Silverstream Christian School - 28/07/2014

Findings

On the basis of the 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 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 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.

2 Criteria for Registration

The school is fully registered as a private school and is located in Silverstream, Upper Hutt. In 2011, two ERO reviews were undertaken, one for the Year 1 to 8 part of the school and another for the secondary section. It is now a composite Year 1 to 15 Christian School associated with the Silverstream Reformed Church.

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.

Suitable Premises and Equipment

The school meets the criteria for suitable premises and equipment.

Three classrooms are owned by the school. The land and one of the classrooms is leased from the Church. Buildings and resources continue to improve. Since the 2011 ERO reviews a new storage shed has been built, a wall installed to separate one classroom from the staffroom and additional computers have been purchased for the use of teachers and students. The library has been culled of old books and new publications purchased.

A range of health and safety procedures are implemented to assist in maintaining a safe environment. A property management team has developed a plan for ongoing maintenance and improvement. The 2011 ERO report Year 1 to 8 identified the need to review the provision of soft-fall material underneath climbing frames. While this was addressed at the time, regular inspection will provide assurance of continuing safety.

Suitable Staffing

The school is suitably staffed for teaching the age, range and year levels of students. Ratios of students to teachers are low. Since 2011 an additional teacher has been appointed and a fourth classroom is now operating.

All teachers are registered and two provisionally registered teachers are working towards meeting the criteria for full registration.

Volunteers from the church community continue to assist with teaching programmes. At the time of this review no support staff were police vetted. ERO considered that it would be good practice to complete police vets for those who are regularly working with students in the school. The board has taken steps to implement this for all non registered and volunteer staff.

While aspects of a sound appraisal process have been put in place, this is still not fully implemented. Trustees are to develop and strengthen appraisal in order to provide feedback and next steps to teachers about the use and impact of teaching strategies. ERO’s evaluation supports this decision.

Suitable Curriculum

The Silverstream Christian School curriculum meets the criteria for suitability.

An education committee continues to monitor the curriculum which has clear reference to the school’s Christian principles. The curriculum has been reviewed to ensure students' needs and interests are fully met as they move through class levels. Senior students receive assistance to enrol and succeed in Te Kura correspondence school courses as needed.

The implementation of literacy and mathematics aligns well with The New Zealand Curriculum. Associated planning documents and teaching overviews identify expected levels of student achievement.

Suitable Tuition

Tuition standards meet the requirements for suitability.

Teachers implement a range of planning approaches to identify teaching activities and reflect goals for achievement. There is some variability in the quality of this planning. ERO considers that leaders should develop shared teaching guidelines for planning deliberate acts of teaching, and show how these can be used to meet curriculum goals in order to promote more consistent practice.

In classrooms many good quality teaching strategies are evident. Students are well engaged in learning and contributing with confidence to classroom discussions. Positive, caring and respectful interactions are evident between teachers and students.

Teachers continue to use nationally-referenced assessment tools to measure reading and mathematics achievement of students in Years 4 to 10. Results are regularly reported to parents. Analysis of student strengths and weaknesses, revealed by the test results, should be used to develop individual education plans that contain specific teaching strategies to promote students individual progress.

ERO considers that teaching staff investigate ways of monitoring the progress and learning of students in years 1 to 3. This should help to develop a clear picture of student achievement across the entire school. This information could be reported to trustees and used to track student achievement from year to year and support others to accelerate their learning.

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 Conclusion

On the basis of the 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 1989.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

28 July 2014

About the School

Location

Silverstream, Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

622

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 10)

School roll

23

Gender composition

Boys 15, Girls 8

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Tongan

22

1

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

28 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Formally undertaken in two parts 

January 2011

May 2011