St Peter's College (Gore) - 09/08/2017

Findings

St Peter’s College values commitment to learning, compassion for others, and a sense of community. The school’s Catholic character is strongly evident in the culture of care, respect and inclusive relationships for the benefit of learners. Students learn in settled, purposeful environments. They achieve well. School leaders have effectively supported staff to improve teaching and learning.

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?

St Peter’s College is an integrated, Catholic, coeducational secondary school for students from Year 7 to 13. The school is part of the Eastern Southland Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning with a group of other local schools.

Students participate in a wide range of sporting and cultural pursuits, as well as giving service to the school and community. The school focuses on the Gospel values of commitment, compassion and community.

A significant feature of the school is the on-site hostel, Rosmini House. The school’s special character is highly evident in the school and the hostel. This contributes effectively to a respectful, caring and inclusive school culture.

Since the last ERO review, a new principal has been appointed. Other members of the senior leadership team are also new. The school has responded well to the recommendations for improvement in the 2013 ERO report. School leaders have embedded initiatives that had been in their early stages and introduced other new approaches to improve outcomes for learners.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Steady improvement in achievement against the National Standards has been made for Years 7 and 8 students. In 2016, about 80% of students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading and writing. Mathematics achievement was slightly lower. The school is aware of significant disparity in boys’ achievement in reading and writing. Teachers are focused on accelerating the progress of these learners.

Year 7 and 8 teachers use a wide range of assessment information to inform their teaching and to make judgements about students’ progress and achievement.

School-wide achievement and progress information for Years 9 and 10 reported to the board is limited in scope. The school has identified the need to develop learning progressions for Year 9 and 10 and improve reporting to the board on these students’ achievement and progress.

NCEA results have steadily improved over the last three years. Results in 2016 for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 were very high. Senior students have good access to information about their progress towards their senior-school qualifications.

The school has very effective systems to identify, support and monitor students at risk with their learning. This includes strategic planning and detailed action planning to achieve these strategic aims. Students benefit from well-embedded systems and structures to ensure that each learner needing support gets the appropriate help. Teachers ensure there is very good communication about learners’ needs and strengths, and how best the combined efforts of staff can best support these students.

Key staff carefully monitor each student’s attitude, engagement and achievement with learning. As a result, students benefit from timely support and parents are quickly informed if there are concerns.

The next steps for school leaders are to:

  • ensure student achievement targets focus on those students who need to make accelerated progress
  • more clearly show rates of progress made by students and groups of students
  • evaluate how well school actions have contributed to improved achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning.

The school’s Catholic character is highly evident in the culture of care that underpins the strong pastoral support system. There are positive relationships among students and between students and staff. Trustees, leaders and staff have created a culture of learning based on manaakitanga/respect and caring, whanaungatanga/inclusion and relationships, and mahi tahi/working effectively together.

Students learn in settled environments and are focused on their learning. They feel well supported to achieve their personal goals, and appreciate the useful feedback from teachers about how to improve.

Teachers are supported by well-developed guidelines for teaching and learning, and thoughtfully adapt teaching and learning programmes to best meet their students’ needs. Significant changes have been made to teaching and learning for Year 7 and 8 students. The new homeroom approach, with better integration of learning across curriculum areas, is having a positive impact on students’ learning and engagement. 

Senior students benefit from personalised learning pathways, designed around their needs and aspirations beyond school. Out-of-school learning and work-experience opportunities are made possible through the strong links teachers have established with the local community and tertiary providers. Students are provided with useful information about the options they can pursue after leaving school. Teachers work effectively with students and their families and whānau to help learners take a well-planned pathway through the senior school and to make appropriate choices about their transition beyond school. The school is well informed about the success of students who have left school.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori students feel well supported in their learning and their culture is increasingly valued by the school. They see their school as being inclusive and offering a range of contexts where they can experience success and stand proud as Māori. They appreciate the links that the school has developed with their whānau and local runanga.

Overall, Māori students achieve well. Most senior Māori students stay into the senior school and their NCEA achievement is generally high. Most make a successful transition into employment, further training or study when they leave school.

Trustees, school leaders and teachers show a strong commitment to supporting Māori students to achieve well and feel valued. Māori students' progress, achievement and wellbeing are closely monitored and responded to.

The next step for the school is to continue to build teachers’ understanding and use of culturally responsive teaching practices.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Leadership in the school has taken a well-considered approach to managing change to be able to achieve the school’s vision for teaching and learning. Staff members are responding well to the challenge presented by these expectations for improvement in the quality and consistency of teaching practices. Leadership is valuing, gathering and responding to students’ ideas about what will help their learning most.

Middle leaders, as a result of intentional capacity building, take strengthened leadership roles. Teachers value the guidance and support middle leaders provide.

Trustees are well informed about student achievement and the efforts being made to achieve the strategic goals. They are focused on students’ wellbeing and learning. They have high expectations for annual action planning to achieve the board’s long-term goals. 

The next steps to continue to sustain and improve are for trustees and leaders to:

  • be assured about the sufficiency of progress made by those learners who need to make accelerated progress
  • better identify the best practices of middle leaders and spread these to other learning areas
  • improve the consistency of rigorous appraisal and teaching-as-inquiry practices by teachers
  • sustain the overall momentum for change and improvement
  • strengthen the rigour and consistency of internal evaluation, including assurance reporting to the board.

Provision for international students

The 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.

At the time of this review there were 25 international students attending the school, including one exchange student.

The school has reviewed its policies and procedures to be assured they are in line with the new Code. Further work is under way to complete this process.

International students' learning goals and needs are identified early. They are provided with appropriate learning programmes and monitored to ensure they can make good progress. They successfully achieve the goals set.

International students are encouraged and supported to integrate into the school and local community. The school’s pastoral care systems for international students are very effective.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Rosmini House, provides boarding for boys and girls in separate accommodation. At the time of this review, 59 boarders were on site, making up 15% of the school’s roll. In addition, a small number of students from a nearby secondary school live in the hostel. Rosmini House is owned by the St Peter’s College Hostel Charitable Trust and is managed by St Peter’s College Hostel Ltd. The hostel is a well-established, on-site boarding facility. The hostel owner has attested that all requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The hostel board has in place sound long-term planning for strategic development.

Hostel staff strongly promote the value of whanaunagtanga/inclusion and relationships. Boarders experience positive relationships with each other and with hostel management and staff. New boarders are welcomed and supported by staff and senior boarders to engage confidently in hostel living. Boarders benefit from choices about managing their own study routines and have good access to school study resources and appropriate teaching staff.

The director of boarding and the boarding manager place a high priority on hauora/wellbeing. They have highly effective systems for monitoring and responding to the safety and wellbeing needs of boarders. These include clear and well-understood guidelines for staff and boarders. Systems are in place to consider and respond to the opinions and ideas of boarders and their families. Boarders have many opportunities to show leadership in roles such as house leaders, mentors and mediators, or on the student council for the hostel.

Hostel leaders ensure there is regular communication with parents and caregivers. Hostel managers and staff effectively engage the families of boarders in the life of the hostel.

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

St Peter’s College values commitment to learning, compassion for others, and a sense of community. The school’s Catholic character is strongly evident in the culture of care, respect and inclusive relationships for the benefit of learners. Students learn in settled, purposeful environments. They achieve well. School leaders have effectively supported staff to improve teaching and learning.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

9 August 2017

About the School 

Location

Gore

Ministry of Education profile number

397

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

382

Number of international students

25

Gender composition

Female: 54%

Male: 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Pacific
Other

80%
11%
4%
2%
3%

Special Features

School Boarding House

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

9 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2013
August 2010
October 2006