St Francis Xavier Catholic School (Whangarei) - 18/01/2018

School Context

St Francis Xavier Catholic School (Whangarei), caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The school roll of approximately 530 students includes 24 percent Māori, 2 percent Pacific, 6 percent Filipino and a variety of other ethnicities.

The school’s mission is to provide an education that meets the needs of each individual child. The Gospel values of honesty, compassion, service, love, and forgiveness underpin the mission. These values are well understood and are shared by parents, teachers and students.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs, including those who are gifted and talented students

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets

  • outcomes related to engagement and wellbeing

  • outcomes related to identity, culture and language

  • the special character of the school’s curriculum.

Since ERO’s 2014 report, school leadership and stewardship have remained stable. Staff have participated in professional learning in the teaching of mathematics and writing to increase their capability to make positive changes for learners.

St Francis Xavier Catholic School is part of Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Group 1 Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL). The CoL is focused on improving student wellbeing and achievement.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

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

The school is successful in working towards equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Overall school data show consistently high levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

As a group there is disparity in achievement for Māori. However, by Year 6 Māori students have progressed well enough to reduce this disparity. Pacific students achieve well. Their achievement levels in reading, writing and mathematics are similar to that of the school population.

School literacy data show some disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement. Raising boys’ achievement in literacy is a schoolwide target, and is also being considered as an achievement focus across the CoL.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Most students:

  • demonstrate confidence in themselves as learners

  • are confident in their language, culture and identity

  • are caring and accepting of others

  • value the contribution they can make to the school community.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school takes a very effective, holistic approach when responding to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

There is a collective responsibility for supporting students’ progress and achievement across the school. School leaders and teachers place priority on ensuring that all students have the maximum opportunity to learn. They meet regularly to discuss students’ progress, and strategies to support students whose learning needs acceleration.

School data show a positive shift in Māori students’ achievement as they move through the school. This positive shift is highly evident in reading. By the end of Year 6 most Māori students are achieving at or above expected levels. The Māori graduate profile is underpinned by a strategic plan that is monitored, regularly reviewed and updated to ensure the school is continuing to respond effectively to Māori students.

Leaders and teachers respond well to students with additional learning needs. Almost all students show positive shifts in their wellbeing, confidence and engagement in their learning.

New learners of English receive highly effective support to enable them to make progress in their learning and have full access to the curriculum. Effective strategies are shared and used across the school to support the learning and achievement of all students whose learning needs acceleration.

Children who are identified as gifted and talented are able to engage in challenging and purposeful learning activities that meet their individual strengths. The gifted and talented programme is broadly defined and is available to target children, based on a gift or talent they have or show potential in. Māori dimensions of gifted and talented are valued and affirmed by the programme.

The school’s achievement targets address identified disparities for groups of students. Progress towards these targets is monitored by teachers, school leaders and the board.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

School leadership is highly effective. Leaders build relational trust and collaboration at every level of the school community. They actively promote practices that focus on students’ wellbeing, engagement in learning, and confidence in their identity, language and culture. Leadership is distributed among staff, and is highly visible in school initiatives that are focused on the achievement of equity and excellence.

Leadership opportunities for children are very evident. Student leadership roles and responsibilities align closely with the school’s values. Children appreciate the contribution they can make to the school community.

The whānau group structure supports a caring, collaborative learning community that is inclusive of diverse learners. This structure is highly successful in promoting learning through tuakana/teina relationships. Children have multiple opportunities to learn from, and with, each other across a variety of contexts.

Children enjoy a coherent and broad curriculum that responds to children’s strengths, cultures, interests and talents. The school’s curriculum-mapping approach is well embedded, and supports regular internal evaluation of curriculum content, and effective teaching and learning.

Children learn in stimulating environments that enhance learning and wellbeing. The school’s high quality physical environment is thoughtfully designed. It affirms and celebrates children’s interests and identity, and extends their learning experiences.

The school prioritises time for teachers to share effective practices and work collaboratively. Teachers meet regularly to monitor and track student progress. They reflect on the impact of their teaching on student outcomes, and modify their practice. Teachers implement teaching and learning strategies that respond to the needs and strengths of individual, and groups of children.

The school has strong stewardship. Trustees actively represent and serve the school community. Trustees and staff share a strong commitment to the school, and work collaboratively. They prioritise student wellbeing, achievement, and initiatives that make a difference for children. Trustees take a lead in strategic planning review, and place value on high levels of consultation with staff and the community.

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

To continue to support the achievement of equity and excellence, leaders and teachers could develop further opportunities for children to be leaders of their own learning, and the learning of others. The school is well placed to build on the strong learning behaviours demonstrated by children to further empower student ownership of learning.

The school should continue to build on the new ‘transition to school’ programme and sustain learning partnerships with parents and whānau throughout their time at the school.

3 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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a supportive and collaborative culture that provides opportunities for innovation, and responds to the strengths and needs of individuals and groups of children

  • leadership and stewardship that place priority on improving outcomes for all children

  • a strong sense of community and shared values that are reflected in everyday practice, and are shared among the wider school community.

Next steps

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

  • further empowering children to be leaders of their own and others’ learning

  • sustaining learning partnerships with parents of children whose learning needs acceleration.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

18 January 2018

About the school

Location

Whau Valley, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1588

School type

Contributing School (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

529

Gender composition

Boys 50% Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori

āāPkeh

Filipino

Indian

African

Pacific

British/Irish

Sri Lankan

other Asian

other European

24%

51%

6%

5%

3%

2%

2%

1%

3%

3%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

18 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2014
May 2010
June 2007