Pompallier Catholic College - 20/05/2013

1 Context

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

Pompallier Catholic College is a Year 7 to 13 school near Whangarei in Northland. The co-educational college has an attractive setting. The school’s settled and purposeful tone supports students’ learning. Positive and respectful relationships between staff and students complement the school's special Catholic character and its associated Marist charism.

The principal provides effective leadership for the staff and the board of trustees. School performance and improvements are being guided by ongoing and responsive self review. The quality of teaching and assessment, and the transition of students through the school, are areas that are improving as a result of recent consultation and evaluation.

Students are well known to staff and their learning progress is thoughtfully monitored through programmes of academic and pastoral support. School leaders are actively building connections with whānau to better support the nearly twenty percent of students who are Māori. Visits to marae and significant local cultural sites are strengthening bicultural aspects of the curriculum.

Previous ERO reports have noted positive outcomes for students and effective support networks that help students to achieve. Students and staff are proud of the continuing levels of success in national qualifications. The strongly inclusive culture of the school ensures that needs of all students are well catered for.

2 Learning

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

The school is making increasingly good use of student achievement information to strengthen teaching practice and monitor student progress. Recent improvements include:

  • better use of the school’s achievement data base to inform teachers’ planning
  • students and parents using achievement information to guide decisions about course selection and curriculum learning pathways
  • a refinement of the academic counselling model to help students set appropriate learning goals
  • literacy and numeracy achievement used to support student progress through the junior years at the school
  • the board of trustees use of analysed information, about National Standards and the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), to inform annual goals and targets.

Achievement information from the school and from the Ministry of Education (MoE) shows that achievement levels in NCEA are continuing to rise. Student achievement, including that of Māori students, is above national averages and that of other similar schools. The school is currently achieving the government’s NCEA Level 2 target set for 2017.

School wide professional development is focused on assisting teachers to make the best use of student progress and achievement data. Professional learning groups provide opportunities for teachers to share expertise and develop student-centred learning approaches.

Increasing the analysis of classroom data would help teachers to reflect on the effectiveness of their own teaching practice. School leaders agree that this inquiry approach is an important next step in aligning the quality of teaching with goals for improving outcomes for students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is being extensively reviewed at both the junior and senior levels of the school. The reviews are being thoughtfully led by the principal in response to changing community aspirations and the need to prepare students for learning beyond school.

Continuity in the junior school curriculum, from Years 7 to 10 is improving. The home-room learning environment suits junior students who also enjoy specialist teaching in the technologies, physical education and the arts. National Standards at Years 7 and 8 have been implemented effectively and achievement in relation to the National Standards is well analysed and reported.

The senior school curriculum is being redesigned to provide greater flexibility in academic and vocational learning pathways. Priorities for the curriculum design focus on ensuring that all students attain a useful qualification. This school-wide approach to curriculum review has involved staff and trustees thinking strategically about school development.

Careers services, academic counselling, special education and pastoral care are also being reviewed in response to changing curriculum priorities. Analysed information about school leavers and their intended destinations would be useful to inform these review processes.

Parents receive regular information about student progress and achievement. Reports in the junior school are designed to encourage parent support of students’ learning. Senior leaders must ensure that student achievement in Years 7 and 8 is reported more specifically in relation to the National Standards for reading, writing and mathematics.

The school’s curriculum reflects the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Shifts in teaching practice align more closely with students being more effective and self managing learners. The school’s vision for learning and the overall realignment of the school’s curriculum with the NZC is likely to improve learning outcomes for students.

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

Māori students make good progress and in the senior years achieve as well as all other students. Analysed achievement information at Years 7 and 8 identifies a high number of Māori students below the National Standard in writing and mathematics. Programmes to accelerate the learning progress of these students are in place and show positive results.

Māori students attain the required literacy and numeracy standards for NCEA. Retention levels for Māori students are high and the majority achieve NCEA Levels 1 and 2. Academic outcomes for Māori students currently exceed government targets.

While achievement and engagement outcomes are affirming, the board and school leaders recognise that more could be done to support Māori students to succeed as Māori. ERO recommends that school leaders:

  • use the MoE resources, Ka Hikitia and The Measurable Gains Framework to manage and evaluate student success as Māori
  • prioritise the development and implementation of te reo Māori programmes beyond Year 10
  • review the board’s Treaty of Waitangi policy to show more clearly how the school implements this policy
  • increase the emphasis on evaluating and reporting Māori student success to guide strategic development in this area.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is generally well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The principal’s leadership is based on an inclusive vision for learning in the context of the school’s special character. Self review is responsive and clearly aligned to the vision and direction of the school.

Trustees understand their governance roles and responsibilities. They make informed decisions and are confident to ask for and discuss information about school performance. Succession planning for board leadership has been well considered, allowing for a smooth transition following this year’s board elections.

The principal is encouraging a more reflective culture amongst the staff. The expectations of teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of their classroom practice could be documented more explicitly. This would support the revised performance management system which has the potential to lift the quality of teaching and learning.

The school charter for 2013 has been presented to the Ministry of Education. The charter could be better designed to guide improvements and help sustain good performance. In particular:

  • charter goals and targets should be prioritised and more clearly evidenced within the school's management plans
  • the charter should include specific achievement targets in relation to the National Standards
  • the analysis of variance should demonstrate how well the goals and targets have been achieved.

These steps would help to consolidate the many recent positive initiatives undertaken by the school and support other initiatives planned for the future.

Provision for international students

Pompallier College 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 11 international students attending the school, including some from Japan, South America and Germany.

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 and documented.

The board has a well developed strategic plan to guide decisions about international students. It would be useful if information about the engagement and achievement of international students was reported regularly to the board of trustees.

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.

In order to comply with legislation relating to the National Standards, the board is required to;

  • set targets relating to the standards in the school’s annual charter
  • report to parents in relation to the standards twice a year in plain language
  • analyse charter targets relating to the standards in its annual report.

National Administration Guideline 2A (a and b)

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

About the School

Location

Maunu, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

17

School type

State Integrated Catholic School (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

533

Number of international students

11

Gender composition

Boys      50%
Girls       50%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Māori
Other European
Asian
African
Indian
Pacific
Other

60%
18%
10%
  3%
  2%
  2%
  1%
  4%

Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

20 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Review Type

April 2010
January 2007
October 2003