St Patrick's School (Invercargill) - 28/10/2014

Findings

St Patrick’s School (Invercargill) continues to be high performing. Students make good progress in their learning at school. All students are provided with rich topics and contexts for learning in all areas. The strong culture of cooperation, innovation and effective teaching supports the school’s Christian Catholic values and mission.

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 School (Invercargill) continues to be a high performing school. The school’s purpose is to create confident, capable and compassionate students with a passion for learning. The strong alignment between strategic planning, the innovative curriculum, effective teaching practices and the Christian Catholic values support the school’s mission.

Students make good progress in their achievement during their time at school. By the time they leave at Year 6, most students are achieving at or above in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to National Standards.

St Patrick’s School (Invercargill) is a state-integrated school. Over the last five years the roll has increased. This roll growth includes higher numbers of Māori and Pacific students, and students who are English language learners.

The school’s values are strongly evident throughout the school. This is seen in the:

  • positive and caring relationships students have with each other and with adults at the school
  • productive partnerships teachers and school leaders have with students’ parents and whānau
  • constructive culture of teachers sharing responsibility for students’ learning
  • supportive relationships the school has with its parish, particularly with the parish priest
  • inclusive way all students and their cultures are valued and celebrated within the life of the school.

The board of trustees has managed change in the school well, particularly changes in leadership and new staff to the school. Trustees, along with teachers and leaders, have maintained a culture of ongoing improvements to student learning.

Since the 2009 ERO review:

  • the school has maintained a strong focus on students achieving well in literacy and mathematics
  • much of students’ learning continues to be through an engaging inquiry approach
  • leaders and teachers have strengthened students’ involvement in the learning process
  • te ao Māori has a greater prominence in students’ learning and school operations.

2 Learning

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

Learning information is used very well to identify, support and progress students’ learning. A significant feature is that leaders and teachers value each student and his or her individual progress and achievement.

Students are able to talk about how well they are achieving, especially those at senior year levels. This awareness is gained from teachers’ conversations with students, their school reports and students assessing their work against preset objectives.

Teachers make skilful use of achievement information. This use is primarily to:

  • find out about the learners’ needs, abilities and next learning steps
  • inform their teaching approaches to best support students’ learning
  • evaluate the difference their teaching is making to students’ learning.

Senior leaders effectively use learning information to:

  • set appropriate charter targets and goals that are based on identified areas of need across the school and within groups of students
  • lead discussions at syndicate meetings about students needing extra support to make the required progress
  • identify practices and programmes that require improvement.

The board receives regular reports on student achievement for all learning areas. Trustees effectively use this information to make decisions about learning support, class sizes, required equipment and relevant professional learning and development (PLD). A useful next step would be for the board to receive specific interim reports on the progress made towards achieving annual charter targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students’ learning. The strengths, interests and needs of the students provide the basis for teachers’ planning. As a result, the learning for students is meaningful and in keeping with the school’s special character and values, particularly the value of service beyond the school.

There is a strong focus on numeracy and literacy learning for students. Students are provided with rich contexts for learning. Teachers have high expectations for student learning and behaviour.

Students benefit from skilful and consistent teaching throughout the school. School-wide guidelines and curriculum leader support provide coherence and ensure sustainability for teaching and learning. A significant strength is teachers' reflecting on and sharing good practices.

There is significant and focused support for students with learning needs. The needs of each student are identified early and specific support put in place to help the student make increased progress in his/her learning. Support includes individual plans for students, teachers working with parents to support the student’s learning, and targeted support from specialist teachers and teacher aides. The progress these students make in their achievement is closely monitored by class teachers and school leaders. Students whose first language is not English are very well supported by trained teacher aides. Records show that these students make very good progress in all areas of their learning.

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

Māori students achieve and progress well over their time at school. The many opportunities for Māori students to grow and show their cultural abilities are continuing to be further strengthened.

Māori language and culture is valued and visible in the life of the school. Students have many opportunities to develop an understanding of core cultural values and concepts, such as manaaki, whānau and wairua. The Māori and Pacific kapa haka groups are held in high regard by students and the wider community.

Trustees, leaders and teachers proactively seek the involvement and opinion of Māori and Pacific parents and whānau. This helps inform the school’s planning for the educational success of all students. A next step is to more clearly define success as Māori and as Pasifika, as part of the school’s mission and vision.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

A strong quest for improvement is evident across the school. This is a significant feature of the culture of the school and contributes to the ongoing high levels of school performance and development.

The board is very knowledgeable and well informed. Trustees are clear about the school vision and their governance roles and responsibilities. They receive well-analysed information about student success, and the progress the school is making towards achieving its key goals and priorities. The school’s processes for self review are well aligned to its planning and intended practices. As a result, planning and decision making within the school is informed by timely and useful information.

There is a shared understanding of the purpose for school development and how it will be achieved. The principal and leaders have created a professional learning environment in which teachers have opportunities to build and develop their own strengths and leadership. The collaborative working relationships between staff and school leaders help to maintain and further develop current best practices in teaching.

The school actively seeks to engage with parents and whānau to help ensure all members of its community are heard and valued. School leaders have established some useful collaboration with other schools and community groups. This is an area that the school is continuing to develop.

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

St Patrick’s School (Invercargill) continues to be high performing. Students make good progress in their learning at school. All students are provided with rich topics and contexts for learning in all areas. The strong culture of cooperation, innovation and effective teaching supports the school’s Christian Catholic values and mission.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

28 October 2014

About the School

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4020

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

270

Gender composition

Boys: 55%

Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pasifika

Other ethnicities

57%

28%

12%

3%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

28 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

June 2006

November 2002