Roncalli College - 19/12/2016

Findings

Roncalli College places a high value on its special character and the holistic education of its students. Student wellbeing is at the centre of improvement initiatives. Teachers build positive relationships with their students and whānau. Overall student achievement in NCEA is very good. Extending the analysis of student progress should lead to greater consistency in school-wide evaluation and reporting.

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?

Roncalli College is a coeducational, Year 9 to 13 state integrated Catholic school in Timaru. It is a special character school with strongly embedded values. The holistic approach to education for the students involves academic, spiritual, cultural and sporting domains. Students demonstrate pride in their school.

The school is an active member of the South Canterbury Catholic Community of Learning. It is also part of the nationwide Marist network of schools.

The board has a balance of experienced trustees and new trustees since the 2016 elections.

Considerable changes in staff have occurred since the 2013 review, in particular, in the middle management area. The school is involved in several internal and external professional learning initiatives.

Significant progress has been made since the last review, especially in building respectful collegiality and collaborative practices. An improvement in reflecting New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, celebrating Māori culture and consulting with Māori whānau and community is also evident.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

Students generally achieve highly at all levels in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Senior student achievement information, over time, reflects sustained levels of student success. The percentage of leavers with NCEA Level 2 is very high and is above the government’s national target. Māori students’ achievement is at or above that of their peers within the school. The school recognises that they now need to improve the number of merit and excellence endorsements achieved at each level.

Achievement information is used well to track individual student progress. Students whose learning needs to be accelerated and students with additional learning needs are identified early and closely monitored. These students are involved in a variety of support initiatives that include:

  • peer and teacher mentoring
  • additional targeted support within and outside the classroom
  • a proactive pastoral system to meet students' wellbeing needs
  • positive partnerships with family/whānau.

The school has a deeply-held commitment to enhance student achievement through a focus on wellbeing. The strong emphasis on values and the inclusive environment enhance student learning. The effective support students receive when they transition into the school helps them to develop a sense of belonging. They very quickly learn, take ownership of and demonstrate the school values.

A useful and comprehensive reporting system to parents reflects the school’s holistic approach to student achievement.

Leaders and teachers have improved their use of years 9 and 10 achievement data. Each curriculum area now records student achievement against curriculum levels. Progress over time is recorded and analysed for most learning areas. Leaders should ensure that this progress is continued and further strengthened.

Next Steps

ERO and the school agree that a key next step is to increase engagement and achievement to develop a stronger strategic focus on teaching and learning. This includes:

  • specific measurable achievement targets
  • further development of action plans that include milestones
  • extending the cycle and scope of evaluation.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Students benefit from a comprehensive range of subjects and programmes.

The staff know their students very well. The strong sense of family and the positive and respectful student relationships among themselves and with staff make the students feel valued and safe. The staff are accessible and helpful. Older students support the younger ones.

The students are actively involved in the wider community through service initiatives. Combined with the variety of student leadership opportunities, this provides relevant contexts for personal development.

Students have extensive opportunities through a network of guidance staff to explore options for future courses and careers.

The gradual implementation of a range of digital technologies to support learning and teaching is well considered. The school’s e-learning strategy provides clear directions for ongoing development in this area.

Effective and robust evaluation of learning areas using external expertise has contributed to the major changes in staffing, leadership and school processes in the past three years. These changes have ensured the school environment is safe and supportive for students and staff.

Curriculum leaders regularly examine and reflect on how relevant and current the curriculum is for their students. Staff are beginning to include student input into decision making. This could be further developed within all aspects of curriculum evaluation.

Next steps

The principal and senior leadership team now need to ensure that the middle management team of curriculum leaders has a consistently effective approach to curriculum development and evaluation. This could include:

  • a MoE integrated approach to learning pathways across the curriculum
  • greater strengthening of students’ understanding of themselves as learners
  • a wider range of teaching strategies for the range of abilities and needs in a classroom.

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

Since the previous ERO report improvements have been made to the way Māori culture is reflected and valued in the school. Core Māori values of manaakitanga (caring) and whanaungatanga (family-like relationships) are very apparent in the school culture. Tuakana-teina (relationships of peer support) are also evident. Māori students have opportunities to show leadership and to support their peers in cultural activities. Many of these activities are student initiated and led.

The school listens to students regarding biculturalism. Curriculum leaders now need to more effectively use this information to ensure te reo and tikanga Māori is present in classroom programmes and practices across the school.

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 board and senior leadership are improvement focused. They are committed to the school and its values. A shared vision for the wellbeing of students and their achievement is evident.

The school continues to develop:

  • a reflective culture
  • a whole staff approach to examining and implementing effective teaching practice
  • leadership capacity throughout the school.

A significant strength of the school is the relationships it has with its community and partnerships with local businesses. This includes:

  • an engaged and positive parent body
  • business networks that support school activities and work placements.

Significant long term planning has occurred to ensure effective management of anticipated changes to middle and senior leadership positions.

Next steps

The senior leadership team has a considered and timely approach to change management. A variety of evidence is gathered and used to inform decisions for change. The school now needs to consistently evaluate change initiatives.

The board has identified the need to rewrite its strategic plan to ensure consistency and transparency across expectations, systems and documentation. In particular, ERO recommends that this should include continued improvement of:

  • professional learning and appraisal
  • Years 9 and 10 student achievement and progress.

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 23 international students attending the school, none of whom were exchange students. The school provides high quality pastoral care for international students. The students are well integrated into the school. Effective systems are in place for managing and supporting these students.

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

Roncalli College places a high value on its special character and the holistic education of its students. Student wellbeing is at the centre of improvement initiatives. Teachers build positive relationships with their students and whānau. Overall student achievement in NCEA is very good. Extending the analysis of student progress should lead to greater consistency in school-wide evaluation and reporting.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

19 December 2016

About the School

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

358

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

503

Number of international students

23

Gender composition

Female 54%; Male 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnicities

69%

12%

4%

6%

9%

Special Features

Catholic co-educational school

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

19 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

April 2010

March 2006