St Marcellin School (Wanganui) - 29/07/2014

Findings

Teachers provide relevant learning experiences and most students are achieving well. The Catholic character is clearly evident. The school is culturally inclusive and the environment reflects the students and families. A new principal is leading developments that promote student learning and achievement. Embedding these initiatives is a next step.

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

1 Context

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

St Marcellin School is a full primary school in Whanganui. At the time of this review, 97 students attended the school and 35 are Māori. The school's Catholic character is clearly evident and the school values of courage, respect, integrity and excellence are shared and promoted.

There have been changes in leadership in the past two years. A new principal began at the school in 2013. The deputy principal was appointed at the beginning of 2014, after previously acting in the position. There has been continuity of board members and the new board chairperson is an experienced trustee.

Staff are involved in a range of professional development opportunities. In 2013, teachers worked with a Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function practitioner to focus on developing culturally-inclusive learning environments. They became involved in the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) initiative in 2013. This professional development has continued in 2014, along with additional development relating to the teaching of writing.

2 Learning

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

The school knows about the achievement and progress of individual students and this information is collated by the principal and reported to the board. The board is well informed as the principal’s reports clearly explain overall achievement levels and provide data about the progress and achievement of specific groups of students. This guides trustees’ decision-making.

The school can improve the use of student achievement information in the following ways.

Teachers should increase their use of assessment information to plan differentiated programmes for students according to their needs. Planning should include deliberate teaching strategies to accelerate the progress of underachieving students.

Although the school is beginning to develop systems for identifying and tracking the progress of students not achieving in relation to the National Standards, more work is needed. A well-considered schoolwide process should be developed for teachers and leaders to identify students’ needs, and explore and implement appropriate strategies to accelerate their progress.

The board does not receive progress reports for students with special education needs. It is timely for a review of the special education needs coordinator’s (SENCO) role. Future expectations should include a greater emphasis on working with families and an increased team approach with regular meetings to make decisions about appropriate provisions for special needs students.

End-of-year 2013 data showed most students were achieving at or above in relation to the reading and mathematics National Standards. Overall writing achievement was slightly lower and teachers are focused on developing their teaching of writing. Māori students and girls are achieving well. A group of New Zealand European boys are achieving at lower levels than their peers. The achievement of Pacific students is tracked and monitored appropriately.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well in a number of ways.

School curriculum and implementation guidelines are well documented. Curriculum design is enabling and flexible. Students take part in a wide range of real and relevant learning experiences. There are clear links between local contexts and classroom teaching.

Teacher modelling demonstrates expectations and the purpose for new learning. Students participate attentively in learning. Pacific culture is reflected in the school environment. Displayed learning prompts and relevant resources support students to be independent learners.

Student learning is celebrated in a range of ways. Through the PB4L initiative, teachers promote and recognise diligence and positive attitudes.

Teachers are incorporating new teaching strategies and initiatives learned through professional development. These have yet to be embedded in classroom practice. Ongoing evaluation of the impact of these initiatives on student engagement, learning, progress and achievement is necessary.

Teachers should continue to increase student involvement in their learning. A next step is to strengthen the process of identifying and meeting the needs of gifted and talented students in classrooms.

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

The school promotes Māori educational success effectively and these students achieve well. Interaction with whānau is a schoolwide focus and a special tukutuku panel, woven by the students, demonstrates this collaborative relationship.

All students at the school proudly participate in learning and performing kapa haka. Pōwhiri for visitors is accepted practice.

Staff are involved in ongoing learning about tikanga and te reo Māori.

While consultation takes place with whānau, the school should consider a range of ways of gathering and using whānau aspirations to further promote student success as Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The board is well organised and follows sound governance procedures. Trustees have reviewed their practices to better support school operations and the strategic direction. The school is improvement focused and the principal is leading developments that promote student learning and achievement.

A new and appropriate teacher appraisal model has been introduced in 2014. A full cycle is yet to be implemented.

Student wellbeing is strongly promoted. Students support each other and staff know the students and their families well.

Communication with families and the community has high priority. Parents receive information in a range of ways. Families support school initiatives. A next step is to involve them more in school decision-making.

While there is reflection by senior leaders and teachers, self review should be further developed. This evaluation should be evidence-based with a clear emphasis on outcomes for students.

An additional next step is to more closely align student achievement priorities with schoolwide targets and strategic direction. Supporting these processes with an increased focus on use of deliberate teaching strategies is likely to accelerate the progress of underachieving students.

To sustain and improve its performance the school should embed new initiatives and address the next steps identified in this report.

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.

Conclusion

Teachers provide relevant learning experiences and most students are achieving well. The Catholic character is clearly evident. The school is culturally inclusive and the environment reflects the students and families. A new principal is leading developments that promote student learning and achievement. Embedding these initiatives is a next step.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

29 July 2014

About the School

Location

Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number

2395

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

97

Gender composition

Female 53,

Male 44

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Chinese

Samoan

Other ethnic groups

35

40

8

6

8

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

29 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

September 2008

May 2005