuition. The teachers recognise that the degree to which this additional support for students is making a difference could be more closely evaluated and reported.

The principal and other school leaders have identified that units of inquiry could include a greater emphasis on bicultural perspectives to more clearly recognise the bicultural nature of a New Zealand school. They also plan to monitor closely how well the PYP is providing students with a balance of progressive learning opportunities within each curriculum area over time.

Suitable tuition

Students are benefiting from consistently good to high-quality teaching that matches current good practice. Small class sizes at most year levels allow teachers to give effective individual instruction to students.

Students understand and can explain their own learning and how it could be extended. They are increasingly taking responsibility for their learning by setting and assessing individual learning goals.

Relationships between staff and students are respectful, supportive and nurturing. Teachers encourage students to be active and engaged participants in their own learning.

Achievement information gathered by the school shows that the majority of students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school has set an appropriate target to lift the performance of some students in mathematics.

Teachers participate in a broad range of targeted and well planned professional development. This includes keeping up-to-date with the latest educational research to extend their knowledge and expertise.

A collaborative approach to planning, assessment and evaluation helps teachers share ideas, and inquire into the impact of their teaching. This process contributes significantly to the consistency of teaching and learning for students as they move through the school.

Suitable staffing

The principal is managing some changes to staffing as a result of a decline in the roll since the last review and particularly after the Canterbury earthquakes. A resident psychologist provides ongoing support for students, staff and families.

The school gives priority to employing high-quality teachers with experience in the PYP and provides comprehensive training for new staff in teaching the programme.

Expectations for teaching and learning are high and communicated clearly by the principal and other school leaders. Managers, teachers and other staff work well together in a climate of mutual respect. They are committed to providing students with rich and rewarding learning experiences.

The principal provides effective professional leadership and takes a key role in curriculum development. Her experience and knowledge in the PYP is a significant factor in the success of the programme at the school. A coordinator for PYP was appointed in 2012 to extend leadership capacity and increase sustainability in this area.

The school has effective processes for reviewing what is working well and where changes may be required to improve outcomes for students. A coaching and mentoring programme is used productively to affirm good teaching and identify possible areas for improvement.

Suitable premises and equipment

The school buildings are attractive, functional and in most cases purpose-built to maximise teaching and learning. The specialist needs of all curriculum areas are very well catered for in separate teaching spaces. Classrooms are spacious and inviting and wall displays clearly reflect the philosophy and principles of the PYP.

Student learning is well supported by an extensive range of resources and equipment. Students make good use of information and communication technologies (ICT) that are readily available in classrooms and specialist areas, in their learning.

The buildings, grounds and equipment are maintained to a high standard.

Efficient systems and pastoral care practices exist for monitoring and supporting students’ physical and emotional well-being.

3 Other Statutory Obligations

There are good systems in place for the school’s managing body to be assured that its other statutory obligations are met.

4 Other Matters

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. At the time of this review, there were two international students attending the school.

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

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

The students are well supported by the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. They are included fully in all school and hostel activities. The school’s pastoral care programme effectively monitors and responds to their needs and well-being.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Somers Cox, accommodates 15 students, 8% of the school roll. It is owned by the school’s Trust Board. The new hostel, built in 2010, is located centrally within the school grounds. Positive features of the hostel include:

  • the modern, home-like environment it provides for students
  • the strong support for students’ welfare and learning from the experienced hostel manager, and other staff
  • the focus on ensuring that meals are nutritious and varied
  • the variety of learning experiences offered to students after school and in the weekends.

5 Conclusion

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 May 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)



School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Special Features

School boarding hostel

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

11 May 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

June 2008

June 2005

May 2002