Silverstream Christian School - 19/02/2019

Findings

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

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 www.ero.govt.nz/Reviews-Process.

The criteria for registration are that the school —

a) has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and

b) 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

c) 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

d) has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school; and

e) has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents; and

f) has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F; and

g) has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

The school is fully registered as a private school and in Silverstream, Upper Hutt. It is a composite Year 1 to 15 Christian School, associated with the Silverstream Reformed Church, and was established in 2010.

At the time of this review there were 24 students on the roll ranging from Years 1 to 12. Most of the students are in Years 1 to 8.

Since the 2014 ERO review there has been a high turnover of teachers. Those joining the school are generally drawn from members of the Reformed Church.

The school does not currently have a principal. The current ‘head’ teacher and the two full time classroom teachers, were appointed within the last 18 months. The board states that it is undertaking the role of “acting principal’ until an appointment of a permanent principal is made.

The school’s managers attest that the school complies with the provisions of section 35G in respect to their being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

The previous review report in 2014 identified several areas for improvement. The school has begun to formulate strategies and actions that could lead to change and improvement in some of these areas.

2 Criteria for Registration

Suitable premises and equipment

Premises provide suitable spaces for tuition and learning.

The school is housed in three classrooms that the school owns and were certified as compliant earlier this year. The land is leased from the Reformed Church.

Classrooms are organised to cater for the range of students in three age groups; two primary and one senior. Classrooms are calm, well-ordered learning spaces resourced to an adequate level to promote the teaching of the literacy and mathematics components of the curriculum. Text based resources are plentiful and students have access to digital devices if needed to enhance learning. Open outdoor spaces provide opportunities for physical activity.

The provision of resources and equipment for practical activities and other learning areas are basic and limited. Consequently curriculum coverage, opportunities for learning and teaching practices are significantly limited.  

Suitable curriculum

The documented curriculum reflects the school’s Christian philosophy and has defined objectives and expectations. An education committee made up of teachers, parents and board members monitor and make decisions about the teaching, learning and school operations. The curriculum is made available to the parents, education committee and the board.

Teachers monitor students’ progress against school expectations and assessments at the start of the year. Limited achievement data shows that most primary aged students assessed are meeting expected levels in reading and mathematics. Around half are making expected progress. The remainder are making insufficient progress. Senior students are only formally assessed in mathematics and English literature where they achieve expected levels. Other assessment information was not evident.

Senior students access courses in English literature and mathematics that lead to assessment against internationally recognised qualifications. Pathways leading to further education are not available in the school. Students who aspire to attend university are required to join a neighbouring secondary school in Year 13 to gain the University Entrance qualification.

Parents receive reports from teachers that include information about achievement against school expectations, dispositions for learning and detailed comments that include next steps for their child's improvement.

Suitable staffing and tuition

The school has suitable staffing for the age range and year level of the students. Ratios of students to teachers is low. Managers have stated that they are yet to appoint a suitably qualified person to fulfil the principal's role. This needs to be addressed with some urgency.

All teachers are registered with the Teaching Council and all have current practising certificates. Volunteers from the church community assist teachers with supporting student learning. All volunteers and helpers within the school are police vetted.

The school is in the process of developing a suitable performance management framework that reflects the guidelines set out by the Teaching Council. It has the potential to guide and inform ongoing improvement in teaching practice that should improve outcomes for children.

ERO noted that no teachers have been appraised since the 2014 review.  

Other Obligations

The board has worked to put in place several new and suitable policies. ERO noted that several policies require further development for example, ensuring the identity checks related to appointments meet the requirements of the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014 and providing guidelines for practices and procedures related to restraint of students.

4 Conclusion

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

Alan Wynyard
Director Review and Improvement Services Southern
Southern Region

19 February 2019

About the School 

Location

Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

622

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 12)

School roll

24

Gender composition

Male 12, Female 12

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Other ethnic groups

21
  3

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

19 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review
Private School Review
Private School Review

July 2014
May 2011
January 2011