St Peter's College (Gore) - 12/12/2013

1 Context

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

St Peter’s College (Gore) is a co-educational school for students in Years 7 to 13. Students come from the town and surrounding rural areas of Gore. The school has close links with its main contributing school, St Mary’s School (Gore).

The special Catholic character is highly evident throughout the school. The values of community, commitment and compassion maintain the bonds the school has to the Rosminians and Sisters of Mercy.

The attached boarding house, Rosmini House, has effective practices to support each boarder’s learning and development. This is supplemented by the extensive use of school facilities and programmes.

The community, school and boarding house have high expectations for their students. Staff at the school, including the boarding house, focus on developing the whole person. Students’ wellbeing is carefully monitored and supported. ERO observed and spoke with students who were respectful to others and positive about their school and boarding house.

At the time of the review, the school was in the process of appointing a new principal. In the interim, the deputy principal was filling the principal’s role.

Since the 2010 ERO review:

  • the number of International students at the school has increased, with the students coming from Europe, Asia and the Pacific
  • the curriculum has been extended to include an outdoor education course and a strong focus on developing literacy skills across all learning areas
  • senior students have been given access to tertiary courses.

2 Learning

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

Achievement information is well used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. By the time they leave school, almost all students have reached levels of achievement that allow them to follow their desired directions beyond school.

Teachers make effective use of information to:

  • identify student needs for support and extension, and next learning steps
  • plan and teach to the different abilities of the students in their classes
  • monitor student progress over time
  • reflect on the impact of their teaching on students’ learning.

Leaders make purposeful use of information about individual students, classes and the department to:

  • monitor the progress of individual students over time and allocate learning support to individuals and groups of students
  • review student performance against expectations and make adjustments to programmes and classes to address identified needs
  • report achievement of all year levels to the principal and the board
  • set departmental and school-wide goals.

Some students, in discussion with their teachers, set goals for their learning and achievement. They use assessments and achievement records to assist this goal setting. Senior students make good use of websites to track their NCEA achievement over the year.

Through the reports to the board, trustees have an awareness of school-wide progress and achievement. This information supports them in their decisions to allocate resources to meet identified needs and priorities.

The annual plan clearly sets out the main areas for development within the school. To strengthen this planning, senior school leaders and trustees should include targets to show how well the developments will improve outcomes and/or achievement for students.

Senior leaders also need to use achievement information to report on the impact of interventions and initiatives. The reports to the board should also include progress reports, in particular for the achievement targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The vision of St Peter’s College is to equip students with an academic, spiritual and moral framework. This is to enable them to be lifelong learners, connected and open to the common good, with a strong sense of identity and place in a diverse global community.

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning within this vision.

Teachers build caring and supportive relationships with the students. Students told ERO that their teachers support them well in their learning. These positive relationships help give the school a strong sense of community and a sense of belonging for all students. Teachers and students are well supported by the parents and whānau, particularly for home/school learning partnerships, sports coaching and fundraising.

Since the 2010 ERO review, the school has introduced several initiatives to increase the effectiveness of its curriculum. These include:

  • more opportunities for senior students to follow future employment and training courses, in particular through the Hokonui Tertiary High School
  • the school-wide priority of building students’ literacy skills across all subject areas
  • the expectation that teachers will take more responsibility for providing for the range of learning abilities within their classes.

Other factors contributing to the school’s effective curriculum are:

  • most students are benefiting from good to very good teaching practices
  • increased opportunities for all students to learn about New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, including the introduction of te reo Māori classes for Year 7 students
  • the sharing of literacy and numeracy information with all class teachers.

The school leaders acknowledge the need to ensure the initiatives and expectations described above are embedded into teaching practice across the school. This should include developing written guidelines for teachers and leaders to refer to, be appraised against, and used as part of curriculum review.

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees appreciate the importance of providing an environment that values the culture, identity and language of Māori. This is seen through the recent strengthening of relationships with its community and runanga and gathering their ideas and aspirations for their tamariki. The school has increased its practices around Te Ao Māori, including forming a kapa haka group, introducing Māori themes into the school eisteddfod and formal welcomes to visitors from the whole school.

Students told ERO they feel well cared for and supported in their learning. They would appreciate more reflection of their culture within the school.

The next step is to improve documentation of plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students and promoting success for Māori, this should include building the teachers’ knowledge and cultural competencies.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to maintain and improve its performance with areas to develop related to self review and teacher appraisal.

The school’s strategic plan appropriately identifies priorities to focus on. These priorities arise from useful analysis of achievement information and recommendations from reviews, including the previous year’s annual plan.

Priorities are then well aligned to and developed in further planning, such as the annual plan and school-wide professional learning and development. In 2013, teachers are gaining a better understanding of how students’ literacy skills can be developed within particular learning areas.

To strengthen the review and planning process further, the school needs a more robust process of self review, in particular for curriculum programmes.

The school’s current appraisal process is not sufficiently robust to facilitate the ongoing improvement of the quality of teaching. Senior leaders have recognised the need to improve this area of performance management.

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. At the time of this review, there were 19 international students attending the school, 11 of whom were receiving English as a Second Language tuition.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. The school now needs to improve its reporting to better show how the learning, care and achievement of students have benefited from the planned initiatives and ongoing support and provision.

Students feel valued by their teachers, and supported in their learning. Adults work closely with international students and are alert and responsive to their needs. Each student’s learning and pastoral care is carefully monitored and supported. They receive frequent English language learning opportunities and targeted individual help. The students are involved in the life of the school in many ways.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Rosmini House is a high performing school boarding facility. A key feature of the boarding house is the way it effectively supports students’ learning within a caring environment.

It currently accommodates 70 students. Since the 2010 ERO review, the number of students attending Rosmini House has grown, creating an 8% to 17% presence on the school roll. It is owned by the St Peter’s Hostel Charitable Trust and managed by the St Peter’s College Hostel Limited. This growth has created increased flexibility, such as, enabling a number of refurbishments of the physical environment.

The boarding house has continued to build on the strengths identified in the 2010 ERO review. The boarding house has highly effective systems for promoting positive relationships, students’ welfare and learning, and strong leadership and management. This is achieved through:

  • a shared positive culture of care and respect for staff and students
  • close support for individual student’s pastoral care and learning
  • high levels of student involvement and leadership
  • student, parent and community input into decisions for improvement
  • effective support for professional growth and leadership for staff
  • clear organisational guidelines and models of practice for staff and students
  • sound strategic leadership and self review.

The boarding house works closely with the school to educate the whole student to strive for excellence within a family environment, and in accordance with the values of Jesus Christ. To further strengthen this focus, boarding house leaders could strengthen their plans and strategies to show how biculturalism and success for Māori is valued and nurtured for all students.

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.

The school has not obtained police vets for all non-teaching and unregistered employees at the school.

  • The board of a State school, or the management of a school registered under section 35A, must obtain a Police vet of every person—
    • whom the board or the management appoints, or intends to appoint, to a position at the school; and
    • who is to work at the school during normal school hours; and
    • who is not a registered teacher or holder of a limited authority to teach. [Source s78C, s78CA, 78CB Education Act 1989]

The school has not reported to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards for mathematics.

  • The school must report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language must occur at least twice a year. [Source: NAG 2A (a)]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure all procedures as set out in its education outside the classroom policy are being followed, in particular procedures for risk analysis and management.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

12 December 2013

About the School

Location

Gore

Ministry of Education profile number

397

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13) Integrated

School roll

400

Number of international students

19

Gender composition

Girls: 51%

Boys: 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

84%

12%

1%

3%

Special Features

School Boarding House

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

12 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

October 2006

December 2003