St Paul's School (Richmond)

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School Context

St Paul’s School (Richmond) is a Years 1 to 8 state-integrated school with a roll of 237 children. In the last 18 months the school has appointed a new principal and a new board of trustees has been elected. In this time leaders, teachers and trustees, in consultation with the school community, have been creating a new vision for teaching and learning. This vision is based on developing self-directed, enthusiastic, life-long learners. The mission and values are in the process of being redefined and rewritten.

The school states that its existing vision is to provide: ‘quality spiritual, academic, social and physical education in a supportive community reflecting the teachings and values of Jesus Christ.’ This is underpinned by the values of, ‘together we achieve; have faith, believe; keep on, keeping on and dare to care’.

The school’s current aims are to:

  • continue to be a Christ-centred school
  • engage all students in deep learning experiences across the curriculum, ensuring progress and personal excellence
  • recognise and value Taha Māori and cultural diversity
  • continue to develop a safe and welcoming environment that enhances student learning.

The 2017 targets are to accelerate the progress in reading, writing and mathematics for targeted students at risk of underachievement.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress in relation to school targets.

The school is a member of the Waimea Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

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 effectively achieving positive outcomes for most learners.

Over the last three years most students have achieved well in reading and mathematics. In writing a large majority have achieved well. Almost all Pacific students achieve well in the core learning areas. In 2016, there was disparity of achievement for Māori students in reading and writing, and for boys in writing.

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

This school is responding very effectively to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The majority of Māori learners needing to make accelerated in reading and writing did so in 2017. About half of other students targeted to make accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics in 2017 did so.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees have a relentless focus on lifting achievement levels, especially for those students needing to accelerate their progress. Classroom programmes are clearly aligned to the strategic aim ‘of students making progress and achieving excellence’. Trustees have effectively reworded their charter targets to place more emphasis on identified priority learners. Teachers regularly work together to monitor progress, share ideas and reset their plans for these learners. Trained teacher aides and a range of learning support programmes help targeted students with identified core learning and social skill needs.

Students have effective and equitable opportunities to learn. They engage in purposeful learning that relates to authentic contexts, experiences and interests. Students often work in mixed-ability groups that provide them with challenge and opportunities for deep learning. Learning from different curriculum areas is meaningfully integrated. Teachers carefully include religious education in topics of study to inspire ‘faith in action’. Students are progressively developing understandings of themselves as learners.

Students participate and learn in settled, caring and collaborative learning environments. They show a strong sense of belonging/ukaipōtanga. Teachers actively encourage co-operative learning. Social and collaborative learning opportunities are well organised. The school values are effectively enacted by adults and students.

School leaders’ use effective processes to manage change. New developments are strongly research-based. Teachers are provided with professional learning opportunities that are responsive to identified needs and align with the school’s strategic direction. Teachers are well supported by a meaningful appraisal process. They work together to build collective capacity. Leaders systematically and regularly inquire into the effectiveness of new practice to identify what is going well, and what needs further improvement.

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

School leaders need to make more in-depth use of schoolwide learning information to know:

  • the impact of programmes and interventions throughout and at the end of the year on raising student achievement
  • if all students are making sufficient and sustained progress each year and over time
  • about the achievement of the school’s valued outcomes and strategic goals.

School leaders and teachers need to document the recently enhanced moderation processes to help ensure the consistency of practice and judgement in assessment over time and across 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:

  • inquiring and reflecting on teacher practice that leads to improvement in curriculum and outcomes for students
  • the culture of collaboration among leaders, teachers, parents and students, that maintains high expectations for teaching and learning throughout the school.

Next steps

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

  • use of learning data to show impact of interventions and how well the school is achieving its valued outcomes. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Paterson
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

13 March 2018

About the school 

Location

Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

1627

School type

Catholic Integrated Full Primary
(Years 1 to 8)

School roll

237

Gender composition

Girls:      52%
Boys:     48%

Ethnic composition

Māori:                   8%
Pākehā:               80%
Pacific:                  3%
Asian:                    2%
European:           7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

13 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2014
Education Review June 2011
Supplementary Review June 2008

Findings

The supportive learning environment and experiences staff provide for students clearly reflect the special character of St Paul's School (Richmond). Leaders and teachers have a strong focus on raising student achievement. The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well. Good leadership and board practices mean the school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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?

The supportive learning environment and experiences staff provide for students clearly reflect this Catholic school’s special character. Strong links exist between the school and the local parish.

Leaders and teachers, most of whom have been at the school for some time, know their students and their families well. This helps them to be responsive to students’ strengths, interests and needs and to parents’ aspirations for their children.

School-wide staff professional development is promoting ongoing improvements to teaching practices and learning opportunities for students. This is most evident in the way many teachers and students successfully use information and communication technologies (ICT) to support teaching and learning.

Some useful recent initiatives are helping five year old students to successfully transition into the school. Good links with the local Catholic secondary school supports many older students’ transition from the school.

The board, leaders and teachers have successfully retained the strengths noted in the school’s 2011 ERO report. They have either addressed or made good progress towards addressing areas identified as needing improvement at that time.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers have a strong focus on raising student achievement. This is supported by increasingly effective use of achievement information to help identify and respond to students’ strengths and learning needs.

Effective use of achievement information is most evident in the:

  • analysis of school trends in literacy and mathematics by the principal and the regular sharing of this information with the board, senior leaders and teachers
  • use made of this analysed information to develop annual targets, identify and provide additional support for selected students and to focus professional development for staff
  • teachers’ use of achievement information (particularly in reading and mathematics) to focus their teaching and adjust groupings
  • way teachers share achievement information with students to help them understand their learning and next steps.

Teachers use a variety of assessments, particularly in literacy and numeracy, to systematically gather achievement information. This helps them to make well-informed judgements about students’ progress and achievement against the National Standards. Reports, meetings and information shared digitally help parents to know about their child’s progress and achievement.

School leaders regularly reflect upon achievement and other information about their students. They show a willingness to try new approaches to foster student progress. This has resulted in well-considered initiatives to support junior students in their first two years at school and the effective use of ICT to promote independent learning for senior school students in particular.

The school welcomes students with special learning needs. Leaders and teachers provide well for the transition of students into school. Students are well supported to participate in class activities and school events. Programmes are appropriately adapted to meet their individual needs.

Areas for review and development

School leaders and teachers should:

  • extend provisions for analysing and reporting about student achievement beyond literacy and numeracy, including the impact of the additional learning support for students with special needs
  • incorporate a review of learning support structures and provisions as part of the planned review of school operations.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well.

Students experience a broad and balanced curriculum. Within this curriculum, particular emphasis is successfully given to literacy and numeracy, religious education, sports and music. An increased emphasis on science is also evident. Older students are provided with authentic opportunities to develop their leadership skills. The use of specialist staff in music and sports enriches learning experiences for students.

Students’ engagement in learning is fostered through teachers’ efforts to:

  • make learning meaningful through integrated studies and by taking into account students’ interests in planning programmes
  • respond to students’ strengths and needs, particularly in reading and mathematics
  • provide a variety of activities, both within and beyond the school, to help make learning interesting and relevant
  • make well-considered use of ICT to provide increased access to, and creation of, information and to help extend their thinking and independence.

Teachers make well-considered use of a variety of teaching strategies that are known to foster student achievement. Programmes are well planned, teaching is purposeful and students are clear about what they need to do to succeed.

Leaders and staff provide students with a positive, inclusive and supportive learning environment. Their active promotion of the school’s values, respectful relationships and the way students support one another helps to create such an environment. Attractive classrooms include helpful learning prompts and displays that show students’ work is valued.

Academically students achieve best in reading. In 2013, improvements were most evident in the levels of student achievement in mathematics. Achievement is lowest in written language and staff continue to actively explore ways of fostering student progress in this area.

Many students use ICT to effectively support their learning.

Areas for review and development

School leaders have identified that they need to update aspects of the school’s curriculum guidelines. They need to provide increased guidance around implementing teaching programmes particularly in areas beyond English and mathematics.

To further support the steps teachers are taking to raise student achievement in written language, school leaders should:

  • clarify their expectations for effective literacy teaching
  • build on efforts to extend how teachers are responding to the diverse needs of students.

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

The school is developing practices and learning opportunities that help Māori to experience success as Māori. For example:

  • the principal takes an active role in promoting and valuing Māori culture, language and identity
  • supportive relationships, along with the way aspects of Māori culture are displayed around the school, create an environment in which students’ culture is valued
  • the integration of powhiri into school celebrations is a well-established practice
  • increasing opportunities are being provided for Māori students to develop their leadership skills
  • aspects of tikanga Māori are well integrated into religious education and becoming increasingly evident in other curriculum areas.

In the past, Māori students have generally achieved at similar levels to their peers in literacy and mathematics. In 2013 their achievement levels were slightly below that of their peers in National Standards.

The principal has identified that the next steps for the school include further integrating the use and teaching of te reo Māori into the school’s curriculum. Strengthening links with iwi to extend opportunities for students to learn more about their culture.

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.

The school is well led and managed. The principal and other leaders:

  • work together to make good use of staff strengths and promote collaboration and teamwork
  • show a strong commitment to ongoing school improvement and supports innovations that are likely to enhance students’ progress
  • undertake regular self reviews, foster reflective practices and promote a positive school culture.

School-wide professional development is appropriately targeted and supporting improvements to teaching. The principal now has a more robust appraisal system in place for teachers.

The board performs its governance role well. A strong sense of partnership exists between the board, leaders and staff. Board plans clarify long-term priorities and include future planning around possible changes in the board. The board, through informative principal reports, and parent, staff and student surveys, gathers a useful range of information to help its decision making. Trustees take part in board training when opportunities arise.

The school fosters positive relationships with its parent, parish and wider community. The parish priest is actively involved in the life of the school. The school’s 'Friends of St Paul’s' group raises significant additional funds to support teaching programmes and buy resources. They often hold events that bring everyone together.

Areas for review and development

To enhance the quality and usefulness of curriculum reviews the principal and teachers need to:

  • develop clearer guidelines for conducting these and include more detail about the use of review findings
  • make greater use of indicators/success criteria for evaluating quality
  • broaden the range of information gathered to inform review findings.
  • The board needs to improve aspects of self review and planning by extending its:
  • reviews to include evaluations of the effectiveness of board operations
  • plans to show in more detail how strategic goals will be achieved over time.

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

The supportive learning environment and experiences staff provide for students clearly reflect the special character of St Paul's School (Richmond). Leaders and teachers have a strong focus on raising student achievement. The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well. Good leadership and board practices mean the school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

21 August 2014

About the School

Location

Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

1627

School type

Catholic Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

222

Gender composition

Girls 53% Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Other Pacific

Other Ethnicities

82%

8%

2%

1%

7%

Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

21 August 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

June 2011

June 2008

February 2007