St Peter's School (Cambridge) - 12/08/2016

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that St Peter's School (Cambridge) 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.

St Peter’s School (Cambridge) is a large, private, co-educational day and boarding school catering for students in Years 7 to 13. It is located near the township of Cambridge in spacious, attractive grounds. Students come from a wide range of locations and backgrounds. The roll is currently 1074, of whom 71 are Māori and 70 are international students.

The school is governed by a trust board and is affiliated to the Anglican Church. Christian values and beliefs underpin the school culture, and the trust board is committed to ‘providing high quality governance in a culture of family where students are developed to their full potential in mind, body and spirit.’ Trustees bring a range of appropriate skills and expertise to their roles and are highly supportive of the principal and staff.

A new and experienced principal was appointed at the beginning of 2016. The trust board has given him a clear vision for school improvement and has sought external expertise to help review aspects of health and safety, learning support, strategic planning and school leadership. The principal has reviewed systems and processes to make better use of student achievement and other data to inform evaluation and improvement.

Students continue to benefit from a positive and supportive school culture and participate in the wide range of curricular and extra-curricular activities catered for in high quality, modern facilities.

2 Criteria for Registration

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

The principal has reviewed aspects of school leadership and strengthened the roles and contributions of middle leaders. Heads of faculty report their analysed student achievement results, and reviews of departmental performance, to the trust board. Together with senior leaders, they engage in evidence-based evaluation to further raise positive outcomes for all students. There are opportunities for both staff and students to participate in leadership roles throughout the school community.

Students benefit from a broad and holistic curriculum. In Years 7 and 8, students participate in a new, purpose-built learning environment that supports an inquiry approach to learning. Years 9 and 10 students have opportunities to experience a range of authentic learning activities both within and outside the classroom. Students are well prepared to achieve qualifications in a genuine dual pathway in The National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and International Baccalaureate (IB). Students are also able to successfully participate in a wide range of competitive sports and cultural activities and have access to high quality equipment, resources, and additional coaching programmes.

A feature of the school curriculum is the partnerships that the school has established with local, national and international organisations which help prepare students to be confident, competent and accomplished global citizens.

Teachers are committed to the wellbeing and education of students and work hard to respond to their learning and pastoral care needs. Students were observed to be well engaged in constructive learning activities. School leaders have identified through data analysis that some groups of students could achieve higher grades. They have set goals and plans to further raise levels of academic achievement for these students. An area for further review and development is increasing ways that students can articulate how well they are learning and their next learning steps.

School leaders have reviewed processes for employing and appraising staff in relation to new legislation and are ensuring that requirements are being met. Teachers engage in a wide range of internal and external professional learning and development. Professional learning groups have been refocused to better respond to the learning needs of groups of students. A particular focus has been on strengthening the provisions for students with diverse learning needs.

Pastoral care systems are well established for both day and boarding students. There are clear processes to guide students in matters of discipline, student safety, and seeking and receiving support. Parents are kept well informed about the education and pastoral care needs of their children. Students reported that they felt safe, their teachers and caregivers cared about them, and they were encouraged to participate fully in the life of the school. 

3 Other Obligations

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

The school is responsive to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Commitment to, and progress in recent initiatives and priorities continues to be a focus for ongoing school development and improvement.

The trust board, school leaders and teachers have identified the need to continue to use internal evaluation, based on data and evidence, to inform strategic decision making.

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

St Peter's School Cambridge provides high quality care and tuition for its international students (IS) who attend the school. The IS department is well led and ensures that all aspects of student life are carefully monitored and managed. The school has English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers who provide effective programmes that promote students’ skills in English.

At the time of this review there were 70 international students attending the school. The number of students has increased since the 2011 ERO review and the principal has recently appointed a dean to oversee their academic achievement and progress. Most IS students are boarders and have access to the school’s extensive range of sporting, cultural, pastoral and guidance facilities. International students are well integrated in to the life of the school.

ERO confirms that the school’s self-review process for international students is well documented, reflective and thorough.

Provision for students in the school hostel

St Peter’s School Cambridge boarding hostel is divided into eight houses, each of which is managed by a House Director, matron and associated house staff. The hostel accommodates 450 students and is owned by the St Peter’s School Trust Board.

Students are cared for in safe environments where security is a high priority.  Positive aspects of the boarding hostel include the quality provisions for all groups of students, designated areas where students are able to complete homework, and areas to relax and share food. The campus resources and facilities are readily available for students.

Comprehensive documentation and guidelines inform boarders and parents, and guide hostel staff. The director of Boarding effectively oversees all aspects of hostel management. The hostel owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

5 Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that St Peter's School (Cambridge) meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989. 

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

12 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Cambridge, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number

141

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

1074

Number of international students

70

Gender composition

Girls       55%
Boys      45%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
European
Chinese
South East Asian
Indian
Pacific
Other Asian

75%
  8%
  5%
  3%
  3%
  2%
  1%
  3%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

12 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review
Private School Review
Private School Review

October 2011
January 2009
April 2006