Sacred Heart School (Christchurch) - 16/01/2018

School Context

Sacred Heart School is a Years 1 to 8 Catholic integrated school in Christchurch, with a roll of 184 children. A wide range of ethnicities make up the majority of the roll. A significant number (about half) of children are English language learners (ELL).

The school states that its vision and valued outcomes are for its children to be:

  • organised
  • confident
  • literate
  • living the Sacred Heart way.

The school’s aims and goals focus on improving children’s achievement in the National Standards (NS) and enriching and empowering children for participation in life for the 21st century.

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

  • achievement and progress in relation to the NS in reading, writing and mathematics and across a range of curriculum areas

  • outcomes related to children’s wellbeing and the special character of the school.

Since the 2013 ERO review a new principal and deputy principal have been appointed. Many of the staff have been at the school for a number of years. The board is a mix of experienced and new trustees.

The school is a member of the Kahukura Cluster.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is effectively achieving positive outcomes for the majority of its children.

In 2016, a large majority of children, including Māori, Pacific heritage and Filipino children achieved at or above NS in reading and mathematics. A small majority achieved at or above the NS in writing. Almost all Filipino children receive additional support for English language learning. There is some disparity for boys of all ethnicities in reading and writing.

Levels of achievement in relation to NS for reading, writing and mathematics show a downward trend over the last three years. In that time there has been roll growth and significantly increased numbers of English as second-language learners.

There are positive outcomes for almost all children in relation to their wellbeing, sense of belonging to the school community and in being good Catholic citizens.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has good information about the progress and achievement of individual children.

There is evidence to show that in the last three years the school has accelerated the learning of some children including, Māori, Pacific, English language learners and other children with additional needs. In 2017 the school has successfully accelerated higher proportions of children across all groups in their learning than in previous years.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has a number of processes and practices that are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence. These particularly relate to children’s wellbeing, engagement in learning and sense of pride in their language, culture and identity.

School leaders are effectively building their own and collective capability within the school to improve outcomes for children’s achievement. The school’s strategic plan, aligned to the Kahukura cluster goals provides clear direction in key areas. Leaders and teachers, with the support of the board, have:

  • redeveloped and improved the school’s approach to teaching and learning through intensive research and ongoing professional learning and development

  • had a deliberate focus with planned actions that are helping Māori children experience success as Māori

  • through changed approaches achieved greater engagement and involvement of whānau, aiga and families in their children’s learning.

Children’s learning benefits from programmes that are highly responsive to their needs, interests and language, culture and identity. Since the November 2013 ERO review, leaders and teachers have responded well to the recommendation that they should extend the ways they help children know about their learning and monitor their progress. Students now show a greater sense of ownership and knowledge of their learning.

Leaders and teachers have improved the systems for gathering and sharing learning information. Collaborative practice is leading to shared responsibility for all children’s learning. Teachers use learning and other information about valued outcomes well to plan deliberate acts of teaching and programmes and initiatives to lift children’s achievement. Strengthened moderation practices contribute to greater accuracy of teacher judgements about children’s learning.

The board actively represents and serves the community and school in its role. Trustees receive regular reports about the charter, school programmes, practices and student achievement targets. They use this information well to ensure the focus remains on equity and excellence for all children and that children are achieving well in relation to the NS, Sacred Heart Way and Catholic character.

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

Some areas of the school’s processes need to be strengthened and embedded to increase their effectiveness in achieving equity and excellence. The board and leaders need to:

  • strengthen internal evaluation capability to build understanding and practice for ongoing improvement and innovation, including evaluating the impact of strategies and initiatives to improve learning outcomes

  • simplify targets to ensure a stronger focus on accelerated progress to lift achievement

  • align the annual plan and teachers’ appraisal goals, inquiries and targets that relate to accelerated learning with priorities in the strategic plan.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • develop guidelines for appraisal and teaching as inquiry.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • providing an inclusive and caring school culture for all children and families

  • collaborative practice that is building teacher capacity and capability and positive outcomes for learners

  • building meaningful relationships with each child and family/whānau aiga as partners in learning.

Next steps

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

  • raising internal evaluation capabilities to show what the school is doing well and what is making the most difference for all learners

  • refining targets which align to school plans and processes to raise achievement of all children.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

16 January 2018

About the school


Addington, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls: 95

Boys: 89

Ethnic composition

Māori: 8%

Pākeha: 16%

Pacific: 14%

Filipino: 53%

Other: 9%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

16 January 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: November 2013

Education Review: December 2010

Education Review: June 2007