Sacred Heart College (Napier) - 10/11/2016


Overall achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement, including certificate endorsements, remains above national rates. Responsive programmes support Māori students to achieve success. Strategic priorities to promote equity and excellence for learners are well supported by effective governance, leadership and partnerships with parents. Strengthening evaluation should sustain ongoing school improvement.

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

1 Context

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

Sacred Heart College is a state integrated Catholic school for girls in Years 9 to 13. Currently, 19% of students identify as Māori and 8% as Pacific.

Special Catholic character values underpin all policies, procedures and practices. The school motto of Hearts and Minds in Harmony is reinforced by the pursuit of excellence in academic, spiritual, cultural and sporting activities.

The school is actively involved in the establishment of the Napier City Community of Learning (CoL) and in a mentoring programme for Māori and Pacific students.

Since the 2012 ERO review, new facilities include a mission centre for cultural and spiritual events and performances.

2 Learning

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

Leaders, trustees and teachers use student information very effectively. They use data to inform strategic decisions and goals, programmes and interventions that contribute to improved student wellbeing, engagement and levels of achievement.

Since the previous ERO review, high overall rates of achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) have continued. In 2015, achievement of NCEAs Levels 1 to 3 was above national rates and well above schools of similar type. Certificate endorsements have increased steadily over the past three years to be well above national rates at all levels.

Overall patterns of achievement fluctuate for Māori and Pacific students. School leaders and trustees have a clear strategic focus and high expectations for raising the achievement of these groups to be at the levels of their peers. Leaders and teachers monitor the achievement of Māori and Pacific students on an individual basis. Data shows that many Māori students leave the school with NCEA Level 2 or better. Pacific numbers are small with high percentages of students leaving with NCEA Level 2 or better.

The school makes good use of literacy and mathematics achievement information to improve learning in Years 9 and 10. Leaders and teachers use data well to set goals, track and monitor achievement. They identify students achieving below expectations and provide interventions, programmes and support to accelerate their progress. More specific annual target setting should assist middle and senior managers to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes for students whose achievement needs to be accelerated.

There is a strong emphasis on supporting and mentoring all students to achieve. Senior leaders and staff know all students very well and use a collaborative approach to attending to needs. They build strong learner-centred relationships with students and have well-established tracking and monitoring systems to support individuals.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is highly effective in promoting and extending student learning. A broad range of programmes provide sufficient breadth and depth for students to have choices and learning pathways relevant to their goals, interests and aspirations. Bicultural perspectives are evident in students' learning experiences at school.

The school has a clear vision for providing effective classroom teaching and learning strategies. This includes well-integrated use of information and communication technologies (ICT), culturally responsive teaching and the use of tools and strategies for promoting higher order thinking and communication.

There are good systems and processes to embed expected teaching practices, which are closely aligned to school values and strategic priorities, to make learning responsive and inclusive for all students.

Students with additional learning needs are well supported through targeted programmes, interventions and individual learning plans. Regular monitoring and sharing of information about these students helps inform decisions about strategies and resourcing to support their learning.

Leaders and teachers have established good systems, processes and programmes for identifying and extending the learning and achievement of students with special abilities and talents. As a result increasing numbers of students gain NCEA merit and excellence endorsements.

Positive teacher student relationships and high expectations promote engagement and learning. Support and mentoring by peers and staff assists students' transitions into and through the school.

Students at all levels are provided with a range of opportunities to develop their leadership skills and confidence. They participate in a wide range of learning experiences outside the classroom such as excursions, camps, marae visits, vocational experiences and regional sports and cultural competitions.

Students’ placements, learning pathways and programmes promote high levels of motivation, engagement and success for diverse groups of students. Careers education usefully provides a range of vocational experiences, visits and ongoing pastoral support and guidance for students during their time at school.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori as Māori effectively. Te ao Māori is visible in school practices and programmes. The curriculum includes many opportunities to value and promote te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Māori students have opportunities to have their language, culture and identity affirmed and celebrated. They actively participate in kapahaka, speech competitions, noho marae and a range of culturally inclusive school ceremonies.

All students study te reo Māori at Year 9 and those from language immersion programmes have opportunities to extend their learning and success through tertiary level te reo Māori courses while at school.

Student and whānau perspectives are actively sought and respected, to build stronger learner centred partnerships. The Roopū Manaaki provides a useful link between school and whānau.

A strong strategic focus on sustaining and improving the achievement of Māori students is evident in school systems. Teachers are purposefully involved in strategies and tailored professional learning and development programmes to further develop their culturally responsive practices.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board is well informed and trustees have a shared understanding of their roles and accountabilities. They access a range of relevant information from leaders, staff and the community to inform strategic priorities, decision making and resourcing. Trustees are in the process of investigating tools and processes for reviewing the board’s performance and strengthening evaluation of their effectiveness.

Highly effective leadership is evident. Leaders set clear expectations across the school and these are communicated and monitored well. They support and resource emerging leadership opportunities to assist ongoing capacity building. Leaders actively promote innovation and knowledge building to improve outcomes for learners.

A robust and improvement focused appraisal system complements school expectations for effective teaching practice and strategic priorities. Teachers are actively involved in observing each other and give and receive feedback to extend their practice. Leaders know and support teachers well to build their capability.

PLD processes are well designed, led and aligned to individual teacher and schoolwide goals and valued outcomes for students. Regular school-based, collaborative learning groups use student perspectives, current research and expertise to improve teachers' knowledge and skills. Individual teachers are well supported to access external PLD and networks according to their needs.

Leaders and staff actively promote school and community connections and partnerships that build trust and value reciprocal learning. A range of appropriate and effective communications strategies are used to engage and consult with parents and whānau. They are welcomed and encouraged to participate in events and activities to strengthen educational collaboration and understanding.

Close links with a number of sporting and training organisations and community agencies extend opportunities for students' learning and development. The school is focused on continuing to promote genuine two-way, learner-centred partnerships to benefit students.

A culture of reflection, review and inquiry is very evident and underpins decisions, plans and resourcing for lifting performance. Teachers use systematic processes to inquire into their practices and find ways to more effectively address the needs of their students. The principal models and promotes increased use of evaluation for improvement.

Further development of a shared understanding and use of evaluation should enable more consistent practice, to strengthen planning and resourcing decisions for ongoing improvement.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on July 1st 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements.

At the time of this review there were six international students attending the school. Most students come from Japan. The school is making good progress in aligning its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code.

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.


Overall achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement, including certificate endorsements, remains above national rates. Responsive programmes support Māori students to achieve success. Strategic priorities to promote equity and excellence for learners are well supported by effective governance, leadership and partnerships with parents. Strengthening evaluation should sustain ongoing school improvement.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 November 2016

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





Other ethnic groups






Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

10 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

November 2009

December 2006