Monte Cecilia School (Mt Roskill) - 20/12/2013

1 Context

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

Monte Cecilia School is a Catholic Integrated school catering for Year 1 to 6 students.

The school is going through a period of considerable change.

The land the school sits on has been sold and the Catholic Schools Office is building a new school within the St John Vianney Parish. The new school is scheduled to open at the beginning of 2016 and will offer flexible, modern learning environments, catering for the 21st century learner. This planned relocation, and the need to consider different teaching approaches, has been challenging for the school and parish communities.

The school has also experienced significant changes in school leadership. Both the school’s long-serving principal and the deputy principal (who served as acting principal for 5 school terms) have left the school. These changes in leadership have led to a lack of shared understanding about teaching practices among staff and an absence of a planned approach to how to manage the changes necessary to support the school’s new direction.

The previous board decided to access support from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to address these concerns. They worked successfully with a MOE specialist advisor and made a well considered appointment of an experienced permanent principal. The new principal took up the position in July 2013. The specialist advisor has also supported a successful transition to a new board in this year’s board elections. The newly elected board is building positive working relationships with school leaders. Staff and the school community are responding well to new governance and leadership approaches.

The 2010 ERO report noted the school provided students with very good standards of education. The report recommended curriculum developments and strengthening partnerships with the school’s Māori and Pacific communities to promote ongoing improvements in children’s learning and achievement. The 2012 Catholic Special Character external review identified the need to strengthen the delivery of Religious Education in the school.

2 Learning

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

The school reports high levels of student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific student achievement is comparable to the rest of the school population. However, there is inconsistency in the interpretation of student achievement data by teachers working with the different year levels. Development of school wide systems to effectively manage and monitor student achievement data is a priority for the school. ERO and school leaders agree the next steps include developing:

  • more useful and measurable achievement targets for specific groups of students
  • processes that support teachers to make robust and consistent achievement judgements against the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics
  • systems to track student progress over time.

Achievement information is used well to identify students who are underachieving or have special learning needs. Appropriate intervention programmes are provided for these students and their progress is closely monitored. Good use of self review to evaluate the effectiveness of these programmes is supporting accelerated progress for some students.

Students at some year levels manage their own learning goals and construct learning pathways with teachers through the sharing of achievement information. Students in these classes are taught the skills and knowledge to be actively involved in decisions about how to further improve their learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides a broad range of learning opportunities that support student learning. The curriculum has a strong focus on building literacy and numeracy knowledge and skills. The opportunity for students to learn through education outside the classroom is also a significant component of the school curriculum. Teachers use a good variety of teaching and learning strategies and resources to support student learning. Positive pastoral relationships between teachers and students support students’ participation in the curriculum.

However, different approaches to the delivery of the school curriculum provide challenges for students, staff and parents as children move through the school. There is inconsistent implementation of the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. This is resulting in differences in the quality of teaching students receive in relation to the NZC principles, such as those connected to learning how to learn and ways of reflecting on their own learning . As a result, even though high levels of student engagement in tasks are evident across the school, there is variability in students’ sustained engagement in learning processes.

ERO agrees with the following priorities for curriculum development identified by school leaders:

  • development of shared teaching understandings and approaches that support engagement in the learning process
  • supporting staff development through an effective professional learning programme
  • documenting strategies and expectations to support the language and culture of learners.

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

Currently, four students at the school identity as Māori. Māori students are likely to benefit from the priorities for future development identified for the curriculum. The school’s nationally based religious education programme has a component on taha wairua. Strengthening the delivery of this programme and creating a higher profile for Māori culture has the potential to lead to shared understandings which will enrich all students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to address the priorities for improvement identified in this report.

The new principal provides strong professional leadership and is committed to continuous improvement. Collaborative and inclusive leadership approaches are providing opportunities for professional discussions and for staff to have their perspectives considered. Open communication is helping to promote positive engagement with the community and the parish. These approaches are likely to contribute to a shared ownership of the future direction of the school.

Trustees bring a range of useful skills to the new board. They have sought training to increase their awareness of their governance roles and responsibilities. The board is working effectively with school leaders to develop a fresh school vision and strategic approach to support the school’s new direction and successful move to the new site. Careful management of the pace of change and regular communication and consultation with staff and parents will be essential to ensure continued positive learning outcomes for students.

The principal is introducing self-review practices. Together with the board she acknowledges the need to develop and document effective processes for robust self review to support ongoing improvement. A scheduled review cycle would help to ensure that appropriate emphasis is given to reflection on policy implementation and alignment to current legislative requirements.

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.

During the course of the review, ERO identified an area of non-compliance related to policy review. In order to address this, the board must:

  • maintain and document an on-going programme of self review in relation to school policies. (National Education Guidelines 1993, National Administrative Guideline 2).

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 December 2013

About the School

Location

Mt Roskill, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1376

School type

Integrated Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

170

Gender composition

Boys 55%

Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Indian

Chinese

Niue

Tongan

Other

57%

2%

14%

10%

4%

3%

3%

7%

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

20 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

June 2007

September 2003