St Patrick's College (Silverstream) - 20/05/2015

Findings

Catholic Marist values underpin all aspects of school life. Students achieve well and participate in a range of cultural, artistic, sporting and leadership activities. They benefit from positive, affirming relationships with their teachers. Student wellbeing is supported by a well considered pastoral network. Boarders enjoy high quality facilities. Consolidation of newly introduced approaches to teaching and learning and evidence-based self review should assist continuous improvement.

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 Patrick’s College Silverstream is a large Years 9 to 15 boys’ secondary school. At the time of the review the roll stood at 740, with 15% identifying as Māori and 12% as Pacific. The hostel, located centrally on the school grounds, caters for 102 students, 14% of the school roll.

The school’s vision is to be "a boys’ school of excellence", founded on Catholic and Marist values and traditions whereby students are encouraged to become compassionate, just and successful citizens.’ Values of humility, support, courage, faith and unity underpin all aspects of school life.

A new principal and senior leadership team have been appointed since the December 2011 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) results for 2014 show high levels of achievement in Levels 1 to 3. Results are comparable to schools of similar type and above that of schools nationally. While numbers at each level are small, overall Māori and Pacific students do not yet consistently achieve on a par with their peers.

Improving the proportion of merit and excellence certificate endorsements in NCEA is an ongoing focus. A strategic approach to achieving this includes:

  • setting schoolwide charter targets related to improved levels of endorsement
  • establishing a support tutor group for Māori and Pacific students
  • mentoring and regular monitoring by deans and tutor group teachers.

The weekly notes, (student engagement reports), enable clear tracking of student performance and early identification and response to emerging trends. Regular communication with families, which is integral to this system, supports a growing partnership with parents.

School leaders use a range of suitable assessment tools to establish baseline data on student entry at Year 9 and show progress through to Year 10. The information gathered is used to show schoolwide trends and patterns and identify students in need of targeted support. Years 9 and 10 charter targets aim to accelerate progress in writing for each cohort.

School leaders have identified, and ERO's findings agrees with, the need to continue to strengthen teacher capability in departmental and class-level analysis and the diagnostic use of assessment information. This should better inform planning and teaching, and assist teachers and curriculum leaders to evaluate lesson and programme effectiveness.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

Marist values underpin all aspects of school life. Students have extensive opportunities to participate and celebrate success in a range of cultural, artistic, sporting and leadership activities. They benefit from positive, affirming relationships with their teachers.

A major review of the school’s vision, values and special character has led to significant changes to pastoral care, teaching and learning. The newly introduced Year 9 hubs encourage cross-subject collaboration with common themes, authentic and relevant contexts. Computer technology is well used by teachers and students to support and expand learning. Teachers incorporate the key competencies in their planning and teaching practices. There is a strong literacy focus and an increasing emphasis on meeting the needs and aspirations of individual learners. Students are encouraged to be self managing and take more responsibility for their learning.

Teaching promotes student engagement, progress and achievement effectively. The senior leadership team and board of trustees are committed to maintaining consistently high quality teaching. There is an appropriate focus on using professional learning and development and appraisal to support ongoing improvement in teaching practice. An effective model guides teachers' inquiry into their practice. The school recognises that ongoing implementation of this model has the potential to further enhance teaching practice and student engagement and achievement.

School leaders have developed sound processes to guide curriculum review. They understand the importance of formally evaluating the impact on student outcomes of recent and ongoing significant curriculum changes and initiatives.

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

The school effectively supports Māori students to succeed as Māori. Key aspects include:

  • fostering a strong sense of belonging
  • focusing on knowing the individual and engaging closely with whānau
  • the close relationship between the school’s special character and many aspects of te ao Māori
  • effectively mentoring individual students
  • increasing integration of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori contexts within the school curriculum.

It is timely for school leaders to consider the use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to further support teacher reflection and promote culturally responsive teaching practice.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to grow its ability to sustain and improve performance.

There is a clear, shared understanding of the school’s special character, beliefs and strategic direction. There is a positive tone and learning culture throughout the school. Relationships are respectful and reciprocal. Students and staff in the hostel value the family atmosphere. Student wellbeing is supported by a carefully considered pastoral and guidance network.

Trustees provide sound governance. They are well informed, ask appropriate questions and make evidence-based resourcing decisions. Trustees work collaboratively with the board of proprietors.

Leaders are reflective. Senior leaders have specific areas of responsibility linked to improving student outcomes. They are growing leadership schoolwide and promoting staff development using a range of internal expertise and external support. Change is well managed.

School leaders and trustees have recognised the need to continue to develop, refine and embed new approaches to teaching and learning. Effective review that is data-based and uses agreed indicators of success should enable leaders to evaluate the impact of these programmes and initiatives. This should inform ongoing planning leading to continuous improvement.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Redwood House, accommodates 102 students, 14% of the school roll. It is owned by the Silverstream College Board of Proprietors. The hostel owner has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

Most of the boarders reside in the hostel from Monday to Friday. They, and their parents and whānau, receive clear, useful information about how the hostel operates and what is expected of students. Suitable, stable staffing ensures that students’ wellbeing and learning are well supported.

Boarders enjoy high quality facilities that have been extensively and appropriately refurbished. The hostel environment closely reflects the school’s special character and its emphasis on helping students to develop self-management skills. Living on the school campus contributes to boarders’ sense of belonging and seamless daily routines.

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

Catholic Marist values underpin all aspects of school life. Students achieve well and participate in a range of cultural, artistic, sporting and leadership activities. They benefit from positive, affirming relationships with their teachers. Student wellbeing is supported by a well considered pastoral network. Boarders enjoy high quality facilities. Consolidation of newly introduced approaches to teaching and learning and evidence-based self review should assist continuous improvement.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

20 May 2015

About the School

Location

Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

252

School type

Integrated Catholic Boys’ Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

740

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

66%

15%

12%

7%

Special Features

Boarding Hostel

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2011
October 2008
September 2005