St Mary's School (Avondale) - 09/11/2017

Summary

St Mary’s School (Avondale) is a state integrated Catholic school for students from Years 1 to 8, it provides education that integrates the Catholic faith and values.

The school has a holistic approach to learning that promotes students’ intellectual, spiritual, social and human development. School leaders have focused on improving teaching and learning and continue to develop a curriculum that engages, involves and challenges children in their learning.

The school has a diverse roll of 182 with 34 percent identifying as Samoan and 22 percent as Tongan. Several of the staff and board members have strong historical links to the St Mary’s community.

The board of trustees is representative of the community and accesses good training and support. Trustees have consulted with the school community to implement a new school charter and strategic plan.

Since ERO’s 2014 review, the senior leadership team has remained constant and a number of new teachers have been appointed. The school has added a bike track, playground and security fencing in the outdoor learning environment.

St Mary’s Preschool, the early childhood centre on site, continues to transition most of their children into St Mary’s School.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is achieving equitable outcomes for students, who engage in a curriculum that promotes creative and challenging learning. By Year 8 the majority of students, including Māori learners, achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board of trustees, principal and staff resource and help individual learners who require support to achieve success. The school has developed the capacity and capability to accelerate learning for these students.

Learners are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school has successfully addressed in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

Equity and excellence

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

The school responds effectively to Māori, Pacific and other students whose learning progress needs acceleration. Focused and meaningful professional learning for staff has supported teaching approaches that are making a significant difference for those students requiring support.

The majority of Māori students achieve at or above the Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori learners achieve well in the school’s supportive learning environment. Teachers place value on responsive and positive learning relationships to support students and their engagement with learning.

Staff are increasingly skilful in sharing and refining acceleration strategies and approaches that make a difference for individual students’ learning success. Target students and groups are identified quickly, monitored and supported both at the beginning of and throughout the year.

School leaders and teachers analyse and evaluate progress and achievement data with a focus on pockets of disparity across different Year level groups. Teachers evaluate their planning and outcomes for these priority learners through inquiry into the effectiveness of their own practices.

Assessment and moderation processes are sound. Systems have been refined frequently through good evaluation practice both at teacher level and from school leaders.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school’s processes for enabling the achievement of equity and excellence are highly effective.

The school’s special character nurtures strong values. The school promotes a positive culture for learning where students, staff and parents are valued and encouraged to be actively involved. The school vision of 'Goodness and wisdom through a Christ-centred life' is underpinned by values of respect, excellence, creativity, integrity and justice.Students, staff and parents appreciate the school’s inclusive, family atmosphere.

The school’s integrated curriculum is well aligned to its special character and to The New Zealand Curriculum. It reinforces relevant learning well by making links and connections to a range of learning areas. Students are connected to a rich curriculum that is designed to promote their active participation and contribution.

Students experience the curriculum through collaborative inquiry learning and interactive science projects. These learning experiences are inclusive, challenging and promote students’ oral language and critical thinking. The school’s responsive curriculum celebrates te ao Māori, Pacific languages and culture, and popular culture. Students have good opportunities to express themselves creatively through drama and music. The digital environment is used discerningly with a focus on collaboration and research. Opportunities for Education outside the Classroom (EOTC) enhance learning and are valued.

School leaders have a considered approach to school improvement and have wisely targeted key teaching strategies that improve students’ active participation and leadership in their learning.

Leadership is distributed across the school where all teachers are viewed as leaders. This approach is promoting the continuing development of a collaborative teaching culture that is future-focused and student focussed.

Parents have many opportunities to engage in school activities and are encouraged to take an active role in supporting their children’s learning.

The board of trustees is deeply committed to students’ success. They are continuing to develop rigorous evaluation of their stewardship processes and strengthening school systems to promote an effective learning environment. To improve current practices, trustees should review and rationalise the school’s comprehensive policy framework and ensure the reports it receives are succinct and evaluative.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

To build on current highly effective practices, the board and school leaders have identified appropriate areas for further development, including:

  • embedding the school’s engaging and challenging teaching strategies and curriculum
  • ensuring that school practices consistently align with and reflect the enactment of the vision and values
  • continuing to enhance internal evaluation processes, particularly in reporting and governance.

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

  • 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.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school has successfully addressed in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

Agreed next step is to continue to embed effective teaching strategies and internal evaluation processes.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

9 November 2017

About the school

Location

(Avondale)

Ministry of Education profile number

1272

School type

Full Primary

School roll

605

Gender composition

Boys 58% Girls 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Tongan

Indian

other

8%

34%

22%

8%

28%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

9 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2014

November 2011

August 2008