Westmount School - Wellington Campus - 16/02/2017

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Westmount Wellington Campus 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.

Westmount School, established by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in 1993, consists of 11 campuses and 12 satellites nationally.   The Westmount School National Trust governs the school and a principal team of three regional principals and heads of junior, middle and senior schools provide professional leadership for all teaching staff nationally.  The school is part of the global One School organisation.

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

Suitable premises and equipment

The premises and equipment are suitable.

The property is well maintained. Appropriate policies, regular checking and good record keeping assure trustees that all reasonable steps have been taken to provide a safe physical environment.

Issues identified in a nationally initiated health and safety audit have been addressed.

The premises enable students to participate in a wide range of learning areas. The specialist rooms for science, hard materials, food technology, music and gymnasium are appropriately equipped. The inviting library is well stocked and supports the Westmount curriculum.

Students use digital technologies as a key part of their learning and are supplied with notebooks. The three video communication (VC) classrooms and the Movi room provide an appropriate learning environment.

Suitable curriculum

Westmount Wellington Campus provides students with a suitable curriculum and tuition. Curriculum statements are developed nationally and are clearly communicated to the community.

The curriculum is based on The New Zealand Curriculum. The junior classes report against Westmount’s national standards. Teachers of junior classes use standardised tests to inform their overall assessment judgements about students' achievement. They work closely together to moderate assessment of students' work.

The school achievement information indicates that most learners achieve at or above the Westmount standards.

The national Westmount curriculum provides useful guidelines for all teachers. A structured timetable and minimum classroom disruption facilitate focused learning.

A range of National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) subjects is available for senior students. Many subjects are provided through video conferencing. Students are expected to develop their self-directed learning skills by following up the VC lesson in the student learning centre.

The campus has a high level of NCEA achievement. Most leavers in 2015 achieved NCEA Level 3 and at all levels a high proportion gained merit or excellence endorsements.

Students at risk of not achieving Westmount standards are supported by a teacher aide in the classroom. The campus proposes to provide a specialised programme for these students in 2017.

Suitable staffing and tuition

Staffing and tuition are suitable. All teachers have a current Practising Teacher Certificate. Teachers are appraised according to the Westmount appraisal process which is consistent with the Education Council’s expectations. Clearer monitoring of implementation and a stronger focus on improving outcomes should support teachers to build their capacity.

Teachers benefit from national and local professional development initiatives.

The junior school classrooms have been opened up to enable team teaching and allow students to learn at their own level. This has facilitated more opportunities for teachers to observe one another and to discuss teaching strategies.

Fit and proper persons

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

3 Other Obligations

A national survey of students and the community monitors the state of campus life. It enables trustees, among other things, to gauge student physical and emotional wellbeing. Considerable improvement in parent and student morale in this campus is evident.

At the time of the on-site phase of this review, the process for police vetting of non-teaching staff and adults who have unsupervised access to students was not sufficient. In order improve practice the campus needs to ensure that it maintains up-to-date police vetting of non-registered staff.

4 Conclusion

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

16 February 2017

About the School

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

99273

School type

Private Composite (Years 3 to 13)

School roll

81

Gender composition

Male 47, Female 34

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

81

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

16 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

January 2013

September 2009

July 2006