St Peter's College (Epsom)

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Education institution number:
62
School type:
Secondary (Year 7-15)
School gender:
Single Sex (Boys School)
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
1089
Telephone:
Address:

Mountain Road, Grafton, Auckland

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Findings

St Peters College provides a broad and holistic curriculum for boys in an environment focussed on the values of Christian love and service. Boys achieve well, benefitting from good support systems and positive, respectful relationships with their teachers. The board's stewardship, together with effective leadership and thoughtful evaluation are contributing to ongoing improvements that are benefitting boys' learning and achievement.

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

1 Context

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

St Peter’s College is a Catholic school for boys in Years 7 to 13. The college draws boys from the wider Auckland region for education in the Christian Brothers tradition. The school roll continues to grow and of the 1314 boys on the school's roll, 10 percent identify as Māori and 17 percent as Pacifica. In addition, there are 41 International students. The school environment continues to be successfully developed, well managed and attractively maintained.

The school’s vision is to build outstanding men by educating the whole person in an environment of Christian love and service. Boys transition confidently into the brotherhood of the school and develop a strong sense of belonging. The induction of Year 7 boys and their family is particularly well managed. The school’s role models, mentors and peer support systems ensure that boys grow and develop leadership and a sense of responsibility through their time at the college.

Learning programmes are designed to be meaningful and authentic for boys. This contributes to them achieving well in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The boys have comprehensive co-curricular opportunities for cultural, sporting, recreational, entrepreneurial and leadership education. The breadth of these choices gives young men valuable learning as they work towards finding pathways for their future.

Trustees work collegially and collaboratively. The board responded positively to the 2012 ERO report. Trustees reviewed the school’s strategic plan, and specific goals were included in relation to outcomes for Māori and Pacific boys.

2 Learning

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

The school uses reliable achievement information to make changes to boys' engagement, progress and achievement. Data is collated, analysed and evaluated by the senior leadership team, by departments and teachers. The school’s goal sets positive expectations for boys' academic achievement. Teachers work collaboratively to reflect on the teaching strategies that are most likely to have a positive impact on outcomes for boys.

At Years 7 to 10, teachers use a range of assessment tools as a basis for reporting boys’ progress and achievement to parents. Teachers are becoming more familiar with the appropriate expectations for student achievement at the different curriculum levels. They analyse student achievement information and specifically consider what this shows about students’ learning progress and acceleration. This is helping teachers to identify next steps for each boy’s learning.

Boys achieve very well in the senior secondary school. At Year 11, 12 and 13, boys choose to study NCEA or the CIE. Teachers use achievement data to track boys’ progress over time and provide extra support for those at risk of not achieving. The headmaster reports to the board and to the wider school community about student achievement. He highlights an ongoing upward trend in achievement in NCEA. In many instances, Māori and Pacific boys are achieving better than their peers.

Parents value the weekly report they receive about their son’s engagement in the classroom. The board notes the link between boys taking more responsibility for their learning and rises in achievement levels. Boys know how to use key competencies and values education to improve their achievement. There are consistently high expectations that boys will gain University Entrance.

3 Curriculum

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

St Peters College’s curriculum supports and enables boys to learn effectively. It is appropriately aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum, particularly the key competencies, values and principles. The curriculum has been adapted to the school’s context so that it reflects boys’ learning aspirations. There is a deliberate focus on boys seeing themselves as active members of the cultural, local, national and global community.

Boys get good opportunities to learn and generally enjoy their learning. Teachers use a range of strategies to scaffold boys’ learning and engage them in the classroom. Boys respond well to challenges and questioning that promotes deeper thinking. Teachers have good content knowledge and use information technologies as a tool to increase boys’ engagement.

Boys with specific learning needs get good support. A network of teachers and support staff plan specialised learning programmes for them. This provision continues throughout the boys’ time at St Peter’s.

Ongoing evaluation of curriculum delivery is effective. Leaders seek input from students and the community to ensure that plans are relevant for boys. Boys have many opportunities to explore their career aspirations and to be involved in co-curricular activities. Positive relationships with their peers and their teachers, strengthens boys' development.

There is comprehensive pastoral care and good support for student wellbeing. Strong tuakana/teina settings are an integral part of this and provide boys with the opportunity to take on leadership roles to promote brotherhood. A collaborative group of lead teachers work across different year levels to assist classroom teachers. This helps build and sustain consistent approaches to boys’ learning. The lead teachers regularly evaluate how effective they are in their roles through discussions and surveys.

The school's professional learning programmes for staff are managed well. Teachers are encouraged to be reflective and research best practice to improve their teaching. Leaders agree it is timely to update the appraisal policy and review the process to be assured that there is consistently high quality practice.

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

The school continues to improve its effectiveness in supporting educational success for Māori as Māori. Māori and Pacific students report feeling confident about, and proud of, being Māori or Pacific in this school. They are well supported in their cultural identities.

The school has developed a Māori Achievement Plan in consultation with Māori parents defining success for Māori as Māori. They have taken the same approach in developing a Pacific Achievement Plan. The college continues to partner with parents in promoting learning through hui and fono.

Te Reo Māori is compulsory in Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9. It is available as a subject from Year 10 - 13. There is a strong focus on bicultural Aotearoa New Zealand and understanding tikanga Māori. The school kapa haka proudly participate in the annual Secondary Schools’ Festival. Te reo Māori is heard at morning gatherings, and cultural events occur regularly in the school calendar to support and strengthen Māori identity.

The college appropriately plans to continue developing teachers and students' understanding of, and responsibility for, the concepts within the school’s definition of success for Māori as Māori. The performance management resource Tātaiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, could assist leaders to strengthen this awareness.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

St Peter’s College is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school ‘touchstones’ and values are evident throughout the daily life of the college. The high standards set sit well with the college's goal of supporting boys to develop a lifelong commitment to serving and contributing to the community.

The headmaster and senior managers lead the promotion of positive outcomes for all boys. They model high expectations. Their leadership focus is on creating the conditions in which all boys experience success. Leaders are deliberate in their ongoing development of teachers and their drive to improve teaching strategies. They effectively facilitate the participation and collaboration of the school community and are promoting shared and collective responsibility for realising the school community’s aspirations.

The board of trustees is effective and insightful. Trustees have developed a strategic plan to achieve the school community’s vision, values and goals. Board decision making and appointments are well considered and include the recent appointment of a new school leader. Trustees are focussed on improving outcomes for Māori and Pacific boys and promoting boys’ wellbeing. Internal evaluation is being used to sustain a continuous cycle of school development that improves student learning.

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. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 41 international students attending the school.

All aspects relating to the education, involvement and integration of international students in the school and community are monitored, evaluated and systematically improved. Good pastoral care, together with academic, vocational, arts and sporting programmes enable international students to experience success across a variety of learning areas. Staff responsible for the care of international students regularly review the quality and effectiveness of provision for these students. The board gets good information about international students' involvement, progress and achievement.

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 Peters College provides a broad and holistic curriculum for boys in an environment focussed on the values of Christian love and service. Boys achieve well, benefitting from good support systems and positive, respectful relationships with their teachers. The board's stewardship, together with effective leadership and thoughtful evaluation are contributing to ongoing improvements that are benefitting boys' learning and achievement.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

23 May 2016

About the School

Location

Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

62

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

1314

Number of international students

41

Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

other

10%

54%

17%

16%

3%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

23 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2012

August 2009

May 2006

1 Context

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

St Peter’s College (Epsom) has many positive features that impact on student learning. For over 73 years, this Roman Catholic school has provided an education in the tradition of Edmund Rice for Year 7 to 13 boys. Since the last ERO visit in 2009, the school roll has grown to 1226 students with 110 identified as Māori and 227 Pacific. In addition there are 40 international students.

The many areas of good performance outlined in the 2009 ERO report have been sustained. The tradition of Edmund Rice permeates school life. The religious studies programme promotes each boy’s thinking and understanding of themselves and the world. The College’s increasing focus on academic achievement continues. Students achieve well in gaining external qualifications. A positive, supportive, well managed learning environment continues to characterise the school.

On-going school development is aimed at achieving high standards in all aspects of school operations. Major property developments, such as the technology block, gymnasium, sports fields, have been completed and the hall is being renovated. Changes in the senior leadership team and teaching staff are having a positive impact on student learning.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are highly engaged in all aspects of school life. In classes, the boys are focused on learning. There is a strong work ethic. Service in helping others is expected of every student and 98% of students met this expectation in 2011. Every student participates in co-curricular activities. Sport, music, and the arts are prominent aspects of their education. Student leadership is encouraged, valued and an integral part of the school.

Levels of attendance are high and closely monitored. Retention rates are positive with most students reaching Year 13.

School information about academic achievement in the senior secondary school indicates considerable improvement over the past three years in National Certificates of Education (NCEA). In 2011 achievement levels were well above that of similar boys’ schools nationally at Levels 1 and 3. Overall achievement in Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) is high. Student success in gaining University Entrance from Year 13 is noteworthy and is especially high for CIE students. The school’s Māori and Pacific students achieve very well in the senior secondary school.

The progress and achievement of individual students in Years 7 through to 10 is recorded and closely monitored. This information is well used to identify and provide for more able students and students requiring learning support. The school is yet to provide the board of trustees with evaluations of overall student progress and achievement in literacy and numeracy over these four years. Similarly, summative information about the overall progress and achievement of groups of students including Māori, Pacific and students with special needs from Years 7 to 13 should be made more readily accessible to the board.

In 2011 the school set achievement targets for Year 7 and 8 boys in National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics. The targets set and achieved for reading and writing were considerably higher than for mathematics. Students at risk of not achieving at or above National Standards are identified and well supported. The school could consider setting specific targets for groups of identified students whose progress needs to be accelerated in order for them to achieve NCEA Level 2 when they reach Year 12. Comprehensive strategies are in place to promote the success of Year 7 and 8 Māori and Pacific students and to accelerate the progress of underachievers.

The destination of boys leaving school from Years 12 and 13 is well tracked. School records indicate that almost all these students gained placements in tertiary education and training, or employment in 2010 and 2011.

3 Curriculum

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

The school has a broad curriculum that very effectively promotes and supports student learning. The curriculum is closely aligned to the vision, principles and values of The New Zealand Curriculum.

On-going curriculum review and development is a noteworthy feature of the school. It reflects the commitment of the trustees, headmaster and teachers to serve and support students to learn, achieve, and become ‘the St Peter’s Man’. Teachers’ professionalism and commitment are reflected in their high level of involvement in co-curricular activities and in their willingness to learn and respond to change and innovation.

The following are some of the significant and positive curriculum developments that have occurred since ERO’s last visit in 2009.

The school timetable. Students now have a seven-period day, the same bell times every day and maximised time for learning in the mornings. This development gives the boys the security of a regular routine and enables them to take another subject or have study time in the senior school. It also means that they are taught each of their subjects every day. The acceptance of this change by students and teachers, and the settled and purposeful learning environment are indicative of the success of this development.

Academic and pastoral counselling. Each house teacher is responsible for providing their students with academic and pastoral support. They help students to set their learning goals and pathways through and beyond school. This development is proving popular with parents and students. Attendance at student-parent-teacher meetings is high. From Year 7 students are well supported to identify their learning and career pathways through and beyond school. The careers guidance at Years 12 and 13 is especially noteworthy.

Promoting high quality teaching. Procedures are in place to monitor the quality of teaching and to achieve the expectation of high quality teaching throughout the school. Teachers are supported to develop the kinds of teaching approaches/pedagogy outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum. Considered steps are being taken to introduce e-learning. Teachers are working together to build their knowledge of, and skills, to support Māori education. Effective use is made of assessment and examination results to review and improve learning programmes and classroom teaching. As a next step, teachers could inquire more into the impact of their classroom practice on student progress and achievement.

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

Māori students benefit from the school’s focus on high achievement for all. They achieve well in National Standards, CIE and NCEA, in line with other St Peter’s College students. The school’s Catholic character and pastoral care promote a strong sense of belonging for Māori students and whānau. Students mentor students in other schools. Opportunities are expanding for students to gain marae experience and to fulfil leadership roles as Māori.

The school focus on Māori education has strengthened over the past two years. A school-wide review of Learning Areas identified the need to strengthen the place of the Treaty of Waitangi principle of The New Zealand Curriculum in curriculum decisions. A draft Māori achievement strategy articulates a new and stronger vision for Māori education at St Peter’s College. The Middle School (Year 7 and 8) has a strategy for accelerating Māori achievement through whānau involvement and programme review. The next step is for the board of trustees, in consultation with the school’s Māori community, to incorporate these developments into its policies, plans and annual targets. The increased focus on Māori education is likely to help more students to value their Māori heritage and identify as Māori.

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. A culture of high expectations, shared leadership and inclusiveness prevails.

  • Student performance in internal and external assessments and examinations is rigorously analysed in order to maximise student learning opportunities, lift teacher performance and channel resources.
  • The headmaster effectively leads senior leaders to sustain on-going improvement in their respective areas of responsibility.
  • Whānau are valued members of the school community, as are former students (St Peter’s Men) who maintain links with the school; some as teachers and school leaders.

‘The Way Forward/Te Ara Whakamua’ for St Peter’s College is clearly articulated in the school’s charter and strategic plan for 2012-2015. The charter upholds key elements of the school’s Roman Catholic character, upholds the primacy of learning and gives high priority to pastoral care. These features are integral to school operations.

The strategic plan has key directions for St Peter’s College to secure its position as an outstanding boys’ school. Accordingly the board of trustees agrees that through its strategic and annual plan it could now:

  • set more measurable goals and targets especially in terms of student outcomes in line with Ministry of Education expectations
  • ensure reports that the board receives are more pertinent, clear and precise, so that it is well informed about trends and patterns in student progress and achievement overall, and is well placed to set annual targets for groups of students at risk of under-achieving
  • formalise the headmaster’s annual performance agreement and review the process for appraising the deputy principals
  • make more provision for the promotion of Māori and Pacific success and achievement in consultation with the Māori and Pacific communities respectively.

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 47 international students. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

International students are very well provided for. The tradition set by Edmund Rice of ‘rubbing shoulders together’ reminds staff and students of the importance of learning from each other. Cultural diversity is celebrated in the school and therefore international students readily integrate into the college and their academic studies. Most international students seek academic learning with a view to gaining qualifications to enter tertiary education. Raw data indicates that the students progress and achieve well. This information could be analysed so that the board of trustees receives good information about the students’ progress and achievement.

Students receive high quality pastoral care that includes effective orientation, learning and accommodation support and monitoring. They are involved and enjoy participating in the many cultural, sports and academic co-curricular activities the college provides. They have good opportunities to share their cultures with other students and to show leadership in the school community.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region (Acting)

14 November 2012

About the School

Location

Epsom, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

62

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll

1223

Number of international students

47

Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Indian

Asian

Other

9%

48%

18%

11%

9%

5%

Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

14 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

June 2006

May 2003