Aidanfield Christian School

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School Context

Aidanfield Christian School in Christchurch is a co-educational, Year 1-10, special character school that is part of the Christian Schools’ Community of Learning/Kāhui Ako. The school has a growing and ethnically diverse roll. There are currently 345 students on the roll. The school has 24 international students.

The recently reviewed vision is for ‘Quality Education based on a Biblical Christian Worldview’. This is enacted by ‘weaving the threads of Biblical, Relational and Transformative’ through the goals for learners to be ‘Academically Able, Relationally Focused, Culturally Competent and Missionally Minded’. The valued outcomes are for students to be ‘growing wisdom and stature through character, purpose and learning’.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress, accelerated progress and achievement of priority groups
  • progress in relation to strategic goals and targets
  • outcomes related to wellbeing for success.

Since the 2015 Education Review Office report, there have been changes to both the Board of Trustees and the senior management team.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most students. School data for 2017 and 2018 shows that most students achieved at or above expected curriculum levels in mathematics. A large majority of students achieved at or above expected curriculum levels in writing, but in 2018 girls’ achievement in writing was better than that of boys. The majority of students achieved at or above expected curriculum levels in reading.

The school has a strong focus on wellbeing for all students. The development of the emotional and social competencies embodied in their valued outcomes of character, purpose, and learning are monitored through the curriculum and reported to parents.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is effective in accelerating learning for most students whose learning is at risk or who have additional learning needs. School data shows that most of these students make accelerated progress over time.

There are a large number of students for whom English is a second language and these students are very well supported through specialist teachers and programmes to make accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Children benefit from a broad, localised curriculum firmly based in the school’s Christian character. It is strongly referenced to school’s the valued outcomes of ‘Learning, Purpose and Character’ and to the New Zealand Curriculum, and increasingly to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The carefully scaffolded, flexible curriculum framework supports programmes and planning that are responsive to the individual needs, cultures and identities of students.

Comprehensive data is gathered and analysed on the learning and wellbeing of all students. Students requiring additional support are identified, closely monitored and well supported through a range of tailored interventions. There are clear expectations for learning and behaviour and well considered, personalised transitions for students into, through and beyond the school.

Trustees and senior leaders provide strong, collaborative leadership. They effectively promote a shared vision and the alignment of a strong moral imperative that drives decision-making, behaviour and practices across all aspects of the school.

Considered communication and sharing of information, and the intentional building of leadership capacity across the staff, support leaders and staff to take collective responsibility for the learning and wellbeing needs of all students. Effective collaboration and strong relational trust provide an holistic framework for improving outcomes for students.

Respectful, reciprocal relationships are actively and consistently fostered. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and to care for others. Parents are valued and respected as partners in learning and in the life of the school. Families from diverse cultural backgrounds are welcomed and well supported. The school has strong and purposeful links with the wider Christian community and benefits from a shared sense of purpose and targeted professional development through the Kāhui Ako.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Leaders and teachers have a clear understanding of the importance of Aotearoa New Zealand’s bicultural context. They have taken part in useful professional development to grow their understanding and have a curriculum that is increasingly responsive.

Trustees and leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the school needs to continue to give prominence to bicultural perspectives and practices in all aspects of the school, building on the work already begun to increase understanding of te reo, tikanga and te ao Māori.

Teachers have begun to examine how they can support students to have a greater understanding of their own learning in a scaffolded and coherent way that also respects the school’s special character. They agree that students would benefit from having more understanding of their own learning and thus be able to contribute to decisions about this and about the wider life of the school.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

Aidanfield Christian School is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s processes for reviewing compliance against the code are robust, well documented and lead to change where needed.

At the time of this review there were 24 international students attending the school. International students are welcomed and supported to be integrated into the life of the school. Key staff members work with the students to identify their needs and their goals. The school provides extensive language support and specialist staff monitor students’ wellbeing and engagement.

4 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board 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 the following:

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

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Aidanfield Christian School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • effective leadership that ensures a strong, cohesive alignment of vision, purpose, values and practice, with an unrelenting focus on equitable and excellent outcomes for students

  • strong relationships within and beyond the school that enhance developmental opportunities for both children and staff and support learning and wellbeing

  • a broad, responsive and localised curriculum that integrates the school’s special Christian character and the New Zealand Curriculum, increasingly honours the Treaty of Waitangi and provides comprehensive support for all children’s learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to give prominence to bicultural perspectives and practices in all aspects of the school to better reflect the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand and support the learning and wellbeing of Māori students

  • empowering students to better understand their own learning so that they can play a greater part in decisions about this and about wider school issues.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

20 December 2019

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

82

School type

Special character Years 1 – 10

School roll

345

Gender composition

Female 44%

Male 56%

Ethnic composition

Māori 3%

NZ European Pākehā 45%

Asian 41%

Pacific 2%

Other ethnicities 9%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

20 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2015

Education Review November 2011

Findings

The school’s special Christian character is clearly evident in the life of the school and in the curriculum. Most students are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards.

There is strong leadership and governance, a strong commitment to the school’s special character and a focus on providing students with the best possible education.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

The special Christian character is clearly evident in the life of the school and in the curriculum. Strong links with other Christian schools provide good opportunities for enhancing student learning.

The roll is growing steadily and demand is increasing as new neighbouring housing subdivisions are established. The school has made ongoing improvements to facilities and staff numbers have increased. An expansion in the numbers of students from different cultures is contributing to an enriched school culture and benefiting students' learning.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the school has retained and built on its strengths. The board and leaders have responded to recommendations from the 2011 ERO report in ways that have led to ongoing school improvement.

2 Learning

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

The school is making very good use of student achievement information to identify students’ learning needs and to plan programmes that support them to progress and achieve.

Most students, including Māori students, are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. They are achieving better than students in similar schools at regional and national levels.

The improved access to student achievement information is supporting leaders and teachers to:

  • systematically gather, analyse and record student achievement data school wide
  • show progress and achievement of particular groups of students over time
  • set challenging targets for raising student achievement
  • prepare informative and accurate reports to the board.

The increasing numbers of students identified with a range of diverse learning needs are effectively helped by a well-managed and varied range of additional support. This support is very well implemented.

Parents receive detailed and informative reports about students’ progress and achievement. Good opportunities are provided for discussions between the teachers and parents.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It provides students with a varied range of learning opportunities. Teachers’ efforts to make learning meaningful are helping to engage students in learning.

Senior leaders and teachers have made significant and appropriate updates to the school’s curriculum. Features of the curriculum and teaching programmes include:

  • the clear link to the New Zealand Curriculum
  • the active promotion of the school’s special character and its learning model
  • a strong focus on learning attitudes, skills and values
  • a growing awareness about learning progressions for students.

Relationships and interactions between teachers and students are positive and inclusive. Classrooms are well-presented and organised spaces for learning. Teachers strongly support student wellbeing.

ERO confirmed the principal’s judgements about the quality of programmes and teaching practices. The majority of teachers make consistent use of a range of teaching strategies that are known to promote student learning. These include:

  • making the purpose of learning clear to students
  • providing students with regular feedback
  • good opportunities for both individual support and cooperative learning
  • skilful questioning and well-paced lessons.

Leaders and teachers actively seek student opinion. Students indicate they enjoy their learning when it is fun, purposeful and includes aspects that are challenging.

The school has well-established processes for students starting at, and leaving, the school. The principal and senior leaders actively seek feedback from school leavers and deliberate use is made of this information for improvement.

Teachers are putting an appropriate emphasis on establishing learning partnerships with parents.

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

The board, principal and teachers are taking deliberate actions to increase the focus on learning for Māori students about their identity, culture and language, and teaching of te reo and tikanga Māori in class programmes. This includes:

  • teachers taking greater responsibility for incorporating aspects of biculturalism into their programmes.
  • developing strong collaborative relationships with the parents of Māori students
  • building purposeful relationships and links with a local marae.

The establishment of the kapa haka group and the use of pōwhiri are contributing to building students’ identity and confidence to succeed as Māori.

ERO agrees with the principal’s and whānau goal of continuing to build on the initiatives that are supporting Māori students to succeed as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain its performance. There is an ongoing pattern of school improvement. Such improvement is an outcome of strong leadership and governance, a strong commitment to the school’s special character and a focus on providing students with the best possible education.

The principal’s leadership has been a critical factor in ongoing school improvement. He has high expectations, gives appropriate priority to raising student achievement and makes well-considered decisions.

The school’s strong leadership team works collaboratively towards common goals. Mentoring and coaching is enhancing leadership skills and work. Leaders are providing effective leadership to teaching teams.

Staff members have opportunities to use their strengths and undertake responsibilities. This is growing their capacity to lead and building more sustainable leadership practices.

There is good evidence of collaboration and teamwork amongst teachers. Teachers receive well-considered feedback through the strengthened appraisal system to support ongoing improvements to their teaching practice.

Improvements to curriculum self review have led to reviews being more robust and useful for improving the quality of teaching and learning.

The board governs the school effectively. Trustees and senior leaders work in partnership. Strategic and annual goals provide good direction.

Trustees bring a wide range of skills and experiences to their role. Participation in governance training is enhancing the board's work. Regular self reviews and informative reports to the board help trustees to make well-informed decisions.

The board and school leaders encourage strong links with their community. These links are fostered through good communication and regular meetings with various parent groups.

Areas for review and development

ERO agrees with the priorities the board and the principal have established for promoting ongoing school improvement. These include further embedding and building on initiatives related to:

  • the school’s curriculum and curriculum reviews
  • promoting high-quality teaching through better use of achievement information, promoting student independence and reflective practices
  • extending the use of technologies to support teaching and learning.

As part of the school’s ongoing curriculum development, improvements need to be made to career education.

Provision for international students

The school doesn’t currently have any international students enrolled, but some short stay visits have occurred.

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. 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.

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.

Conclusion

The school’s special Christian character is clearly evident in the life of the school and in the curriculum. Most students are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the National Standards.

There is strong leadership and governance, a strong commitment to the school’s special character and a focus on providing students with the best possible education.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Office-Southern

13 February 2015

School Statistics

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

82

School type

Composite (Years 1 to 10)

School roll

244

Gender composition

Girls 112

Boys 132

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Asian

Cook Island

Other ethnicities

57%

7%

10%

1%

25%

Review team on site

December 2014

Date of this report

13 February 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

November 2011

October 2008

August 2007