St Patrick's College (Kilbirnie) - 30/10/2014


The college has a strong focus on students' holistic development through academic, sporting, cultural, creative and spiritual activities. The curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Most senior students achieve well in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement. The college is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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 Patrick’s College (Kilbirnie) is a state integrated Catholic secondary school for boys. It has students from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, takes pride in and celebrates its multi-cultural community. The college has strong links to the church and the wider community.

The St Patrick’s College Board of Proprietors oversees the college's special character. The Marist charism is evident in values and practices, and permeates college life. There is a strong focus on the holistic development of students through academic, sporting, cultural, creative and spiritual activities. The senior curriculum includes class sharing with nearby St Catherine’s College.

The values of pride, respect, caring and being a ‘good man’ are promoted, and students develop a sense of brotherhood and belonging. They have a diverse range of leadership opportunities. Students’ wellbeing is supported through extensive pastoral care and mentoring.

Parents and whānau are highly involved in school activities and partnerships to support learning. Many families and teachers have a long association with the college, contributing to the continuity of its traditions. Former students play a part in role modelling and mentoring.

A new rector commenced at the college in January 2014. The college has successfully managed the challenge of significant earthquake strengthening and building disruptions and effectively maintaining student learning and achievement. The infrastructure for information and communication technologies has been upgraded.

2 Learning

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

A significant focus on improving teachers’ analysis and use of achievement data has occurred since the October 2011 ERO report. Effective use of reliable assessment tools allows good tracking and monitoring of student achievement and progress over time.

Leaders and teachers are using data more rigorously to make positive changes to learners' engagement progress and achievement. There is greater accountability and increased sharing of good practice within and between curriculum areas.

Departments and teachers are using data more effectively to reflect on their teaching to:

  • identify students who need additional support or are at risk of underachievement
  • review and make changes to programmes
  • group students and respond to individual needs
  • develop appropriate curriculum pathways.

Student voice is making a useful contribution to teachers’ review, and informs their decisions about teaching content and approach.

An emphasis on teachers supporting improvement in students' literacy skills is evident in all learning areas. There is an appropriate focus on improving literacy and numeracy achievement in Years 9 and 10. Many students make good progress and most targeted students make accelerated progress.

Most senior students achieve well in the National Certificates of Education Achievement (NCEAs). As school leavers, they gain the qualifications at levels significantly higher than students overall nationally and in similar schools. Nearly all Māori and Pacific students have gained NCEA Level 2 by the time they leave the college.

Māori students’ achievement has improved since the previous ERO report and is now similar to or better than that of their peers within the college. Pacific students' achievement of NCEAs Levels 1 and 2 is similarly high. Senior leaders have given priority to raising Pacific student achievement of NCEA Level 3 and University Entrance.

More able students are provided for effectively through extension programmes. Many of these students undertake NCEA courses early and there has been an increase in the number of students successfully achieving New Zealand Scholarships.

The college caters well for students with special needs. They are provided with suitable programmes and support that responds to their needs. The college involves external agencies where appropriate.

Parents receive useful and detailed reports twice a year about their sons' progress and achievement. These include information about key competencies and suggest next steps for improvement. Families are well informed and receive useful weekly emails about their sons' levels of engagement in learning.

The board of trustees receives useful and regular reports about student progress and achievement, for both Year 9 and 10 in literacy and mathematics, and for the senior school qualifications. College leaders are using data to inform decisions that set the strategic direction and establish priorities for improvement. As part of this, consideration should be given to establishing school-wide targets for junior students' achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The college's curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Senior leaders and teachers clearly articulate high expectations for students as successful learners and achievers.

Schoolwide curriculum management documents provide clear direction and guidelines for department practices, about teaching, learning, use of student assessment data and review. Clear expectations promote differentiated teaching and responsiveness to individual student needs.

Curriculum pathways have been developed to enhance student engagement and achievement, and respond to a wide range of student needs. Additional NCEA courses have been created in some learning areas to extend students' opportunities for success. Pathways leading to further learning and vocational courses are well established. Students are provided with comprehensive support and guidance about subject options and career choices.

Students are well supported to set goals for learning through partnerships with parents and teachers. Their goals are regularly monitored and revisited each term. This promotes understanding of students’ progress by parents.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to engage students in a positive, constructive learning environment. They include:

  • high expectations for learning
  • developing respectful and supportive relationships
  • lesson content that is relevant and interesting
  • lessons that link to prior and future learning
  • well-paced teaching, that maximises use of learning time
  • students leading their learning and providing each other with peer support
  • teaching that is targeted to student needs
  • relevant use of digital technology to enhance learning.

These strategies result in a positive classroom tone with high levels of student participation in learning.

The college has a well-planned and considered approach to the ongoing development of integrated e-learning across the school. This strategy should enable teachers and learners to benefit from the introduction of new digital technologies and improve outcomes for all students.

Teachers' professional learning and development is suitably focused on improving student learning, achievement and engagement. It is responsive to individual teachers' requirements and supports the college’s strategic priorities.

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

The college promotes educational success for Māori students as Māori. Students’ language, culture and identity are acknowledged, valued and celebrated. The college demonstrates a strong commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

Te reo Māori learning is available for all students across all levels. Māori students are provided with opportunities for cultural leadership.

Teachers and leaders use achievement data effectively to improve achievement for Māori learners. Trustees are well informed about the progress of Māori students.

The long-established whānau group meets regularly. Group members are committed to supporting success for Māori students as Māori, and to strengthening links with local iwi. They have identified that their next step is to be formally involved in developing the college’s charter and in setting the strategic direction.

Teachers are using more Māori contexts into their teaching. It is timely to strengthen the extent to which the culture, language and identity of students are included in the school’s curriculum expectations.

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

The college actively promotes success for Pacific students, as Pacific. Students’ language, culture and identity are acknowledged, valued and celebrated.

Pacific parents' high levels of involvement in college life are valued by teachers and leaders. Engagement through a Polynesian Parents' Association and the strong Home School Partnership group effectively supports students' learning.

Samoan language programmes and English as a second language support are available for all students. Strong links to local universities and support from Ministry of Education initiatives enhance the curriculum through increased opportunities for students.

Ongoing professional development for teachers and the college's Pacific education plan focuses on further improving student achievement through strengthening the engagement of families and more culturally responsive teaching. ERO affirms these as appropriate next steps.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The college is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Useful self-review processes contribute to improvement. A good framework for departmental annual review and reporting is being used effectively to monitor and track students' progress towards targets and goals. Teachers are reflective and are increasingly examining the impact of their teaching on learning.

Strengthening teaching as inquiry and the evaluative component of whole-school and board-level self review should provide a clearer direction for further, ongoing improvement.

An experienced board of trustees makes appropriate decisions to allocate resources based on assessment and other data to meet identified needs and priorities. Trustees are reflective and are focused on improving outcomes for students.

The new rector has a considered and thoughtful approach to managing change. There is a focus on developing leadership capability across the school. A culture of collaboration is strengthening across the school and is focused on improving outcomes for students.

The appraisal process is improvement focused and is aligned to the Registered Teacher Criteria. Teachers set individual goals linked to school priorities. It monitors teachers' progress and development. Ongoing review and development of appraisal should further strengthen and streamline the process to better support teachers’ professional growth.

Strong partnerships with parents and families are evident. They effectively support and enhance students’ wellbeing and success. Reciprocal and open communication is a feature. Families and whānau have a range of opportunities to engage with and contribute to the life of the college.

Provision for international students

The college 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 college has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there were 11 international students attending the college.

Students are provided with English as a second language learning which is tailored to their individual learning needs based on assessment data. Comprehensive induction information supports students' transition into the college and settling with their host families. Parents received regular reports about boys’ achievement and wellbeing.

College leaders appropriately use self review to make ongoing improvements and change. Student views are used to inform these reviews. Integration into all aspects of college life is promoted and well supported.

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.


The college has a strong focus on students' holistic development through academic, sporting, cultural, creative and spiritual activities. The curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. Most senior students achieve well in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement. The college is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

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

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifJoyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

30 October 2014

About the School


Kilbirnie, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Integrated Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups






Special features

Catholic special character

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

30 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

September 2008

May 2005