Sacred Heart College (Auckland) - 21/05/2014

1 Context

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

Sacred Heart College has a significant place in New Zealand’s Catholic education history. It celebrates over 100 years of Champagnat Marist education and over 50 years of schooling on the current site in Glendowie, Auckland. The college promotes strong intergenerational family and community connections, including a highly supportive Old Boys’ network. Students are confident and are respectful of each other and staff. Older students show care and take responsibility for supporting younger boys to become fine Marist men.

The school culture, based on Marist virtues and values in action, is strengthened by the presence and involvement of Marist Brothers who live and teach on site. These aspects, along with the boarding facility, promote pride in the school and reinforce the sense of belonging and wellbeing that students, staff and parents have in their Catholic school and community. Students demonstrate a responsibility to uphold their faith, and schooling legacy and traditions.

The college continues to be a high performing educational community for boys in Years 7 to 13. The environment is attractive and school facilities have been extended to include a new auditorium, opened at the end of 2013. This space enables the whole school to come together for assemblies, celebrations and performances. Since the 2009 ERO review all classrooms have been refurbished and the Pompallier wing, housing Years 7 and 8 students, has been extended. Students' learning is enhanced by their access to good quality equipment, facilities and experiences.

The school continues to benefit from the stable and strategic leadership of the principal, senior team and board of trustees. They value external review, and use recommendations provided both by ERO and the Catholic diocese to further promote learning opportunities for students.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1, 2, and 3 continues to be very high, and is significantly higher than national norms. In 2013, students won 47 scholarships in a variety of subjects. University entrance (UE) results and NCEA qualifications with merit and excellence endorsements continue to increase. Senior leaders set targets higher than expected nationally, so that students are continually challenged to improve.

The board uses student achievement information to make well considered resourcing decisions. School leaders and teachers use a variety of data to set student achievement targets. This approach to data use is being applied increasingly well for students in Years 7 to 10.

Teachers and leaders have high expectations for all students to succeed well. Students throughout the school make very good progress and achieve to high levels. Teachers use student achievement information very well to design learning programmes that cater for students’ individual learning needs and to accelerate the progress of different groups of students.

Students in Years 7 and 8 make very good progress, with most achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s data shows that students who attend the college in Years 7 and 8 are better placed to make good progress and achieve well in Years 9 and 10 than are students who join the college from other schools at Year 9. Leaders in the intermediate area of the school are continuing to support students to understand their own learning, and to set and evaluate their own learning goals. Senior leaders and the board are now preparing to review and amend both the school’s assessment policy and the charter so that these documents include National Standards information.

Learning support for students is very well resourced and managed and has a positive impact on promoting student learning. Staff focus on removing barriers to students’ potential learning successes. They develop personalised programmes, often using digital devices that support students’ learning and help to accelerate their progress and achievement. Student progress is carefully monitored and regularly reviewed.

Participation and success in sports, culture and other co-curricular ventures are valued by students, parents and staff. Students are actively encouraged to be involved in pursuits outside the classroom. There is a high level of student engagement in the school’s spiritual life, service to the school and community, and leadership throughout the school. This involvement is seen as a way to broaden student interests and experiences, and strengthen the sense of brotherhood evident throughout the school. The school has good data to show the strong connection between student engagement in co-curricular activities and their active engagement in learning.

Senior leaders are now considering ways to further strengthen their evaluation of student achievement information. They recognise that deeper critique and questioning of information could create more powerful opportunities for spontaneous and strategic self review. Leaders of the Years 7 and 8 areas acknowledge that a key next step is to further promote opportunities for students to be self-managing learners.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad curriculum is increasingly focused on students’ interests, talents, strengths and needs. It promotes and supports student learning very effectively. In classrooms, students are settled, appropriately challenged and engage actively in their learning. They have positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Students in the senior area of the school enjoy smaller class sizes and good opportunities for individualised teacher support.

Students and school leaders value and respect teachers for their skill and expertise, and for their commitment to promoting positive outcomes for students. Teachers’ professional learning programmes and performance appraisal systems support ongoing changes to teaching practice. The school has recently introduced digital netbooks for all Year 9 students. Other students are able to bring and use their own digital devices as tools for learning. Senior leaders and curriculum leaders are supporting teachers to use this digital technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Pacific students make up 14% of the student population and the school has a strategic focus to improve and promote Pacific student engagement, progress and achievement. Pacific students achieve very well in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, and their Level 3

University Entrance (UE) achievement is significantly higher than that of Pacific students nationally. They also achieve well, and represent the school ably in, various leadership and service roles. Pacific parents connect to the school through regular fono, and through the support they provide for Pacific cultural groups and events.

Student wellbeing is a priority at Sacred Heart College. The pastoral care team ensures that high levels of care permeate all aspects of school life, promoting student and staff wellbeing and learning. Students contribute to ongoing improvements in teaching practice, curriculum development and school culture. There are many opportunities for parents to be part of the school community, to share their opinions about the school and to be involved in their sons’ learning.

Curriculum courses develop from student interests and needs. All students receive well structured careers information, guidance and support. Parent partnerships, especially for students in the upper senior school, form an integral part of decisions made as students plan for lives and careers beyond the college.

Senior managers are well positioned to strengthen their review of different aspects of the school’s curriculum and its alignment with the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. They are also keen to explore a more strategic approach to promoting teacher professional learning and leadership.

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

There are 113 Māori students at Sacred Heart College. The school is promoting Māori success very effectively and makes very good strategic decisions around leadership, staffing and resourcing. Māori students are very well supported in their learning and wellbeing. Teachers have had professional learning in te reo Māori, and Māori contexts are increasingly evident in curriculum areas.

Māori students throughout the school achieve to high levels in academic, sporting, cultural and other co-curricular pursuits. They are well represented in leadership positions, both in the school and in the school hostel. Māori students are increasingly involved in decision-making. The mana of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is promoted. Māori students are supported to reconnect with their own whānau, hapu and iwi and to respect the relevance of local iwi and history.

Māori whānau engage well in the life of the school and attend regular hui. In partnership with school leaders, whānau promote school-wide Mataariki celebrations, initiated the Year 13 kapa haka dinner and have strengthened the school’s participation in regional cultural festivals. The board and senior leaders respond to the aspirations whānau have for their sons to achieve success as Māori.

The board and senior leaders, in consultation with whānau, are now exploring ways to enhance the school-wide approach to promoting educational success for Māori, 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 and improve its performance.

The principal continues to provide students, staff and the community with strong professional leadership. The board, principal and staff are committed to promoting excellence as a culture throughout the school and to the role the school plays in helping shape boys into good Marist men.

Senior leaders are a cohesive, respectful and supportive team. They have well defined areas of leadership and steer towards meeting the school’s strategic goals. Self review is very well understood and used at different levels of the school as a tool for promoting ongoing improvement.

The board of trustees is well led and committed to the continued success of students and staff. Trustees support the school’s strategic direction. They provide effective financial management and high quality facilities. In keeping with the Champagnat Marist tradition, trustees work to ensure that all students have equal opportunities.

Provision for international students

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.

At the time of this review there were 63 international students attending the school. About 30 of the international students stay in the school’s boarding hostel. The remaining students live with homestay families or their own families.

International students receive very good levels of pastoral care and high quality education, including English and first language learning and support. The director of international students and his team help ensure that students are well known by staff and students. They have very good processes and systems for the administration and management of the international students’ programme, including effective self review to promote ongoing improvements.

Some international students are involved in the wider life of the school, such as music, sporting and cultural events. The new head of English language learning is keen to extend international students’ involvement in the school community.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The Sacred Heart College Hostel accommodates 164 students. It is owned by the Marist Brothers Trust Board. The board has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The school principal is the chief executive officer of the hostel company. The director of boarding is also the school’s director of special character.

Particular features that make Sacred Heart College Hostel a good and safe place for boys include:

  • the well considered guidance and leadership of the director of boarding and the commitment of all staff to promoting a positive hostel environment
  • clear guidelines, expectations and boundaries that help students to feel secure in their living environment
  • increased student input to hostel review and improvement
  • the strong camaraderie and caring ethos throughout the hostel environment.

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.

ERO is satisfied the college is meeting these obligations to a high standard.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey National Manager Review Services Northern Region

21 May 2014

About the School


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




South East Asian

other Pacific









Special Features

School hostel

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

21 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

June 2006

December 2002