Sacred Heart School (Waikiwi) - 19/02/2018

School Context

Sacred Heart School (Waikiwi) is a small urban, Catholic primary, Years 1 to 6, school. It is located in Waikiwi, Invercargill. It has a current roll of 114 children, 22% of whom identify as Māori.

The school vision is to integrate the Mercy charism values in to school life. These are fairness and justice, caring for others, trusting in God, being welcoming, serving others and showing compassion. The school’s valued outcomes for students are to be confident, connected and actively involved lifelong learners, and able to integrate their cultural and Christian values into their lives. The school’s learning goals set targets to provide the best quality education for all learners in a secure, caring learning environment where values are meaningfully enacted.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the expected curriculum levels

  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs

  • outcomes related to the special character of the school

  • progress and accelerated progress for priority learners

  • outcomes related to engagement and wellbeing for success.

The school’s connection to the Catholic Church means that it has a close relationship with that community. The school has a stable and experienced leadership team. There is a mixture of new and longer serving staff and trustees.

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 very effectively achieving positive outcomes for almost all students. There are excellent and equitable outcomes for these students.

Achievement in relation to expected curriculum levels for reading and mathematics show a consistent upward trend of high achievement for almost all students. The December 2017 school data shows that over 90% of all students are at or above the expected curriculum level in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs are very well supported through ongoing careful planning and monitoring of their progress and wellbeing.

There are positive outcomes for almost all students 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 is responding very well to Māori and other students whose learning needs to accelerate. The place of Māori culture, identity and language is valued within the school. There is a strong focus on inclusion in all aspects of school life.

The school is able to show that it is successful in accelerating the progress and achievement of students whose learning needs to be accelerated. Well considered whole school initiatives in writing designed to lift achievement for boys, have resulted in very high achievement for all groups of learners.

Students’ progress and achievement is closely monitored and individual students are provided with support programmes that best suit their particular needs. The school is able to show the levels of progress and acceleration over the year for these and all students.

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.

The school has a clear focus on continuing to support and build effective teaching practice. This includes a strengthening of intentional and differentiated teaching approaches to meet the needs of all students. Achievement for all students shows an upward trajectory as a result of these combined approaches.

The learning community is characterised by respect, empathy, relational trust, cooperation and team work. School leaders are effectively building their own and collective capability within the school to improve learning outcomes for all students. The school’s strategic plan provides clear direction in key areas. Leaders and teachers with the support of the board have:

  • developed a systematic approach to support ongoing, regular monitoring, assessment and reporting of students’ progress and achievement

  • built capability by providing purposeful professional development aligned closely to school priorities and strategic plan

  • a deliberate focus on knowing the learner which is contributing to meaningful learning relationships for students.

Since the 2014 ERO review, leaders and teachers have responded well to the recommendations to improve aspects of curriculum review, develop a progressive te reo Māori programme and improve school-wide policies and procedures.

The curriculum is highly responsive. Students’ learning benefits from programmes that are innovative and responsive to their needs, interests and strengths. Well-considered implementation of play-based learning and reciprocal teaching are innovative features of the school’s curriculum. The special character of this school further enhances students’ knowledge and understanding of the community and wider world. Settled, positive and organised learning environments are provided, which are highly conducive to students’ learning. Students are provided with increased opportunities to experience and value te ao Māori.

Leaders and teachers take a systematic approach to gather, track and share learning information. Robust moderation and assessment processes and practice contribute to effective teacher judgements about students’ learning and progress. Teachers have highly effective practices to support students who need extra support with their learning. They know these students very well as individuals and learners and use a variety of well-considered strategies to lift their achievement.

The board is strongly focused on serving the community and school. Trustees receive reports about student achievement targets, practices and school programmes. They use this information well to ensure the focus remains on equity and excellence for all students.

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 sustain the 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

  • clarify current school values to better reflect valued outcomes for students, and at a later date measure and report against these.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a culture of care and collaboration among trustees, leaders, teachers, parents and whānau that maintains high expectations for teaching and learning across the school

  • a responsive curriculum that meets the strengths, needs and interests of students and supports engagement

  • achieving outcomes for students that are equitable for all groups, and show consistently very high levels of achievement

  • the strong learning partnerships with parents, local schools and the wider community.

Next steps

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

  • extending and strengthening understanding of internal evaluation in order to better evaluate what is working well and what could be improved

  • further developing and refining school values to better align to the outcomes for learners at Sacred Heart School.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 February 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary Years 1 to 6

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 58%

Girls: 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 22%

Pākahā: 64%

Pacific: 4%

Other: 10%

Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

Most recent ERO reports

October 2014

October 2011