Westmount School - West Coast Campus - 17/01/2014

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Westmount West Coast 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.

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.

Westmount West Coast is part of the Westmount School National Trust which is based in Auckland. It is one of 15 regional campuses, with learning environments that support the Brethren philosophy. The National Trust and local trusts govern all campuses.

The National Trust sets the direction and writes the policies and procedures for local trusts to follow. A national principal provides overall educational leadership. Each campus has a chief executive officer team, 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 conferencing (VC) facilities. Maintaining communication among staff in the school settings is seen as one of the ongoing challenges of local trustees and the National Trust.

In January 2005, the West Coast Campus became part of the Westmount School, with a campus in Westport. Another satellite campus was established at Kaiata in Greymouth in 2008. These two campuses currently provide for 39 students in Years 3 to 13. Senior students and teachers regularly travel between the two sites and are closely linked for assemblies and lessons through VC.

Since the 2009 ERO review, trustees and staff have made good progress developing the quality of tuition and the school’s curriculum.

2 Criteria for Registration

The Westmount West Coast trust makes every effort to provide a safe environment for students and staff in compliance with the applicable legislation and codes of practice. ERO identified, and staff and trustees agree, that some procedures need to be more consistently followed and updated.

Since the 2009 ERO review, new classrooms have been built on both sites. The provision for and use of VC has been extended. This has resulted in senior students having wider subject choices and greater access to learning. VC lessons are closely supervised by staff and are linked to students’ personal learning goals and activities.

The school community maintains the school’s buildings and facilities well. The grounds are tidy and well tended. They provide suitable spaces for promoting outdoor activities for students, particularly on the Westport campus. Classrooms on both sites are well maintained and comfortable.

Staff and trustees have extended the facilities for teaching soft materials and food technology in order to meet the requirements of the New Zealand Curriculum. The teaching of hard technology takes place in a workshop located at a local business in Westport.

Trustees have plans to update and modernise the learning centres on both campuses to better provide for students’ self directed learning.

Since the previous ERO review, there has been a significant number of staff changes. The board makes considered appointments to select appropriate staff. Teachers are all fully registered. Experienced and knowledgeable teacher aides also support students' learning. Trustees need to ensure that teacher aides are appropriately supported in carrying out their work.

Teachers participate in a range of professional development activities. They are able to access these opportunities through the local and wider school networks. VC is regularly used as a way of keeping teachers up to date. All teachers attend at least one face-to-face session organised annually by national managers.

The teacher appraisal process has recently been reviewed and implemented. It meets legislative requirements and is based on the registered criteria for teachers. Teachers develop individual goals which are reflected in professional development.

At the time of this review, the campus coordinator was on leave. The position is an essential link between students, board and parents. The organisation and operation of both campuses are well managed and support good teaching and learning for students.

The school provides a suitable curriculum that reflects the philosophy of the Brethren community. Managers and teachers have adapted aspects the New Zealand Curriculum to support the school’s special character. Curriculum overviews provide teachers with clear guidelines for planning, teaching and assessment. Teachers use a good range of practices that focus students on learning. This includes interesting and meaningful topics, suitable charts and displays of student work, and programmes that meet individual and groups of students’ needs.

Students spoken with by ERO indicated they have positive learning and respectful relationships between each other and their teachers. They enjoy the incentives and competition provided through the national school awards. Staff and trustees are reviewing ways to respond better to students’ ideas, particularly from the student council.

Trustees and staff have high expectations for learning, achievement and behaviour. Teachers continue to explore different ways to extend and engage students through self-directed learning.

The campus coordinator and teachers effectively use assessment information to track students’ progress and achievement. This information is regularly shared with students and reported to parents. Trustees, managers and teachers use the data as a basis for identifying resources and students who require extra support.

The learning centre is the hub of the senior school. This supports students to reach their goals for self-directed learning .The close partnership between the school and the community is reflected in the way volunteers support students’ learning.

Students in Years 11 to 13 are closely monitored to ensure they progress and achieve well through the National Certificates of Educational Achievement.

The school continues to develop and review useful guidelines, policies and procedures to support the delivery of the school’s curriculum and student welfare and safety. ERO identified, and trustees and managers agree, the systems for supporting teaching and learning in some subject areas need to be improved.

3 Other Statutory Obligations

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.

4 Other Matters

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

5 Conclusion

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

17 January 2014

About the School

Location

West Coast

Ministry of Education profile number

472

School type

Composite (Years 3 to 15) Private School

School roll

39

Gender composition

Boys 22;

Girls 17

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

39

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

17 January 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Private School Review

Private School Review

August 2009

June 2006