Sacred Heart College (Auckland) - 15/11/2018

School Context

Sacred Heart College (Auckland) is a Catholic, Marist Champagnat school that provides special character education for boys from Years 7 to 13. There are currently 1232 students enrolled at the school. Twelve percent are Māori and fifteen percent are of Pacific heritages. Sacred Heart College is part of an international network of Sacred Heart schools established by Marcellin Champagnat in 1818.

The school’s mission statement emphasises the aim of developing outstanding mature young men by providing an education that balances spiritual development with academic, social and physical achievement. The school’s vision is for each student to be grounded in the Catholic faith and to leave the school confident and prepared to be active in a changing and complex world.

The values embedded in the college are drawn from the charism of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Marist Brothers. These are the values of:

  • a family spirit

  • a presence for others

  • a spirit of simplicity

  • support for individuals and families in need

  • a commitment to diligence

  • loyalty and pride

  • service, courage, compassion, integrity and goodness.

The board’s strategic goals focus on:

  • strengthening the Catholic and Marist character in the school

  • raising the academic excellence of all students

  • improving the implementation and outcomes of pastoral care

  • excellence in sporting and cultural performances

  • participation and achievement in the Arts.

Since the 2014 ERO review, the school has built a new library, auditorium and a performing arts block called the ‘School of Imagination’.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

  • school leaver qualifications and destinations

  • engagement and wellbeing

  • success and participation in sporting and cultural activities

  • progress against the school’s strategic goals.

Local and international alumnae maintain relationships with the school and provide role modelling and mentoring for students.

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?

Leaders, trustees and staff successfully promote equitable and excellent student outcomes through a relentless focus on holistic wellbeing and support for learning success. Achievement data show that students make very good progress over their time at the school.

Achievement information shows very high pass rates in the National Educational Certificate of Achievement (NCEA) for most students over time, including Māori and Pacific.

Data from 2014 to 2017 show that more than 85 percent of students achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. The number of excellence endorsements continues to increase at NCEA Levels 1 and 3. In 2016 and 2017, approximately 80 percent of students achieved University Entrance (UE). Students win scholarships in a variety of subjects.

In-school achievement information shows that there is parity for Māori students at NCEA Level 1 and Level 3. Data for 2017 show a significant improvement in the number of Māori students who achieved UE. The school sets broad strategic goals to improve in-school parity of achievement for Māori and Pacific students.

Years 7 to 10 students’ achievement in literacy and mathematics is regularly assessed. This information shows that Years 7 and 8 students make good progress over a two-year period.

Teachers, curriculum leaders and deans across Years 7 to 13 monitor individual students who are at risk of not achieving, in order to gauge their progress.

Other valued student outcomes in the school include:

  • respect, service and enacting the special character of Marist Champagnat

  • strong commitment to learning and reaching individual potential

  • leadership, resilience, initiative and adaptability

  • social awareness and effective communication

  • community service.

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

Leaders and teachers have the capacity to accelerate learning for students. The school responds effectively to Māori, Pacific and other young people whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Concerns about parity for some groups of learners are successfully addressed over time. Staff work purposefully to achieve parity for Māori and Pacific students, and for those with additional learning needs.

The school has very good systems for identifying students whose learning needs acceleration. Student achievement is carefully tracked and monitored by teachers and leaders. Achievement data show that most students make very good or accelerated progress over their seven year period at the school and go on to achieve NCEA qualifications at Level 2 or above.

Leaders and teachers should now consider building a longitudinal picture of achievement and progress across a seven year period. This should include achievement and progress information from Years 7 to 10, and in NCEA and UE. This information would help to clearly identify those teaching and learning approaches that make the most positive difference for students.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well coordinated. There is effective liaison between specialists, classroom teachers and deans. This considered approach helps students to progress, participate fully in appropriate learning programmes and to be involved in all aspects of school life.

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?

Sacred Heart College (Auckland) continues to be an effective educational community for boys in Years 7 to 13. There is a strong focus on achieving equity and excellence for students. High achievement levels have been sustained over time.

School conditions that enable learners to achieve equity and excellence include a caring and collaborative school culture, effective leadership at all levels of the school and a responsive curriculum.

The school’s highly inclusive and collaborative culture enables students to work and learn with and from adults and their peers. This culture, in which diversity is respected and valued by adults and students, is underpinned by the values and beliefs of the Catholic faith and the legacy of the school founder, Marcellin Champagnat. Student surveys indicate that the school’s wrap-around approach to pastoral care successfully supports students’ wellbeing and achievement. Leaders and staff take shared responsibility for providing a strong foundation for learning and success for all students.

School leaders ensure an orderly and supportive environment that contributes to student learning and wellbeing. They build trust and collaboration throughout the school community. Senior and middle leaders deliberately plan personalised learning approaches and systems for students.

The schoolwide curriculum is responsive to students’ strengths, interests and learning needs. Students learn, achieve and progress across a broad range of learning opportunities. Students have effective, sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn.

The board of trustees is highly committed to and supportive of the school’s vision, and is strategically focused on promoting equity and excellence. Trustees work collaboratively with leaders towards achieving the school’s vision, and promoting positive outcomes for students and ongoing school improvement. The board’s resourcing decisions are supporting leaders and teachers to extend learning opportunities and increase in-school parity of achievement.

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

To sustain and enhance existing very good practices that promote equity and excellence, and support accelerated learning, school leaders and trustees should continue to deepen internal evaluation, particularly in relation to stewardship and curriculum. This development would be supported by the explicit use of evaluative focus questions and indicators of effective practice. More in-depth evaluation could usefully focus on gauging the consistency of schoolwide practice and would also include the parent community’s contributions and perspectives to a greater extent.

Senior leaders recognise the value of increasing the specificity of strategic targets for students who are at risk of not achieving parity. This could include targets for Māori and Pacific students’ achievement in NCEA and UE. Strengthening links between professional development, appraisal and student learning outcomes would support greater coherence across the school’s approaches to achieving equity and excellence for all its students.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

The board has developed an appropriate plan to address the recommendations of the Ombudsman’s June 2018 findings in relation to the school’s procedures for stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions, and its harassment and bullying policies. The school continues to monitor and review the implementation of these policies.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The Sacred Heart College (Auckland) hostelaccommodates 174 students. It is owned by the New Zealand Marist Brothers Trust Board. The Hostel Company hasattested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The school principal is the chief executive officer of the hostel company.

ERO’s findings confirm that:

  • the positive school culture, based on its special character, is reflected in hostel life for students

  • clear guidelines, expectations and boundaries help students to feel a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing

  • hostel management is efficient and effective in providing a supportive living and learning environment for students attending the school.

Students interviewed by ERO speak positively about the camaraderie and caring ethos in the hostel, the choices available and responsibilities expected of them. They also value the long-term friendships that they make, and younger students appreciated the support of their older peers.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(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 83 international students attending the school. Robust monitoring systems and internal evaluation processes ensure that the school continues to meet its obligations under the Code.

An experienced team of staff in the school’s international student department provides high quality support for international students’ education and wellbeing. Learning programmes, including those for English language learning, are tailored to students’ individual needs. International students achieve very well in their studies for NCEA and participate widely across all aspects of school life.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an inclusive and collaborative school culture that promotes a sense of belonging, service and learning success

  • school leadership that is responsive, and actively supports equity and excellence

  • a responsive curriculum that engages students in learning

  • the board’s strategic commitment and resourcing to increase in-school equity and excellence.

Next steps

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

  • deepening internal evaluation to measure success and support ongoing development and improvement

  • more specific strategic target setting for students who need accelerated learning progress.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

15 November 2018

About the school


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 7 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      100%

Ethnic composition

Māori                               12%
Pākehā                             59%
Asian                                9%
Samoan                           7%
Tongan                             5%
other ethnic groups           8%

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

15 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review             May 2014
Education Review             September 2009
Education Review             June 2006