St Patrick's School (Kaiapoi) - 06/06/2014

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

St Patrick’s School is a coeducational Catholic school for Years 1 to 8 students. The school’s well-established history and longstanding traditions related to the Mission Sisters founding order continue to provide an important foundation for education at the school. Christian values are actively shared and promoted across the school and community.

Strong support from the local parish and PTA contributes significantly to the school’s positive culture and improved resources and facilities. They also provide a wide range of pastoral care and support for families.

As a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, the school has experienced some roll decline since the February 2010 ERO review. During that time there have also been some changes in staff.

The school has made very good progress addressing the recommendations in the 2010 ERO report in regard to appraisal, programme evaluations and the teaching of reading.

The school’s active involvement in building stronger links and a greater sense of partnership with local schools and early childhood centres in Kaiapoi is benefiting children, staff and leaders.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. This is particularly evident in the ways:

  • leaders and teachers share literacy and numeracy information with the board and set annual targets for improving student progress and achievement
  • teachers modify programmes and adjust groupings in response to students’ emerging learning strengths and needs
  • teachers evaluate the effectiveness of learning programmes.

The school carefully monitors and provides an appropriate variety of additional support for students with the greatest learning needs. Students with particular strengths and abilities also benefit from a good range of activities, including high quality broadcasting and creative writing programmes, that extend their talents and provide stimulating challenges.

The varied range of strategies teachers use for reporting to parents is helping to build positive learning partnerships and keep parents well informed about their children’s progress.

School achievement information against the National Standards in 2013 reflects ongoing and positive trends in improvement across the school over the last three years. Achievement is highest in reading where most students are achieving above the National Standards. Progress over time is most evident in written language.

Next steps

Extending the analysis and reporting about overall student achievement should further improve practices in this area. This should include:

  • providing more information about the progress groups of students make over their time at the school
  • reporting to the board beyond literacy, numeracy and special character.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum successfully promotes and supports student learning.

The school’s collaboratively-designed and updated curriculum provides students with a well-balanced range of learning opportunities. It is strongly linked to the school’s special character and effectively integrates the values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. Curriculum guidelines give suitable emphasis to clarifying expectations in regard to teaching and learning.

In classrooms, students clearly benefit from:

  • well-planned programmes, focused teaching and reflective teaching practices
  • the support they receive to take increasing responsibility for their learning and their understanding of themselves as learners
  • the integrated use of information and communication technologies to motivate students and enhance their learning.

Senior students benefit from more opportunities to develop their leadership skills, especially in regard to supporting younger students.

Teachers provide positive, attractive and supportive learning environments for students. Relationships between teachers and students, and among students, strongly reflect the school’s values of caring, co-operation and support for others. Student’s wellbeing is actively promoted and supported across the school, community and parish.

Areas for review and development

Leaders and teachers should:

  • continue to extend the use of teaching strategies that build self management, independence and confidence in students
  • consider further ways of reflecting the school’s unique characteristics of their students and community in the school’s curriculum.

Leaders and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the e-learning strategic plan needs further development and that it is now time for a review of the school’s use of inquiry teaching and learning practices.

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

The school is making good progress in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Kapa haka is enthusiastically supported by students and has an increasingly higher profile. Overall, Māori students achieve well. The school’s religious education programme is used effectively to integrate biculturalism into the curriculum.

Area for review and development

Leaders and teachers have identified that their next step is to further integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in classroom programmes and practices.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The board uses a collaborative process for establishing clear strategic priorities that help the school community to work together towards common goals. The principal provides useful information to inform board decision making, target setting and resourcing.

The principal and other leaders model and provide improvement-focused leadership. This includes:

  • accessing well-targeted professional development that has led to improvements in teaching and learning, particularly in literacy
  • introducing a more rigorous appraisal system for both themselves and teachers to help further raise the quality of leadership and teaching
  • fostering a positive school culture that promotes collaboration and collegial support, including good guidance and support for beginning teachers.

Areas for review and development

The board and school leaders should now ensure that their planned developments result in further improvements to board and curriculum self review. This should include:

  • the board reviewing its own effectiveness
  • further refinement of self review processes
  • more targeted use of students’ views and opinions.

There is also scope to rationalise some elements of planning and evaluation at the school by making clearer links between various documents and practices.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

6 June 2014

About the School


Kaiapoi, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other Ethnicities




Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

6 June 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

December 2006

April 2004