St Patrick's School (Kilbirnie) - 16/04/2018

School Context

St Patrick’s School, in Kilbirnie, Wellington, is a Catholic special character school catering for children in Years 1 to 8. Many of the children on the growing roll of 120 are from backgrounds where English is a second language. 

The shared vision is to “prepare children for the future by continually challenging them to achieve personal excellence guided by Catholic principles and values” and “together in faith and learning”. The curriculum has a clear focus on integrating the school values of Love - Aroha;
Respect - Te Tapu o Te Tangata; Unity - Whanaungatanga; Social Justice - Tika; and
Resilience - Manawaroa.

The school’s annual plan indicates it is seeking to raise levels achievement levels in writing for all and improve outcomes for Pacific children.

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

  • progress and achievement against school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in oral language competencies.

The student group reflects the cultural diversity in the community.

At the time of this ERO review an acting principal was fulfilling the role.

The school has been involved in the Ministry of Education (MoE) funded programmes, Accelerated Learning in Literacy (ALL) and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L). It is part of the Wellington Catholic Kāhui Ako. 

Evaluation Findings

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?

In 2017, most students achieved at and above nationally recognised benchmarks in reading and a large majority in mathematics. Achievement levels in these areas are similar to those reported in the January 2015 ERO report. In writing, a small majority of students met expectations, however levels of achievement were lower in 2017 when compared to 2016.

School reported data shows that achievement levels in reading, writing and mathematics increase as students move through the school.

Māori students achieve at levels similar to their peers within the school. Pacific students as a group achieve less well in reading, writing and mathematics when compared to other groups.  Indian and Asian students, the largest group, are achieving well.

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

The school is effective in accelerating learning and achievement for some of those students whose progress needs it. Many of those students whose learning has been identified make good progress towards meeting expectations in literacy and mathematics.

Many students who enter the school with high second language learning needs make accelerated progress in oral language and literacy learning over their first few years of schooling.

Students with complex and additional needs are well supported and make good progress, and some experience increased rates of progress.

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?

School leaders have successfully established positive conditions for learning and teaching. Teachers are collaborative and collegial, sharing a collective approach to improving outcomes for students.

The school has given priority to, and successfully developed, positive relationships with parents and whānau. Well considered and respectful partnerships that benefit children’s learning are encouraged and fostered. Māori whānau and Pacific parents have opportunities to meet as groups and provide input into curriculum developments.

The school provides a caring and inclusive community of learning for children. Diversity is valued and celebrated. Positive, respectful and productive relationships are fostered throughout the school. Learning spaces are calm, purposeful and student centred. A sense of belonging is promoted and strong connections with the school are evident. Teachers include students in decisions about their learning. Older children are supported to lead and mentor their younger peers. 

The school’s curriculum is responsive to students’ culture and identity. It provides a good foundation for them to learn and achieve within the breadth and depth of The New Zealand Curriculum. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are part of classroom programmes and linked to authentic contexts for learning. Well-considered and suitable assessment tools are used to identify those at risk of not achieving and to measure students’ level of achievement and progress in literacy and mathematics. Review of curriculum provision for older students has led to a stronger focus on inquiry learning and children taking more ownership of their learning.

The school is strongly focused on developing oral language in the early school years, in response to the diverse language needs of many students. Trustees regularly receive good information about children’s achievement and progress. Well considered interventions and appropriate use of external agencies, if required, support children’s learning and wellbeing. During the period of involvement in externally funded and facilitated professional development programmes, school data shows levels of achievement improved for many students involved.

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

Annual goals clearly identify groups of students whose learning require improvement. To improve practice, target setting needs to focus more closely on accelerating the progress for all identified students towards specific expectations. This should further assist the school in evaluating its success and progress towards achieving it priorities.

A play-based approach to learning for younger children is being considered as a way to further promote oral language development. Leaders recognise the need to strengthen the assessment of oral language learning in order to measure the impact and value of this new initiative on improving outcomes for second language learners.

Leaders should further strengthen and fully implement the recently introduced appraisal framework to support all teachers to build their practice. Aligning the process to whole school priorities and ensuring next steps for development are established, should assist teachers to continue to improve.

Teachers are encouraged to reflect on their effectiveness. Sharpening the inquiry focus should assist teachers to determine decisions about next steps for their development. Leaders recognise some areas of achievement have not been sustained and integrating new learning into teaching practices for all children requires improvement. 

Internal evaluation requires strengthening to better determine the effectiveness of learning practices and school operation on improving outcomes. This should better inform teachers’ and leaders’ knowledge of what has the biggest impact on raising achievement and support next steps for continued development.

Changes in personnel on the board have occurred and succession planning is in place. Trustees should continue to develop their capacity and effectiveness. 

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.

Provision for international students

The school 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 school has attested that it complies with and meets all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review there was one international student.

ERO’s evaluation confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

The school has effective systems in place for providing pastoral care, promoting achievement and supporting involvement in the life of the school and the wider community.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • partnerships with students, families and the school community that are inclusive and caring to promote learning, wellbeing and a sense of belonging
  • provision of a broad curriculum that reflects students’ identity, culture and language needs
  • a culture of collaborative, supportive and collegial staff who are committed and well supported to improve outcomes for children. 

Next steps

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

  • targeted planning to promote accelerated progress for those students that need it, in particular for Pacific students and for all in writing and oral language
  • strengthening teacher appraisal and inquiry to further support teachers to improve their practice
  • strengthening evidence-based internal evaluation to show the impact of planned actions on improving equity and excellence for all learners

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

16 April 2018

About the school 

Location

Kilbirnie, Wellington.

Ministry of Education profile number

3019

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 - 8)

School roll

120

Gender composition

Male 55%, Female 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                     8%
Pacific                                  17%
Indian                                   26%
South East Asian                15%
MELA                                    17%
African                                 10%
Pākehā                                   7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

16 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review January 2015
Education Review November 2011
Education Review September 2009