John Paul College - 23/04/2010

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

John Paul College is located in a western suburb of Rotorua city. It is a large, co-educational, integrated Roman Catholic secondary college catering for students in Years 7 to 13. Since the last review the roll has increased to 1112 students. Fourteen percent of students are of Māori descent and four percent identify as Pacific.

A stable and highly experienced board governs the college. Trustees have implemented an ongoing review process that is focused on raising educational outcomes for students. A professional working relationship exists between the board and the principal and together they demonstrate a high level of commitment to improving school operations and teaching practice. Strategic and annual planning ensures that attractive and well resourced learning environments complement and support the college curriculum.

The widely respected principal provides high quality, professional, educational leadership for the college. He clearly articulates and leads implementation of the school’s shared vision for continuous improvement.

The school’s literacy team has a key role in the management and implementation of formative teaching strategies in the school. ERO, board trustees and senior leaders of the college have identified that continuing to embed teacher practice that meets the needs of individuals and groups of students is an ongoing priority for review and development.

Roman Catholic, Lasallian values and principles underpin all aspects of college life. Students receive an holistic education in a supportive and safe physical and emotional environment. Teachers willingly take part in a wide range of co-curricular activities to enrich learning opportunities for students. Respectful relationships between teachers and students are evident and contribute to positive educational outcomes for students.

Over the past three years, the proportion of students achieving National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 1, 2 and 3 has remained significantly above national averages and higher than in schools of similar decile. The proportion of Māori students achieving NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 qualifications is above that for Māori students nationally and has continued to improve over time. Students from the college have consistently achieved a number of awards in New Zealand Scholarship examinations and an increasing proportion of students are leaving with formal qualifications. At Years 7 to 10 most students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading and mathematics.

The college’s international students receive high quality emotional and academic support. The school hostel complies with the code and procedures and guidelines are well established.

Future Action

The board of trustees has demonstrated that it is governing the college in the interest of the students and the Crown. The board, together with the principal and college leaders, continues to focus on improving student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review within four to five years.

2. John Paul College’s Curriculum

How effectively does the curriculum of John Paul College promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement?

College context and self review

The college’s curriculum and strategic direction for 2010:

  • align it’s Catholic Lasallian character with the key competencies and values of the New Zealand curriculum;
  • identify pedagogical practice based on ‘The Best Evidence Synthesis’ as critical in improving outcomes for students;
  • prioritise literacy development, with particular emphasis on the collection and analysis of achievement information about reading, to plan for differentiated learning;
  • involve using information and communication technologies (ICT) in flexible ways to promote student learning; and
  • provide learning pathways that support and extend student progress.

Student achievement and progress

Years 7 to 10:

Student achievement is well documented at all levels. In Years 7 to 10 the college collates and analyses achievement information in reading using Supplementary Test of Achievement of Reading (STAR) and Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning (asTTle). This assessment data is used to inform student class placement and identify specific learning needs. AsTTle is also used by teachers to group students in their classrooms, to monitor and report on student progress to parents and assist the board in decision making about future resourcing.

STAR data shows that across Years 7 to 10 a significant majority of students are achieving at or above national expectations. In 2009 asTTle data indicated that increasing numbers of students were achieving at or above their expected curriculum levels by the end of the year. The college is yet to measure student achievement in writing at Years 7 to 10.

The Progressive Achievement Test (PAT) in mathematics is used to identify trends and patterns and to group students according to ability.

In Years 7 to 10, results from common topic tests, mid-year and end-of-year examination results are collected and collated in all subject areas to inform curriculum design and for reporting to parents. Heads of faculty collate and analyse this achievement information for reporting to the college’s senior leadership and the board.

Years 11 to 13:

NCEA data from 2006 to 2009 indicates that the proportion of students obtaining qualifications at Levels 1, 2 and 3 is consistently above that of students in schools of similar decile. In 2009 the proportion of students gaining merit and excellence grades at all levels was mostly at or above that of students in comparable schools. Students continue to achieve National Scholarship awards in a variety of curriculum areas. The proportion of students returning to the college in Year 13 is above that of similar schools.

Data indicates that in Years 11 to 13, the proportion of Māori students achieving NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 qualifications is above that for Māori students nationally and has consistently increased over time. Special programmes are used to raise Pacific student achievement and aspects of literacy.

Senior students have the opportunity to take Cambridge International Examinations in English and mathematics. The college supports a wide range of cultural and sporting activities and students have gained many successes at regional and national levels.

Areas of strength

Governance: The board of trustees continues to provide effective governance for the college. A high level of commitment to improving teaching practice is made explicit in the college’s annual plan. Board members are knowledgeable and well informed about curriculum design and student achievement. Effective governance, including a strong focus on college self review, is enabling ongoing improvement to be sustained.

Learning environment: Sound strategic planning and financial management by the board ensures the development of facilities and resources to enrich the learning environment and curriculum. Teachers and students are able to work in attractively presented classrooms and a range of high quality specialist facilities that include ICT resources. Identified curriculum priorities such as literacy, e learning, and provision for a wide range of learning pathways are well catered for in this modern and well-equipped educational environment.

Principal’s leadership: The principal is providing knowledgeable and well informed leadership for the college community. A strong strategic planning process using information gathered through self review is led by the principal, in close liaison with the board. He is highly respected and clearly articulates direction for the implementation of the college’s identified priorities. Under his professional leadership a shared vision for continuous improvement is evident. The principal is highly respected within the college and wider professional educational communities.

Management and use of student achievement information: College leaders are making effective use of student achievement data to inform self review. NCEA data is used to make decisions about appropriate learning pathways for students. AsTTle and STAR achievement information in reading for Years 7 to 10 students is provided to all teachers to plan differentiated learning programmes in all curriculum areas. Collated student achievement data is reported to parents, the Māori community and the Pacific community. Achievement patterns and trends are identified and used by the board and management to reflect on and improve priorities for curriculum design and delivery for the benefit of students.

Learning support: The board prioritises additional learning support for students identified with high and moderate learning needs at all year levels. The learning centre is a focal point in the college, where students receive one-to-one tuition from support personnel. Achievement data shows that specialist programmes have been effective in raising students’ reading levels. These interventions are enabling students to achieve greater success with their learning.

Literacy development: A major priority is the development of a college-wide approach to improving literacy teaching and learning in Years 7 to 10. The literacy team is well established and works closely with the principal and board towards achieving annual goals in literacy. External and internal support provides professional learning and assistance for teachers in the use of teaching strategies to raise student achievement in reading. The literacy committee provides teachers and heads of faculty with ongoing professional learning that assists students in their language development.

Professional learning: Since the previous education review the college has successfully promoted the development of effective teaching and learning. The professional learning model includes several key appointments of staff, and regular observations of teaching practice and conferencing to enhance teaching. Teachers are increasingly sharing aspects of their practice and considering formative learning strategies to enhance their teaching and engage students in their learning. Examples of formative strategies used by teachers were the sharing of learning intentions, using open questioning techniques and providing relevant feedback and feed forward. Students in these classrooms were enthusiastic and engaged in learning.

College culture: A strong Catholic faith, underpinned by Lasallian values of service and community ensures that the diverse interests and needs of students of all cultures and abilities are being catered for. The cultural values of all students are recognised in the college’s inclusive environment for learning. There is a strong emphasis on supporting the holistic development of students through effective pastoral and healthcare networks. Students have access to career and guidance counsellors, deans and a variety of external professionals. Mutually respectful relationships contribute to a settled environment for teaching and learning.

Curriculum: The college continues to be responsive to the varied learning interests and aspirations of students, through its curriculum design. Students are able to access a range of academic as well as vocational studies and are well supported to plan for tertiary education and employment opportunities. There is a high level of teacher involvement in an extensive range of co-curricular programmes and activities. Many students achieve high levels of success in the performing arts, and in range of sporting codes, both regionally and nationally.

Te reo me öna tikanga Māori: The Hoani Paora Whare Tapere is a central feature in the college and appropriately sited in the grounds. It celebrates Ngāti Whakaue tikanga and provides strong Māoritanga within the college.

The regular meetings by the Māori advisory committee are significant in building ongoing relationships with local iwi and ensuring the aspirations of parents and whānau are being fulfilled. Initiatives for Māori students have been extended and include recognition of success of Māori students as Māori, a Māori perspective in assemblies and co-curricular activities such as sport and kapa haka. Māori students are benefiting from this strong focus on tikanga Māori and raising academic achievement.

The newly appointed teacher of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori is providing strong leadership in revitalising te reo Māori curriculum design and encourages senior Māori students to be positive role models for other students.

Support for Pacific students: The Pacific Island group of teachers and support staff are effectively working together to raise levels of student engagement and achievement. The coordinator of the fono group has worked with the principal and board to establish a liaison role to provide communication between the college and home. Specific literacy programmes to raise achievement are available to students and recent meetings with parents and fono are contributing to improved attendance and support for Pacific students. These college initiatives are strengthening Pacific student engagement and contribute to further developing home and college partnerships.

International students and English speakers of other languages: The college has 45 international students who receive high quality care and academic support. Procedures and guidelines are well established and used as necessary to monitor attendance and ensure student welfare. All international students and those who are English speakers of other languages (ESOL) are provided with individualised learning programmes to assist them with their development in English and other subject choices. These students from different cultural backgrounds are benefiting from one-to-one assistance and small group, interactive learning sessions.

Areas for development and review

ERO, trustees and senior leaders of the college have identified that continuing to embed teacher pedagogical understanding is an ongoing priority. Key aspects for further development include:

  • developing the leadership of learning across the college;
  • aligning college priorities with teacher performance goals;
  • continuing professional development in the use of formative assessment strategies; and
  • reviewing the place of writing in the design and delivery of the literacy programme.

Attention to these matters is likely to support achievement of the college’s vision of building a professional learning community based on strengthening teaching practices to raise student achievement.

3. Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of John Paul College completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

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

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

Future Action

The board of trustees has demonstrated that it is governing the college in the interest of the students and the Crown. The board, together with the principal and college leaders, continues to focus on improving student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review within four to five years.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the College

College type

State Integrated Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

College roll

1112

Number of international students

45

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā 66%; New Zealand Māori 14%; Pacific 4%; Korean 3%; Other 9%; Indian 2%; Filipino 2%

Special features

Hostel

Review team on site

February 2010

Date of this report

23 April 2010

Previous three ERO reports

Education Review October 2007

Education Review October 2004

Accountability Review May 2000

To the Parents and Community of John Paul College

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on John Paul College.

John Paul College is located in a western suburb of Rotorua city. It is a large, co-educational, integrated Roman Catholic secondary college catering for students in Years 7 to 13. Since the last review the roll has increased to 1112 students. Fourteen percent of students are of Māori descent and four percent identify as Pacific.

A stable and highly experienced board governs the college. Trustees have implemented an ongoing review process that is focused on raising educational outcomes for students. A professional working relationship exists between the board and the principal and together they demonstrate a high level of commitment to improving school operations and teaching practice. Strategic and annual planning ensures that attractive and well resourced learning environments complement and support the college curriculum.

The widely respected principal provides high quality, professional, educational leadership for the college. He clearly articulates and leads implementation of the school’s shared vision for continuous improvement.

The school’s literacy team has a key role in the management and implementation of formative teaching strategies in the school. ERO, board trustees and senior leaders of the college have identified that continuing to embed teacher practice that meets the needs of individuals and groups of students is an ongoing priority for review and development.

Roman Catholic, Lasallian values and principles underpin all aspects of college life. Students receive an holistic education in a supportive and safe physical and emotional environment. Teachers willingly take part in a wide range of co-curricular activities to enrich learning opportunities for students. Respectful relationships between teachers and students are evident and contribute to positive educational outcomes for students.

Over the past three years, the proportion of students achieving National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 1, 2 and 3 has remained significantly above national averages and higher than in schools of similar decile. The proportion of Māori students achieving NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 qualifications is above that for Māori students nationally and has continued to improve over time. Students from the college have consistently achieved a number of awards in New Zealand Scholarship examinations and an increasing proportion of students are leaving with formal qualifications. At Years 7 to 10 most students are achieving at or above expected levels in reading and mathematics.

The college’s international students receive high quality emotional and academic support. The school hostel complies with the code and procedures and guidelines are well established.

Future Action

The board of trustees has demonstrated that it is governing the college in the interest of the students and the Crown. The board, together with the principal and college leaders, continues to focus on improving student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO is likely to carry out the next review within four to five years.

Review Coverage

This report provides an evaluation of how effectively the college’s curriculum promotes student learning: engagement, progress and achievement. ERO’s evaluation takes account of the college’s previous reporting history and is based on;

  • what is known about student achievement information, including the achievement of Māori and Pacific students;
  • decisions made to improve student achievement using the information; and
  • teaching strategies and programmes implemented to give effect to the college’s curriculum.

ERO’s review is responsive to the college’s context. For example, when ERO reviews a college, it takes into account the characteristics of the community, from which it draws its students, its location, and the aspirations the community has for its young people, and relevant local factors.

ERO also builds on the college’s own self-review information. That is, ERO is interested in how a college monitors the progress of its students and aspects of college life and culture, and how it uses this information.

ERO also gathers information during the review to contribute to its reports on national education evaluation topics. Comments relevant to this college are included in the report. The national reports are published on ERO’s website.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the college or see the ERO website, www.ero.govt.nz.

Richard Thornton

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

General Information About Reviews

About ERO

ERO is an independent, external evaluation agency that undertakes reviews of colleges and early childhood services throughout New Zealand.

About ERO Reviews

ERO follows a set of standard procedures to conduct reviews. The purpose of each review is to:

  • improve educational achievement in colleges; and
  • provide information to parents, communities and the government.

Reviews are intended to focus on student achievement and build on each college’s self review.

Review Focus

ERO’s framework for reviewing and reporting integrates the following.

  • college curriculum;
  • national evaluation topics –contribute to the development of education policies and their effective implementation; and
  • Board Assurance Statement, including student and staff health and safety.

It also integrates external review with college self review by taking the most useful aspects from external and self review to build a picture of the college and its context.

This helps ERO to answer the major evaluation question for reviews:

How effectively does this college’s curriculum promote student learning: engagement, progress and achievement?

Areas for Development and Review

ERO reports include areas for development and review to support on-going improvement by identifying priorities. Often the college will have identified these matters through its own self review and already plans further development in those areas.