Sacred Heart College (Napier) - 05/12/2012

1 Context

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

Sacred Heart College is an integrated Catholic school catering for Years 9 to 13 students. Currently, 22% of students identify as Māori and 9% as Pacific. The values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum are promoted under the umbrella of the school’s Catholic character.

‘Sisterhood’ underpins relationships within the school, enhancing the supportive and respectful interactions of students with each other. Student leadership is seen as pivotal to generating successful 21st century young women.

A strong focus on the achievement of girls, emphasises that all students will reach their individual potential and level of excellence.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers collect a wide range of information to monitor and report student progress and achievement. Thorough analysis of this information clearly identifies trends and patterns of progress and achievement schoolwide, for the year cohorts, ethnic groups and priority learners. Data for Māori, Pacific and special needs students is separated as part of this analysis.

Information shared with the board is useful, clear and focused on achievement. Trustees are well informed about outcomes for students, particularly priority learners. Relevant targets that arise out of data analysis are set within each curriculum area to address identified needs. Purposeful plans support the targets. The board makes relevant resourcing decisions based on the high quality information it receives. Annual review of the targets is meaningful and comprehensive.

Student achievement information shows that teaching has impacted positively on learning, with good progress being made in Years 9 and 10, particularly for lower achieving students. Data relating to the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) shows that, in most aspects of achievement, students (including Māori and Pacific) perform at or above in comparison to those in similar schools. Targets to raise the number of students achieving merit and excellence endorsements have been successful.

3 Curriculum

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

The Sacred Heart College Curriculum is effectively responsive to the students and the context of the school. Students are offered a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural, social and service opportunities within a framework of Catholic values. Key competencies are explicitly promoted and monitored. Students have a broad variety of curriculum pathways to success. Māori students access te reo Māori to Level 3 of NCEA and Pacific students attain NCEA credits in the Samoan language.

Professional learning groups collaborate effectively to support teachers develop practices that promote student learning. Teachers are encouraged to use research and evidence from their class practice. They are supported by observations and discussion to improve their teaching. Through membership of well considered cross-curricular groups, teachers are provided with a toolbox of strategies to engage students with differing learning needs.

Professional development priorities are evident in classroom practice, characterised by strong relationships and studentcentred teaching. Learning is planned, well sequenced and linked to previous understanding. Affirming, respectful interactions ensure that lessons are focused on the learning. Students are supported to reach their potential through close monitoring of progress and pastoral needs. They are encouraged to strive for excellence and be self-managing.

Teachers purposefully reflect on their individual effectiveness. Changes to programmes and practice focus on improving progress and achievement. Student opinion is often canvassed to contribute to the evaluation of teaching and programme content. Implementation of the appraisal process leads to enhancement of practice.

Strengthening relationships with the families/aiga of Pacific students, through fono and interviews, has enhanced curriculum responsiveness for Pacific students. Discussions with a Pacific support group focus on these students' needs. Strong leadership from senior Pacific girls encourages positive outcomes for other Pacific students. Good role models support younger students to aspire to achieve. Pacific students and their cultures are valued.

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

Trustees and school leaders strategically promote success for Māori students. Teachers are expected to plan for and implement teaching strategies that raise Māori student achievement and their engagement in the curriculum.

Whānau and Māori students participate in culturally appropriate ways, and effectively contribute to the development of teaching and curriculum decisions. Consultation with whānau, facilitated by senior Māori students, led to a development initiative to build teachers' confidence in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Students support teachers to learn through tuakana teina relationships that celebrate Māori student culture, knowledge and expertise.

Affirming relationships and inclusive teaching approaches assist Māori students’ engagement. Māori student leadership is nurtured, resulting in strong support and outstanding role modelling from senior students. Mentoring, involving a staff member, a senior and a junior student, is highly effective in identifying concerns and promoting positive outcomes. Students articulate the belief that they will be successful in a variety of ways and aspire to high levels of achievement and leadership.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board ensures, through the principal, that there is clear alignment between the charter, board planning, curriculum delivery and programme implementation. Focused, targeted decision-making promotes improvement.

High quality self review contributes to sustaining the schools’ positive performance and continuous development. Self review is well understood and findings are effectively used by school leaders to inform decisions about the curriculum and teaching/learning programmes.

A confident and cohesive senior leadership team competently guides the educational vision. A culture of high expectations for teachers, staff, leaders and students supports personal growth and provides impetus for all to do their best. Exceptional student leadership permeates the school, leading to increased engagement, enthusiasm and motivation for all students.

Trustees provide high quality governance focused on outcomes for students.

Provision for international students

Sacred Heart 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 two international students attending the school. The college has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

Sacred Heart College has many high quality procedures for managing international students’ safety and welfare both at school and in home-stay accommodation. Comprehensive structures, policies and practices ensure that pastoral care, good communication and school-wide monitoring systems effectively assist international students to feel fully included in college life.

The provision of English language tuition is effectively tailored to meet students' differing needs and abilities in response to assessment results.

Self review and reporting to the board on the care, achievement and engagement of international students should be strengthened to match other school self-review processes.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

5 December 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Female 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

5 December 2012

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2009

December 2006

November 2003