Westmount School - Waikato Campus - 27/01/2012

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.

In 2004, the Westmount School National Trust (National Trust), based in Auckland, established 15 educational sites around New Zealand, including one in Hamilton, to develop learning environments conducive to Brethren philosophy. The educational content is based on The New Zealand Curriculum under the direction of the National Trust.

The National Trust and local trusts govern all campuses. The National Trust sets direction and writes policies and procedures for local trusts to follow. A national principal provides overall educational leadership. Each campus has a chief executive officer, local trustees and a campus coordinator (leader of teaching and learning). Heads of Department are spread throughout the campuses, as are teachers in charge of subjects. They communicate regularly, using video-conference facilities.

The roll of the Waikato Campus was 190 in 2008. Currently 16 teachers are employed with a roll of 187 students. The school is, at the time of this ERO review, extremely well-led by an experienced campus coordinator and a team of three qualified and experienced lead teachers, who each have a responsibility for a junior, middle or senior syndicate.

Trustees have a clear understanding of their governance role and each has a portfolio of responsibilities. They receive regular reports from the campus coordinator that outline student achievement across the school. Trustees are very positive about their staff and the quality of teaching. They fully support the campus leadership team, who lead by example and are hard working and efficient.

2 Criteria for Registration

Suitable premises and equipment

The Waikato Campus has continued to develop and expand since the 2008 ERO review. Changes have included completion of the hall, provision of additional spaces for tuition of hard/soft technologies and fabric/textile/cooking facilities, continued development of the Information Technology [IT] learning centre, and ongoing grounds development. A major project for 2012 is the building of a new IT learning centre which will become the educational hub of the campus. The school presents as an extremely attractive learning environment. Trustees continue to promote the building and grounds as suitable and safe premises to facilitate and enhance high quality learning opportunities for students.

Teachers and students have access to a wide range of appropriate resources to promote and support student learning. Since the 2008 ERO review, resource storage has been reorganised in the junior and middle school. Information and communication technologies (ICT) continue to be available to students at all levels. The extensive use of video-conferencing facilities from Years 6 to 13, with links to other Westmount Schools, enables students to experience a broadened range of subject choices, especially at Levels 1 to 3 of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) curriculum. While individual classroom resources are appropriate for current teaching and learning programmes, trustees could give consideration to extending the availability of data projectors in classrooms to enable teachers to use additional ICT capability in their lesson planning and delivery contexts. These resources could be allocated on a gradual basis commencing with rooms in the junior school area.

Suitable staffing

Westmount School requires all staff to be registered teachers and this is the situation at the Waikato Campus. At the time of this review there was one Provisionally Registered Teacher (PRT) employed as a long term reliever. Three teacher aides support teachers in their classroom programmes, including support for a special needs student.

Since the 2008 review there have been considerable changes to campus management and organisation. The appointment of a new campus coordinator in 2009 and the subsequent reorganisation of the school into three syndicates (junior, middle and senior) has been a significant catalyst for change in bringing the school and its satellite classes into a single cohesive and united campus. The campus coordinator is an experienced educationalist, who has placed an emphasis on developing a positive learning environment where all stakeholders (staff, students, trustees and parents) feel valued contributors to the positive campus ethos. Under his professional leadership a culture of cooperation, respect and an emphasis on self-directed learning for students has evolved.

Behavioural issues for boys mentioned in the 2008 ERO report have been fully resolved. The appointment of qualified and experienced syndicate leaders at each of the three levels has been a proactive move in ensuring effective curriculum delivery across the school from Years 3 to 13. Appraisal systems continue to be robust with teachers setting personal goals for personal, campus or national purposes as part of the Performance, Planning and Review process. Trustees and parents have been supportive of the changes made and are valued participants in the overall life of the school.

Curriculum and Tuition

The Brethren ethos and philosophy influences the content of the educational programmes in association with The New Zealand Curriculum. Broad subject overviews are developed nationally for Westmount schools along with planning and assessment guidelines. At the Waikato Campus, teacher planning and assessment strategies are comprehensive, linked to student achievement outcomes and subject to regular review. In all classrooms visited, planning and assessment formats were linked to The New Zealand Curriculum, and were especially detailed in the Years 3 to 10 classrooms. In Years 11 to 13, NCEA curriculum requirements are followed where appropriate. As in other Westmount schools, teachers and students have been able to expand subject choices at all levels through innovative use of virtual classroom technologies, through using video-conference facilities as a normal part of the teaching day.

The school, through effective management systems, careful staffing appointments and an ongoing emphasis on student-directed learning, has continued progressive development since the 2008 review. There are extremely positive learning and behavioural attitudes within the staff and student body. Students and parents see themselves as joint partners in a quality learning journey during their time on campus. Students show maturity, thoughtfulness and a willingness to explore and learn within exciting classroom environments. The school community also undertakes a variety of well-structured education outside the classroom experiences, which contribute to well-planned classroom programmes. An emphasis on inquiry learning prevails across all year levels. The importance of a daily diary for each student is a positive innovation in assisting students to take responsibility for their own learning.

Individual student portfolios provide clear indications of student achievement, which is measured through goal setting and ongoing self-review and evaluation. Portfolios are an exceptional record of student growth as students self critique and reflect on aspects of their work. Diaries link to home/school communication, and goals set in each diary form the basis for ongoing student self- evaluation.

Trustees continue to receive high-quality reports from the campus coordinator about all aspects of achievement at the school. Over the past three years NCEA results have shown continual annual improvement and in 2010 most students achieved at or above NCEA levels for schools of similar decile. For students from Years 3 to 10, results from nationally norm-referenced tests in reading, vocabulary, listening and mathematics indicate that students generally achieve at or above national expectations. Information gained is used by teachers to plan ongoing learning programmes appropriate for each individual student.

Classrooms visited by ERO were exciting centres of learning. Student/teacher relationships were of high quality, respectful and it was clearly evident that staff have high expectations for quality learning outcomes from students. Small class sizes contribute to enhanced achievement outcomes, and those students requiring extra assistance are provided with additional support from teachers and teacher aides as required. Waikato Campus students access a range of awards for academic and community attainments, and students participate with considerable success in Westmount School competitions, such as speech making.

Trustees, staff and parents are united in their desire to maintain a school culture where lifelong learning is paramount and valued, and there is ongoing self review and improvement across all aspects of school life.

School managers have attested that they comply with the provision of Section 35G in respect to there being fit and proper persons to manage the school.

Thames/Tauranga satellite classes

In these two centres, students continue to learn in positive and safe physical environments. Classrooms are attractive teaching centres and display exemplary samples of student work. All students have easy access to appropriate and accessible resources that support progressive learning.

Since the 2008 ERO report, liaison between the satellite classes and the Waikato Campus has been enhanced through the development of the new management structure, which promotes ongoing communication, inclusion and consistency in curriculum planning and teaching.

The quality of planning, teaching and assessment is of an extremely high standard and is reflective of the curriculum delivery undertaken on the Waikato Campus. All students are valued for the individual strengths and abilities that they bring to their learning, and these qualities are utilised by the classroom teacher to plan and implement appropriate learning experiences. Self-directed

learning is a key component all Waikato Campus students and is especially evident in the satellite classrooms.

Students remain successful learners in these environments and enjoy coming to school.

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 being met.

4 Other Matters

Provision for international students

There are no international students at Westmount School Waikato Campus.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Westmount School Waikato Campus does not have a school hostel.

5 Conclusion

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

27 January 2012

About the School

Location

Eureka - Waikato (with satellite classes in Tauranga and Thames)

Ministry of Education profile number

472

School type

Registered Private School (Years 3 - 13)

Decile

8

School roll

187

Gender composition

Male 52% Female 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ/European Pākehā

100%

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

27 January 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

February 2005

August 2008