St Francis Catholic School (Pt Chevalier) - 18/01/2012

1 Context

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

St Francis School is a state-integrated Catholic school situated in Point Chevalier in Auckland. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The school mission statement, 'Providing a Catholic education that develops the whole person', is clearly reflected in relationships, class programmes and community outreach. Teachers know students and their families well, and these relationships form a supportive basis for good teaching practice.

The school has a history of positive reports from the Education Review Office. These reports have noted the principal’s effective leadership, the commitment and expertise of the board, and the continued delivery of high quality teaching programmes. Since the 2008 ERO report, the principal, trustees and staff have continued to review their programmes and activities in order to provide the most positive outcomes for students. The school continues to offer students high quality learning opportunities.

Significant physical improvements are currently underway and will provide an extended administration block, new classrooms, and flexible learning areas. The new library and whānau room under construction have been designed to further enhance the partnership the school has built with its community.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

School data and classroom observations show students are purposefully engaged in learning and school activities. School leaders and teachers report that students achieve well and make good progress over time.

Classrooms are calm and settled learning environments. Student work is celebrated through attractive displays and learning prompts. Teachers plan lessons well and provide well for different ability groups of students. Teachers make the purpose of the lesson clear to students and use good questioning techniques to encourage student involvement and critical thinking.

Highly respectful l relationships are evident among students and between students and teachers. Reciprocal learning relationships are evident as older and younger students support and learn from each other. Student leadership opportunities have increased, and students are articulate and confident. They are proud of their school and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging.

The school’s achievement data indicates that most students, including Māori and Pacific students, achieve at or above National Standards for reading, writing, and mathematics. Very good processes are in place for tracking and reporting student progress and achievement to trustees, parents and students. Teachers make good use of this information to reflect on their teaching and to inform class teaching and learning programmes.

Students are kept informed about their progress and set goals for improvement with their teachers. School leaders acknowledge that the next step is to explore ways to enable students to take greater ownership of their own learning.

Initiatives are in place to support students who are not achieving well in literacy and numeracy. School leaders are considering how they can best provide more challenge for high achieving students.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning, and are achieving well. They benefit from the positive relationships that underpin the school culture and the te reo and tikanga component of the school’s religious education programmes.

The school has developed a te reo Māori curriculum, and revised teacher planning formats to include consideration of Māori cultural perspectives. Teachers are working together to build their confidence in the use of te reo Māori. They are considering ways of incorporating Māori language and cultural perspectives more widely into other learning contexts, and will benefit from the ongoing support of senior leaders. Increased learning opportunities across the curriculum that reflect Māori perspectives and the richness of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage would celebrate the bicultural backgrounds of the school’s Māori students and contribute to all students’ knowledge.

Senior leaders analyse Māori student achievement separately to monitor student progress and to report to the board.

The board carried out formal consultation with the Māori community in 2010 and outcomes of this consultation have contributed to the school’s 2011 strategic and annual plan. In 2011 the board, through the principal, is consulting informally with the school’s individual Māori families. ERO recommends that the board document the outcomes of this informal consultation and the ways in which they intend to respond to community wishes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides a range of interesting learning opportunities that engage students and support them to make good progress. It aligns well with The New Zealand Curriculum and reflects the vision and values of the special Catholic character of the school.

The school’s curriculum is strongly influenced by the ‘Building Enterprising Students’ teaching approach. This approach provides students with many innovative, creative opportunities to share with students in other year groups and to contribute to the wider school community. The flexible, broad curriculum is responsive to current events and focuses on building literacy and numeracy skills across all curriculum areas. The school could consider additional ways of including more Pacific contexts in learning programmes.

High quality teaching practices are evident across the school. School leaders and teachers are committed to the success of all students, and students respond positively to their high expectations.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

St Francis School is well placed to sustain the effective practices currently evident, and to continue to improve outcomes for students.

High quality leadership is provided by a knowledgeable, reflective board of trustees and motivated professional leaders and staff. Teachers enjoy working collegially, sharing their knowledge and expertise. Across the school, teachers are making good use of student achievement data to consider the effectiveness of their teaching practices. Some document what is working well and possibilities to further improve outcomes for students.

The principal’s leadership is very effective and she is ably supported by a cohesive management team. The school has good processes in place to promote a consistent approach to teaching and learning across the school. A well developed performance management system encourages reflection and continual teacher improvement. Good use has been made of external advice and internal expertise to build the capability of staff and to build leadership.

Knowledgeable, committed trustees work collegially with school leaders. They have built strong links with the community and a well developed home and school partnership has been established. The board has recently developed a Pacific engagement plan to strengthen its engagement with Pacific parents and the Pacific community.

Trustees are well informed about, and interested in, students’ progress and achievement. Regular surveys and informal conversations give students, staff and the community a voice in the direction of the school. A well developed strategic plan guides the school. Trustees and staff work well together to promote a culture of rigorous critical reflection and self review that is focused on promoting positive outcomes for all students.

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
  • 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.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

18 January 2012

About the School

Location

Point Chevalier, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1488

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

228

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Tongan

Samoan

Chinese

Filipino

Indian

Other Pacific

Other

61%

4%

12%

7%

2%

2%

2%

3%

7%

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

18 January 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

June 2008

March 2005

June 2001