St Margaret's College

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Education institution number:
333
School type:
Composite
School gender:
Single Sex (Girls School)
Definition:
School with Boarding Facilities
Total roll:
829
Telephone:
Address:

12 Winchester Street, Merivale, Christchurch

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Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that St Margaret's College 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.

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

St Margaret’s College is an independent school founded on the Anglican faith. It is located in Merivale, close to central city Christchurch. The college is governed by a Trust Board and provides education for girls from Years 1 to 13. There is also a pre-school onsite, which supports a planned approach to transition to school and allows young children to access school facilities and resources.

The college continues to meet the criteria for registration as a private school.

Suitable Curriculum and Tuition

St Margaret’s College is a school community that is founded on the Anglican Christian values of honesty, integrity, loyalty, caring and compassion which fosters a holistic approach to learning. There is a strong focus on girls’ spiritual and emotional wellbeing as well as their academic success. A family-like atmosphere contributes to a supportive and inclusive environment. Respectful and positive interactions between staff and students are clearly evident. The college maintains close links with the parent and past pupil communities.

Teaching and learning is underpinned by a coherent, well-structured curriculum that reflects the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Dual academic pathways for senior girls provide a choice of qualifications, with both National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma offered. Each pathway is equally valued and expectations for achievement are consistently high.

The college is strongly focused on supporting girls to attain academic excellence. Considered and planned transitions between the three levels of the college provide a cohesive pathway. Successful learning foundations are established in the junior years and are extended through the middle school. The college has consistently gained very high levels of NCEA achievement over time. There are very high rates of achievement of University Entrance. A high majority of IB Diploma candidates have gained the qualification.

Girls are highly engaged in learning and benefit from a holistic education. They are provided with programmes that are flexible and responsive to their individual learning needs, strengths and interests. Staff enable girls to take responsibility for their own learning and they are encouraged to develop a sense of self-efficacy. Well-constructed, regular feedback about learning strengths and improvement priorities supports girls to achieve their academic, personal and wellbeing goals. Student, parent and community voice is highly valued and used to inform decision making by the Trust Board, leaders and teachers.

The college’s many specific and targeted programmes encourage working together as a community to help girls develop a sense of empathy, resilience and personal responsibility. The broad range of extra-curricular activities extends learning experiences and provides opportunities for older and younger girls to work together. A high proportion of girls are involved in the many opportunities available for leadership, sporting activities and the performing arts.

School leaders need to continue to strengthen bicultural practices and programmes across the college.

Suitable staffing

The college provides suitable staffing and standards of tuition. All teachers are qualified and registered.

A robust performance management process is consistently applied across the college. There is a strong focus on individual accountability and appropriate support for teachers is provided. Leaders ensure the appraisal system is in line with the Education Council requirements and current best practices.

The teaching inquiry process is used as a deliberate focus for raising awareness about student and staff wellbeing. This is helping to ensure a cohesive and collective approach to building shared understandings about current strengths and future improvement priorities. Teachers’ professional learning and development is clearly aligned to the college’s priorities and future direction. Good use is made of individual staff strengths across the life of the college.

Since the last ERO review, a new executive principal and some senior leaders and staff have been appointed. The executive principal has overall responsibility for the college and preschool.

Suitable premises and equipment

The Trust Board has continued the extensive rebuild of its buildings and facilities that were damaged due to the 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes. As part of this process the Trust Board has ensured that the premises best meet the current and future educational and extra-curricular needs of St Margaret’s College learners.

The college grounds and facilities are attractive and well maintained. High quality resources and specialist facilities enables a wide range of opportunities to extend girls’ learning across and beyond regular curriculum areas. Many of the college’s facilities are well utilised by the wider community, which supports the focus of girls engaging with service and giving back to the community. Systems for monitoring and reviewing health and safety provisions for staff and students are thorough.

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

3 Other Obligations

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

4 Other Matters

Provision for international students

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

At the time of this review there were 19 international students attending the college, including 4 exchange students. All of the international students enrolled at the college must either live at the hostel or in the care of their parents.

This review confirms that the college’s systems, processes and practices to support international students are robust. Strong pastoral care provisions support international students’ learning and wellbeing. International students are well integrated into life at the college. The effectiveness of the learning programmes is evident in the achievement of the girls during their time at St Margaret’s. The Dean of International Students is focused on increasing understanding and sharing of best practices through maintaining a close network with international student staff at other local independent schools.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, St Margaret’s College, accommodates 132 students, 16% of the school roll. It is owned by the St Margaret’s Trust Board. The hostel owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

Hostel girls experience high levels of care and support for their physical and emotional wellbeing. They have access to many college facilities outside of school hours. The hostel is effectively managed and there is regular communication between the hostel and school staff which ensures a holistic understanding of each individual boarder. College leaders and hostel staff are highly responsive to feedback from the girls. They are continually identifying ways in which to upgrade and improve aspects of hostel life to best meet the needs of boarders.

5 Conclusion

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

24 October 2018

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

333

School type

Private Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

807

Number of international students

19

Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Other ethnicities

4%

85%

6%

5%

Special features

Boarding hostel (Years 7-13)

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

24 October 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Private School Review
Private School Review
Private School Review

June 2013
January 2009
December 2005

Findings

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that St Margaret’s College 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.

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

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

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

d)has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school

e)has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents

f)has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F

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

St Margaret’s College is an independent, Year 1 to 13 girls’ school located in inner city Christchurch. The school maintains a strong recognition and enactment of the Anglican faith. In the school and the on-site hostel, students experience a family-like environment where they feel welcome and supported by adults and their peers. School values of honesty, integrity, loyalty, caring and compassion are fostered to promote students’ holistic development.

Since the 2009 ERO report, the board is once again, providing education from Year 1. The school now comprises a junior, middle and senior school. Significant progress has been achieved in developing the curriculum in both the junior and middle school to promote students’ learning and thinking skills. A programme has been specifically introduced at Year 10 to promote students’ spiritual, emotional, social and leadership development.

The school’s curriculum provides students with very good opportunities for developing as independent learners. It incorporates the New Zealand Curriculum and offers students two qualifications pathways: National Certificates in Educational Achievement (NCEA) and International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) at senior levels. The curriculum meets the range of students’ needs and interests and is very well taught. There are good provisions for supporting students with learning needs and for challenging and extending capable learners. Small class sizes, particularly in the junior school, help teachers to cater well for students with different needs and abilities.

Features of the school’s curriculum and the standard of tuition are the:

  • teachers showing a willingness to continue learning, including from their students
  • focus on academic excellence with programmes that challenge students
  • emphasis on critical reflection on learning by students and teachers
  • extensive range of extra and co curricular activities.

The school provides opportunities for students to learn te reo Māori. A kaumatua supports teachers and students in their bicultural understandings. A Māori student leadership position, amokura, has been established. The school is continuing to strengthen, and make its bicultural programme more obvious. A draft strategic plan has been developed to provide direction for the future.

The school leaders use annual curriculum reviews to focus on improving teacher practice. Professional development for teachers focuses on improving teaching and meeting the needs of all students. The school has set a goal to reflect on the impact that changes made to teaching practice have on student learning.

Students continue to achieve at high levels in external examinations. Results in IB compare very favourably with international benchmarks. Girls receive endorsements and scholarships in the senior school at similar rates to other high decile girls' schools. Māori students achieve well in NCEA up to Level 3. Students’ progress is carefully monitored at all levels. Teachers work in partnership with parents, keeping them well informed about their daughter’s progress.

The board and executive principal have worked effectively to meet the challenges as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes. They continue to provide suitable premises, equipment and resources to support learning programmes. The building programme has been accelerated as a result of losing 80% of the school’s buildings. New facilities for teaching and learning have already been opened, including a new library e-learning centre, ten classrooms and gymnasium. The new chapel/auditorium was dedicated and opened during the ERO review. Further building is planned.

Classrooms are well resourced. Information and communication technologies (ICT) are extensively used in classrooms by both teachers and students to promote digital learning.

The executive principal and senior leaders provide strong professional leadership. There are high expectations for the effective delivery of the curriculum and good systems for ensuring standards are maintained. The professional learning and development programme is closely linked to the school’s strategic priorities.

Students and teachers are actively involved in the life of the school. This is evident in the opportunities available for leadership roles for students within the classrooms and across the school’s many programmes. Parents are well informed about the curriculum and programmes provided for their children through the school’s website and documents. They receive useful, specific reports that outline students’ achievements, strengths and contribution to the life of the school.

Trustees provide highly effective governance. They have a range of complementary skills and expertise and work well together to sustain development. The school has rigorous processes and policies to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff. The trust board regularly reviews the effectiveness of its policies.

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.

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 met.

4 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school provides effective, individualised programmes for international students. Most of these students are accommodated in the school hostel where they receive a very good standard of care. International students take a full part in school life, both in the hostel and the school, including participating in cultural, sporting, social and leadership opportunities. Processes for managing and record keeping in regard to the care and education of these students have been improved in response to the findings of the 2009 ERO report.

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. At the time of this review, there were eight international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

Provision for students in the school hostel

St Margaret’s College boarding house accommodates 158 students, about 20% of the school roll. It is owned by the St Margaret’s College Board of Trustees. The hostel is licensed for a maximum of 178 female boarders from 10 to 18 years of age and operated seven days a week. There are three boarding houses: Julius House has students from Years 7 to 10, Kilburn House includes students in Years 11 to 13, and Cranmer House caters for students in Year 13 in more independent living arrangements.

The boarding house provides comfortable accommodation that strongly reflects the special character and vision of the school. The board is well assured of the quality of care by regular reports from the executive principal on behalf of the director of boarding. Parents, trustees and students all have good opportunities to give feedback and suggestions for continually improving the quality of the service.

Particular strengths of the boarding house are the:

  • family-like atmosphere where students from all levels mix well and support each other
  • educational programmes in the houses tailored to the needs and interests of students at different levels
  • leadership and management that focuses on people and fosters positive relationships
  • emphasis given to monitoring the emotional and physical health of the girls
  • extensive provision for physical safety in emergency situations, such as during the earthquakes experienced during 2010 to 2012
  • effective support girls receive in their learning through the well supervised study, adult and peer tutors, and access to school facilities.

Conclusion

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

19 June 2013

About the School

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

333

School type

Private Composite (Years 1 to 13)

School roll

643

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Girls 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European / Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

European

Middle Eastern

540

25

6

35

32

3

Special Features

Boarding hostel (Years 7-13)

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

19 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review
Private School Review
Private School Review

January 2009
December 2005
February 2003