Cardinal McKeefry School (Wilton)

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School Context

Cardinal McKeefry School is a Catholic, integrated school that caters for students in Years 1 to 8. It is located in Wilton, Wellington. At the time of this review, there were 84 students on the roll. The school community reflects a number of diverse cultures. Seven percent of the roll are Pacific, and one-quarter of the roll are English language learners.

The school prioritises the values of family spirit, love of work, simplicity, presence and ‘in the way of Mary’.

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 and achievement of target students
  • attendance.

Recent professional learning has focused on curriculum, literacy and mathematics. Since the August 2016 ERO report, curriculum approaches that focus on inquiry, depth and complexity have been introduced and embedded.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

The school continues to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

In 2018 all Year 8 students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Mid-year 2019 achievement data shows:

  • almost all students are achieving at or above curriculum expectations
  • Māori and Pacific students achieve as well or better than their peers.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is highly effective in accelerating the learning of students who need it. There are many examples of accelerated progress as a result of targeted teaching. Additional learning support programmes are thoughtfully implemented to support improved student outcomes.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

Students benefit from a positive learning environment where their agency and engagement are fostered. An inclusive culture is purposefully promoted. Effective social competence strategies prioritise the values of respect, responsibility and resilience. Strategic planning and the curriculum document are now being refreshed, led by a team of student researchers.

Teachers share high, equitable expectations for student learning and wellbeing. They take collective responsibility for student progress, and know individual children and their learning needs well. Deliberate, effective strategies include:

  • clear and explicit instruction
  • small, mixed-ability group teaching
  • student leadership and peer support opportunities
  • encouraging children’s critical thinking and inquiry skills
  • attentive support for students with additional needs
  • authentic contexts for learning that draw on children’s interests and the local community.

Leadership is highly effective. Well-considered, strategic actions are successfully supporting a professional culture of cohesion, innovation and reflection. Teachers are very well supported to inquire into their practice and make impactful improvements. Leaders and teachers collaborate meaningfully with the wider education community to share good practice.

The school is well-served by a committed board of trustees. They are clear about their roles and responsibilities as school stewards, and work well alongside leaders to ensure the progress of goals and targets. They demonstrate a clear focus on promoting positive outcomes for all students.

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

Continuing to deepen and embed bicultural practices should remain a key strategic priority for the school. Progress in this area is evident, with some increased opportunities for children to see, hear and experience te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. ERO, leaders and trustees agree that to promote significant improvements to benefit children, a next step is to prioritise bicultural practices in curriculum and strategic planning documentation, and ensure they are meaningfully progressed in teacher appraisal processes.

Teachers regularly engage in skilful, evidence-based evaluation of their practice. They maintain a clear focus on student outcomes in order to measure their effectiveness. It is now timely for leaders and the board to establish formalised internal evaluation processes, at a strategic level, with a wider focus on the effectiveness of the overarching school conditions.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of the performance of Cardinal McKeefry School (Wilton) in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • improvement-oriented stewardship
  • skilled and strategic leadership
  • responsive curriculum
  • effective teaching
  • evaluation and inquiry.

Next steps

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

  • improving bicultural practices to support students’ understanding of te reo me te ao Māori
  • monitoring the success of the school curriculum and initiatives through strategic internal evaluation.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

1 November 2019

About the school

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2819

School type

Full primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

84

Gender composition

Male 48, Female 36

Ethnic composition

Māori 2

NZ European/Pākehā 49

South East Asian 8

Pacific 6

Indian 6

African 5

Other ethnic groups 8

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

1 November 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2016

Education Review June 2014

Findings

The school has made good progress to improve priorities identified in the June 2014 ERO report. Leadership and stewardship practices have been strengthened. There is a continuous focus on student achievement and school improvement. Steady progress is being made in the development of a local curriculum.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Cardinal McKeefry School is a Catholic, integrated school that caters for students in
Years 1 to 8. It is located in Wilton, Wellington. In June 2014 students' wellbeing was strongly supported by the school's special character. Students felt a sense of belonging and believed they were respected and valued members of the school community. This continues to be the case.

The majority of staff have been appointed in the past 18 months. This includes the principal, who began mid-2015, and a deputy principal, who began at the beginning of 2016. Approximately half of the previous trustees were recently re-elected along with three new members.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The June 2014 ERO review identified several areas as being of concern or requiring review. The school was required to:

  • further develop documentation for managing curriculum
  • develop processes for monitoring and self review
  • develop teacher understanding of success for Māori as Māori, and the capability for fostering this
  • improve the use of student achievement information for planning and reporting at all levels of operations
  • implement the revised appraisal process
  • develop collaborative practices for working toward school goals.

An action plan to address these key priorities was developed. Teachers have undertaken professional learning and development (PLD) in the areas of writing, mathematics and the connected curriculum. This is continuing throughout 2016.

Progress

Progress overall is very satisfactory. Important areas of concern continue to be appropriately addressed. Improving outcomes for students is a key school priority.

The school has undertaken a review of the curriculum. This has been informed by the findings of ongoing consultation with key stakeholders. Teachers have considered the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum and how these will be actioned. Good progress is being made in the documentation of expectations for teaching and learning.

A revision of the assessment schedule has been completed. Assessment guidelines have been developed and the processes for reaching an overall teacher judgement against National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics have been revisited. Internal moderation of assessment in writing was undertaken in conjunction with PLD in writing in 2015. Further work extending moderation to discussions with other schools is an agreed next step identified by leaders.

Students are well engaged in settled classrooms, where they take responsibility for themselves and others. Progress has been made to empower students to take ownership of their learning. Students are involved in setting goals and sharing their progress with their parents. This is a focus for ongoing improvement.

There has been a review and redesign of the process of reporting to parents. More in-depth reporting against key curriculum areas and student goals is now completed mid-year. Written reports are comprehensive and include key next steps for students’ learning and how parents can help with this at home.

Processes to improve student outcomes and teaching practices have been strengthened. There is now better identification of students in need of additional support and modification of teaching programmes to address these needs. Additional programmes are in place to support students with complex needs. Their progress is regularly tracked.

Enhanced collegiality and open sharing of practice among teachers are evident. The re-introduction of teacher professional inquiry in 2015, as a part of writing PLD, is leading to a growing understanding of how to use student achievement information to better inform teaching and learning. There is a growing collective responsibility for students’ progress.

Leaders have developed more robust systems to track, monitor and report student progress. This includes learners who are included in school improvement targets. Trustees now receive useful and timely information to set targets and inform their decisions. They are likely to be better placed to monitor progress towards reaching annual achievement targets and strategic school goals.

There is a more considered approach to the integration of language, culture and identity into units of work and school operations. Leaders acknowledge the need to further grow teacher understanding of and competency in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in order that this be strengthened across the curriculum.

The school reported at the end of 2015 that most of the students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. There is a small disparity in how well boys achieve in relation to other students in the school. Historically, some students do not achieve well in their first year at school, however good progress is made by these students in subsequent years. The school has taken steps to address achievement in students’ first year at school.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is now well placed to continue to review and improve its performance. There is clear identification of priorities and direction to support school wide improvement.

The good relationships between the board and staff and their commitment to improvement are positive factors for supporting future direction. These relationships are based on trust and open conversations. The newly appointed principal is focused on improvement and leads change in a considered way.

Leadership and stewardship practices have been strengthened. Trustees are clear about their roles and responsibilities. They receive more useful and timely information about student achievement to inform their decision making. They have considered their needs and identified suitable training for incoming trustees.

Systematic processes for employment have been developed. These take into account recent legislative requirements. Although a full cycle of appraisal is yet to be completed, these practices have been strengthened to include regular classroom observations and links to the Practising Teacher Criteria and the school’s strategic goals.

There is a strengthened strategic planning process that is collaborative and consultative. This has resulted in clear goals and steps for ongoing improvement. Goals and targets are now regularly monitored and reported on.

Regular, improved review and evaluation informs school direction and improvements. Good use is made of a range of self-review formats. Review and development of the school policy framework is an identified next step for the new board.

Key next steps

The school is aware of the need to continue to implement planned changes as outlined in the 2016-2018 strategic plan and to fully embed recently introduced practices. 

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 school has made good progress to improve priorities identified in the June 2014 ERO report. Leadership and stewardship practices have been strengthened. There is a continuous focus on student achievement and school improvement. Steady progress is being made in the development of a local curriculum.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

11 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2819

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll

91

Gender composition

47 Females, 44 Males

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Asian
Pacifica
Other ethnic groups

  3
50
20
  7
11

Special Features

Catholic, Integrated

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

11 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
November 2010
August 2007