Timaru Christian School - 07/05/2014

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Timaru Christian School provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. Students come from a number of local churches and a wide geographical area. The roll continues to be diverse with many cultures represented.

The school’s vision is to provide a God-centred quality education in a community built on Christian beliefs. The curriculum is designed to assist students in developing a Christian worldview. Teachers put a strong focus on students feeling valued and respected. Parents, teachers and trustees have high expectations for students in all areas of their development and learning.

Since the last ERO review in 2011, the school has made significant progress in its response to the identified areas for development. This progress is especially evident in curriculum development, analysis of achievement data, building effective teaching practices across the school and the board’s self review of policies.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

Teachers, leaders and trustees make good use of student achievement information.

Teachers are using learning information well to:

  • identify learning strengths and needs of individual students and groups of students
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching and class programmes
  • identify what they will do next to improve their teaching.

School leaders, in collaboration with the teachers, analyse whole-school achievement data. This information forms the basis for setting appropriate targets to lift students’ rates of progress and to identify curriculum areas needing more attention.

Leaders use learning information well to:

  • inform professional learning and development decisions
  • monitor consistency of assessment judgements across the school
  • identify students needing additional learning support and/or extension
  • monitor school progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards
  • identify trends and patterns of achievement.

Trustees are well informed about school-wide achievement. They use the information to make resourcing decisions and to confirm the appropriateness of the charter targets in raising students’ achievement levels.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting students’ learning.

There is a clear rationale for the choices made in the design of the curriculum. The curriculum reflects community priorities and is responsive to students’ needs and strengths. The school’s vision provides a strong foundation for what is taught and how things are done at the school. There is a focus on developing the whole child.

The curriculum plan has been reviewed and refined to strengthen the integration of Christian values and learning. Te Ao Māori has more emphasis to give greater bicultural learning. The individuality of each learning area is well maintained. Learning programmes have appropriate sequences and coherent progressions over class and year levels.

Students receive good to high quality teaching. There are effective systems for supporting teachers to continue to build effective teaching practices. Teachers know students well as learners. They have useful planning to guide their purposeful teaching.

Students needing extra support to succeed in their learning, including those with particular abilities, are provided with appropriate programmes. Teachers and leaders use systematic and collaborative approaches to identify, plan for and monitor the progress of these students. Well-qualified and highly-valued teacher aides work with these students.

Students’ wellbeing is consistent with Christian values and well supported. The school prioritises students feeling safe and secure. Teachers work closely with parents so that together they can best support their children’s learning. This includes teachers using a range of strategies to communicate effectively with parents. Teachers carefully consider students’ social needs when forming groups. Teachers take part in specific professional development.

Area for review and development

Students need to be supported to take more responsibility for their own learning. This will help them develop skills and attitudes to be lifelong learners. The foundations for this are well in place through recent curriculum developments.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

The principal and teachers are in the early stages of developing and putting into practice the school curriculum and programmes to promote educational success for Māori, as Māori. The principal, who is supporting teachers to build their awareness and confidence, champions this development. There is a clear intent in key school documents. Specific targets have been set to raise the achievement of Māori students.

ERO observed some key Māori concepts as natural and important parts of the school, including whanaungatanga/relationships, manaakitanga/caring and wairua/spiritual.

The principal and ERO see the need to continue to:

  • give prominence to Te Ao Māori
  • build teachers’ awareness of and confidence in Te Ao Māori
  • strengthen relationships with the whānau of Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

There is well-considered alignment between the strategic and annual plan, professional learning and development, teaching and learning programmes, and budgeting.

The board has a good understanding of the importance of self review. The principal and trustees use well-designed formats and questions for reviewing the curriculum and aspects of school operations. They gather the opinions and perspectives of parents, students and teachers. Reviews are used to affirm good practice and identify where improvements are necessary.

The trustees and the principal have reviewed and rewritten the school policies and procedures to give them a better understanding of these and make them more useful.

The school’s leadership is very effective. The principal articulates and enacts the vision of the school. She has high expectations for student achievement and teachers as professionals. She knows the teachers' strengths and their areas for further development. The principal ensures a coordinated approach to educational developments within the school. The leaders provide strong direction in meeting the diverse needs of all students.

Areas for review and development

The school leaders and trustees need to review:

  • planning processes to ensure that the strategic and annual plans clearly reflect and focus on the school’s key priorities
  • board meeting structure and record keeping to ensure student achievement and wellbeing are central to meetings and discussions, and that all decisions and resolutions are recorded appropriately.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should clarify its expectations of teachers for education outside the classroom, in particular procedures around risk analysis and the formal authorisation of trips, excursions and camps.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

7 May 2014

About the School

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

1611

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

81

Gender composition

Girls: 43 Boys: 38

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnicities

49
5
6
7
14

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

7 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

March 2011

February 2008

September 2006