St Mark's School (Pakuranga) - 27/06/2014

Findings

How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

The school has an inclusive and supportive culture. It has made very good progress in developing curriculum practices that promote students’ learning. The school is very well supported by its board and community and is well placed to sustain high quality teaching practices and continued strategic 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?

St Mark’s School (Pakuranga) is a Catholic, state integrated, suburban school in Pakuranga. It continues to provide education for students from Years 1 to 6 in an attractive and well-resourced learning environment. The school has a stable roll with a wide range of ethnicities. A distinctive feature of the school is the high number of Filipino students who represent thirty percent of the roll.

Students benefit from a positive school culture that demonstrates the school motto ‘Seek and you shall find’ which encourages students to strive to do their very best. The school promotes the charism of the Mission Sisters, while also promoting the school charter values, through its curriculum. Learning, teamwork, key competencies and leadership are interwoven through the curriculum.

The school has a settled tone, with students focused on their learning. Students are confident, articulate and physically active. They have pride in their school. They mix well between year levels and have a strong sense of belonging at St Mark’s School. Students are responding well to high expectations for learning.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the long serving principal has continued to provide committed and strategic leadership and has promoted leadership opportunities for students and staff. Teachers support students’ wellbeing and nurture positive relationships for learning.

St Mark’s School has developed good links with the local community. Whānau/parents are increasingly involved in supporting their children’s learning. The board of trustees has members from five different nationalities and is very focused on school improvement.

ERO’s 2011 report noted that teaching and learning was an area of strength throughout the school. Leaders and teachers have made significant progress addressing areas for development identified in that report. The school has implemented professional learning communities to continue to strengthen effective teaching in literacy and student engagement in their learning.

2. Learning

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

St Mark’s School is using achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Teachers and leaders use data to plan learning programmes that support and challenge identified groups of students.

Teachers appreciate students’ strengths, interests and abilities and are increasingly using these aspects to plan classroom programmes. There is good support for student learning and wellbeing. Students are confident and articulate learners and increasingly appreciate the joy of learning.

School data shows that most students, including Māori and Pacific students, are achieving at and above the National Standards in reading, writing, and mathematics. Teachers have developed good moderation processes to ensure the reliability of National Standards data. The board and parents receive good information about student achievement.

The school provides very well for students requiring additional support in literacy and mathematics. A recently introduced literacy programme is effectively helping students to improve their confidence and accelerate their learning.

School leaders and teachers are continuing to strengthening teaching practices that engage and challenge all students. Students understand their own learning, and setting and evaluating their own learning goals. Senior leaders are developing plans to continue to improve student achievement in writing.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports students’ learning very effectively. Teachers continually review and design the curriculum so that it is increasingly meaningful and engages students in learning. Students are very well supported as they transition into, through and out of the school.

The curriculum caters well for all aspects of student learning and wellbeing. Students have good opportunities to participate in programmes that promote and celebrate the performing arts and sport. There are good opportunities for students to be successful, be involved in leadership and have learning experiences outside the classroom.

The school’s values are integrated throughout the curriculum. Students use information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance their learning. They have opportunities to express their ideas and opinions through writing and have choices about their learning.

School leaders are focused on continuing to review and develop the school curriculum so that it is increasingly responsive to students’ interests and capabilities and promotes engagement and challenge for students. This focus provides growing opportunities to further develop student centred learning. It could also support the development of science programmes that emphasise critical thinking and problem solving as features of the curriculum.

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

The school is providing increasing opportunities for students to experience and have pride in their language, culture and identity. Māori students are well represented as student leaders and as high achievers throughout the school. The inclusive kapa haka has an important place in the school and provides good opportunities for leadership.

Teachers are developing a culturally responsive curriculum through strengthening their inclusion of te reo me ona tikanga Māori. Teachers are continuing to implement a sequential te reo programme using the Ministry of Education’s document, Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo Māori - Kura Auraki, Te reo Māori in English medium schools.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

St Mark’s School is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The principal provides considered and strategic leadership and has developed an evaluative culture of self review. Senior leaders support the principal and staff and have high expectations for students’ learning and teachers’ performance.

Trustees have a strong commitment to the school and have long standing links with the local community. Their professional backgrounds enable them to lead the school’s strategic planning processes effectively. Trustees receive good information from the principal about school operations and student achievement. Their strategic decision making is underpinned by effective self review. Trustees are aiming to promote Māori and Pacific representation on the board.

The principal has planned strategically to provide teachers with appropriate high quality professional learning opportunities. Teachers share and implement new teaching practices across the school.

Teachers make good use of self review to continually improve their teaching. An area for further consideration is to review the school’s curriculum against the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

The school is responsive to and works with its community to nurture inclusion and well-being. Parents and whānau are involved in the school’s Pastoral Care Team which has established effective links with the wider community.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school. The student’s progress and achievement in learning is monitored well and reported to the board of trustees. The student is involved and integrated well into the school community. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self review process for international students is thorough.

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

The school has an inclusive and supportive culture. It has made very good progress in developing curriculum practices that promote students’ learning. The school is very well supported by its board and community and is well placed to sustain high quality teaching practices and continued strategic improvement.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

27 June 2014

About the School

Location

Pakuranga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1501

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

237

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

Maori

NZ European/Pākehā

Filipino

Samoan

Chinese

Other Pacific

Other

8%

23%

30%

8%

8%

4%

19%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

March 2008

March 2005