Our Lady of Lourdes School (P North) - 05/02/2016

Findings

Our Lady of Lourdes School is a positive environment for students and their families. Most students achieve well. Recent plans highlight development of the school’s curriculum to improve the response to Māori and Pacific learners' cultures, languages and identities. Building a collective knowledge of internal evaluation should strengthen processes to promote ongoing school improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Context

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

Our Lady of Lourdes School is a state integrated Catholic school in Palmerston North. Of the 141 students in Years 1 to 6, 19% identify as Māori and 14% as Pacific. The welcoming environment is characterised by friendliness, openness and respect for students, parents, whānau and aiga.

Events and celebrations are inclusive of parents, families and whānau recognising the school’s special character. Information evenings are held for parents new to the school. The outcome of students’ learning is shared and celebrated. The Reading Together programme supports families to assist with literacy learning at home.

Extensive refurbishment of classrooms is currently being undertaken to enhance the environment and further develop student engagement in learning.

Stable leadership and governance articulate a shared vision for student success through their strategic goals. Staff and the wider parish and school community contribute purposefully in the school.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history.

2 Learning

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

Assessment information is used appropriately to make a positive change to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Achievement information at the end of 2014 showed most students, including Māori, achieved at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Pacific students achieved slightly lower levels in reading and mathematics and similar to their peers in writing. Collated mid-year data shows most students on track to meet the National Standards by the end of 2015.

Teachers moderate assessment data to inform overall teacher judgements about students' achievement in relation to the National Standards. To strengthen moderation practice teachers should:

seek to moderate externally with other schools to ensure consistency of assessment judgements

develop guidelines to inform a shared interpretation of data when making overall teacher judgements against the National Standards.

Teachers work well together to reflect on the progress and achievement of individuals. Data is well used to determine and plan for the learning needs of students.

Annual achievement targets are developed by school leaders and trustees to plan for students working toward achieving the National Standards. The lead team gathers data at the end of each year to consider priorities for the coming year.

As a next step leaders and trustees should use this information to establish targets for specific groups requiring accelerated progress to meet the National Standards. Targeting these groups should inform actions that closely align to learners’ needs. Strengthening this process is likely to provide evidence for evaluation of the effectiveness of the strategies used.

The lead team suitably tracks, monitors and reports student progress and achievement during the year. Trustees receive information to guide their decision making. Leaders support teachers to collaboratively reflect on student outcomes and establish next learning steps.

Well-designed writing and mathematics rubrics encourage students to self-assess their current learning needs. The school is seeking to develop this process.

Families, whānau and aiga receive appropriate information about their child’s progress and achievement. Written reports and conferences between the teacher, families and students are used to share progress and next learning steps. Staff are available informally to meet with parents and discuss students' learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum successfully promotes student learning. An ongoing priority for the leaders, teachers and trustees is to strengthen the curriculum response to Māori and Pacific learners’ culture, language and identity.

The school’s special character underpins the curriculum. The mission, vision and values are well established by the whole community. Key competencies are defined and fostered. The virtues programme establishes a collective focus on the desired characteristics and attitudes for students and the school community.

Students are well engaged in the classroom. They participate in a wide range of experiences to motivate and encourage learning and engagement at school. Information from students is used to decide on themes for integrated inquiry. Individuals identified with special abilities are provided with extension in the classroom, opportunities to participate in external competitions and group projects.

Students requiring additional support are appropriately identified and a range of programmes and initiatives put in place to support their learning.

Students access relevant digital technology as a tool to motivate and support their learning. Completion of a fitness circuit demonstrates the school's commitment to promoting students' physical education.

As identified in the 2012 ERO review, curriculum documents continue to provide comprehensive guidance to teachers.

Information gathered by leaders shows that Pacific students are positive and enjoy school. The Pasifika Success Talanoa Action Plan has been developed to raise student achievement and strengthen the school’s curriculum response to Pacific learners. These goals align to the national strategy documented in the Pasifika Education Plan: 2013-2017. To strengthen the potential for improvement, leaders and trustees should consider developing the action plan further to clearly show how the actions will be implemented and include outcome indicators to provide an explicit basis for internal evaluation of the plan's success.

Leaders demonstrate a sound understanding of teaching strengths and areas for further development. Coaching, mentoring and peer observations encourage teacher reflection, and share and guide practice. Leaders have usefully identified areas to further extend the scope and depth of their performance management processes.

Teaching as inquiry is an integral part of teachers’ appraisal evidence. This established process leads to practices focused on improving outcomes for students. It is timely for the lead team to further strengthen teacher’s evaluative knowledge when using this process.

Students' transition into and through the school, and at the end of Year 6, is well considered.

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

Contexts for learning, predominantly in religious education and inquiry learning make culturally appropriate connections for Māori learners. As identified in the 2012 ERO report, students continue to participate in kapa haka and in whānau groups.

An increased response to promoting Māori students' culture, language and identity across the curriculum is required. An action plan has been developed. Goals reflect a strategic intent to build practice and strengthen the curriculum.

To strengthen planning and evaluation, leaders and trustees should consider deciding measurable outcomes in relation to the goals, and aligning internal evaluation processes to regularly review progress against the action plan. Accessing external support to build internal capability should also be considered to achieve a comprehensive response to the actions contained in the plan.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain its performance and build internal evaluation capability to promote further improvement.

Trustees demonstrate a commitment to student success by providing appropriate resources to support learning. Clear roles and responsibilities guide governance practice. As a next step, they should strengthen annual planning to guide improvement and support improved internal evaluation.

Families, whānau and aiga are valuable contributors to their child’s learning. They receive regular information to support their understanding of teaching and curriculum practice. Strengthening partnerships with Māori and Pacific should be undertaken to progress the school's action plans.

Leaders purposefully guide teaching and learning. They foster development to meet trustees’ and the community’s vision for student success. The principal promotes and encourages emerging and current leaders’ practice. To further strengthen outcomes, leaders, teachers and trustees should develop their knowledge and understanding of effective internal evaluation.

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

Our Lady of Lourdes School is a positive environment for students and their families. Most students achieve well. Recent plans highlight development of the school’s curriculum to improve the response to Māori and Pacific learners' cultures, languages and identities. Building a collective knowledge of internal evaluation should strengthen processes to promote ongoing school improvement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

2416

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

141

Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

55%

19%

14%

12%

Special features

Catholic special character, state integrated

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

5 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2012

December 2008

February 2006