St Patrick's College (Silverstream) - 24/12/2018

School Context

St Patrick's College (Silverstream), is a state integrated school in Upper Hutt that provides education for boys in Years 9 to 13. At the time of the review there were 709 students on the roll, with 18% identifying as Māori and 15% of Pacific heritage.

The college’s vision and priorities are closely aligned to the Marist traditions that inform its core values of faith, unity, support, courage and humility.

Current goals and targets for improvement and learner success are increased rates of achievement for Māori and Pacific students and raising literacy achievement for students in Years 9 and 10.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in New Zealand education qualifications
  • end of year achievement in all learning areas.

In the past 18 months, significant changes have taken place in school leadership roles. A new experienced rector took up the position at the beginning of 2018. Several appointments have also been made to senior and middle management roles during this time. These include new deputy and assistant rectors, a plant manager, director of boarding and several new heads of departments and classroom teachers. Proprietor-appointed and parent-elected trustees govern the school.

In 2018, school priorities for teachers’ professional learning and development (PLD) have been in appraisal processes, teacher inquiry, culturally responsive practices, effective teaching and learning, sexuality education and digital citizenship. Some of these initiatives relate to areas identified for improvement in the May 2015 ERO report.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Since the previous ERO review in 2015, rates of achievement overall have been improving with some recent variability at senior levels. School data for 2017, showed most students gained National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEAs) at Levels 1 and 2 and achieved above schools of similar type. The majority gained Level 3 and University Entrance, but achieved below schools of similar type.

Māori students’ achievement has fluctuated over recent years, sometimes reaching similar levels to their peers. In 2016, nearly all Māori who left the school gained at least NCEA Level 2. Māori leavers with Level 3 achieved similar levels to their peers. The majority of Pacific leavers achieve NCEA Level 2, but these rates have declined over recent years and are below their peers at all levels.

Recent student achievement data at Years 9 and 10 shows Māori achieving at similar rates to their peers. High rates of retention of students at school until 17 years support learners’ success.

Rates of certificates endorsements for NCEA, at all levels, have steadily improved since 2015 but remain below rates in schools of similar type.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school agrees it does not yet have a shared understanding of how well it accelerates the learning of those Māori and others who need it, particularly in Years 9 and 10.

School data indicates most students make expected progress in mathematics, science and literacy in Years 9 and 10 and as they move through to gain qualifications at senior levels. Leaders acknowledge that they need to better identify those not making accelerated progress and what is needed to address this.

At senior levels, those at risk of not achieving are well supported so that most gain success in NCEA qualifications.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The system for closer tracking and monitoring students at senior levels has been strengthened. This provides a useful process for:

  • regular sharing of information by staff about students’ learning, engagement and wellbeing
  • reviewing the learning progress of students against expectations or goals
  • helping teachers to be responsive to students whose learning needs acceleration.

The school provides a wide range of curriculum choices and opportunities for senior students with different interests and aspirations to succeed within The New Zealand Curriculum. Diverse and responsive programmes are in place that support boys in academic pathways to further learning. Students’ learning is enhanced through a range of training and enrichment opportunities and vocational experiences beyond the school. Students are encouraged and supported to develop their leadership, sporting and service skills as they progress through the school.

Leadership at board and management levels has effectively strengthened review, consultation and knowledge building that is conducive to improving the school’s performance. Trustees are well informed about school operation and student outcomes through regular reporting. Strategic planning is well considered in relation to the school vision, values and priorities. Widespread consultation and meetings with parents, focused data gathering and use of student voice inform priorities and strategies.

Effective change management is responsive to challenges and identified areas needing improvement. Leaders and staff actively reinforce school values to promote positive relationships and an orderly environment for learning. A well aligned range of PLD and teacher inquiries throughout the year support the implementation of review findings, strategic priorities and goals.

The school has increased its emphasis on developing reciprocal, learning-centred relationships with Māori and Pacific parents and the community. Whānau hui provide opportunities for communication and contributions from parents. Pacific parents participate in a number of targeted support groups to address their needs, interests and aspirations for their boys’ success. These systems and structures extend opportunities to improve partnerships between school and home and improve valued outcomes for Māori and Pacific learners.

Strengthened pastoral care systems and improved processes for communicating with parents assist students to be connected, supported and successful in their learning. Guidance and mentoring through the tutor teacher role, with a focus on knowing learners well, is valued by students and is a school priority for ongoing development.

Students with additional learning needs are identified and supported with programmes that respond to their needs to make progress. Individual education plans are developed for high needs students in consultation with parents and external agencies.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Learning progress, as students move from entry at Year 9 through to the end of Year 10 is considered in science, literacy and mathematics. The school is exploring ways of strengthening tools and processes for collecting and using learning and progress information at Years 9 and 10. This should assist the school to make greater use of data to measure the achievement of students below expectations, and how effectively the junior curriculum and interventions are accelerating the progress of these students.

Leaders and teachers have identified a need to review and develop the junior curriculum to strengthen teaching practices, learning programmes and curriculum pathways. This should include:

  • extending the school’s response to the language, culture and identity of students
  • fully implementing the teaching and learning framework expectations, particularly in relation to improving the acceleration of learning of those students who need this
  • further developing the use of digital technology to enhance teaching and learning.

The school is improving its use of review and data gathering to inform improvement at a time of change. To strengthen these processes, trustees and leaders should ensure there is shared understanding of internal evaluation processes, to better measure the effectiveness of programmes and strategies to improve valued outcomes for learners.

In 2018, a revised, coherent and strengthened appraisal process is in place. It has the potential to fully meet requirements and contribute positively to teacher improvement and therefore improved student outcomes. To further develop the appraisal process leaders should:

  • continue to build the quality and consistency of the elements of the appraisal process. This includes more explicit evidence of meeting the Standards and next steps for improvement, linking measurable student outcomes to goal setting; and an increased focus on cultural responsiveness
  • include a more systematic appraisal of curriculum leaders that explicitly links to expectations of their roles within the college.

3 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
  • finance
  • 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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

Leaders and trustees have responded appropriately to update the cycle and process of policy review and some procedures to promote and improve student and staff wellbeing and safety.

To improve current practice the board of trustees should:

  • ensure all staff, students and community are aware of how to access school policies and procedures and the process for policy review
  • develop a process for recording complaints in keeping with school policy and keep good records of the board and leaders’ responses to any complaints
  • continue to refine tools and procedures for the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of strategies, programmes and processes to promote and sustain safety and wellbeing across the school.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The hostel is an integral part of the school and currently accommodates 92 students. They make up 13% of the school roll, with most drawn from the wider Wellington region. It is owned by the Silverstream Board of Proprietors, who have attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The rector and the director of boarding are responsible for the day-to-day operation. The hostel reflects the special character of the school and upholds its traditions and values. Systems and processes within and between the hostel and the school, promote a secure environment that supports students' learning and wellbeing. Good provision is made for boys to study individually and in supervised settings, with an appropriate focus on academic progress and achievement. Hostel practices effectively complement and support pastoral care and learning within the school.

Routines and expectations are well understood. Students have opportunities to participate in a range of school-based activities and sports. Meaningful opportunities are provided for boys to assume leadership roles and take responsibility. Feedback from boarders is sought and responded to.

Strengthening strategic planning and evaluation for improvement, with increased involvement of students in the process, are next steps for development.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a wide range of senior learning programmes and pathways that provide opportunities for diverse learners’ success

  • effective processes for regular support and monitoring of the progress of senior students to be successful

  • reciprocal relationships and communications with parent groups and the community

  • systems and processes for consultation, review and strategic planning that improve responsiveness and decision making.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • improving the use of achievement data, teaching strategies and programmes to accelerate achievement of those that need it, especially at Years 9 and 10
  • fully implementing the appraisal process to better support strategies for improving teaching practice and outcomes for learners
  • developing shared understanding of robust internal evaluation processes and practices so they better inform planning and resourcing priorities for improvement.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Southern Region

24 December 2018

About the school

St Patrick’s College (Silverstream)

Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

252

School type

Integrated Catholic Boys’ Secondary (Years 9 to 15)

School roll

709

Gender composition

Male 100%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%
Pākehā 57%
Pacific 15%
Asian 8%
Other ethnic groups 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

24 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015

Education Review December 2011

Education Review October 2008