St Patrick's School (Napier) - 10/08/2016

1 Context

St Patrick's School is a Catholic primary school in Napier that caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 323 students attending the school, 21% identify as Māori and 7 % as Samoan. Since the July 2013 ERO report a deputy principal and a significant number of new staff have been appointed.

The school is currently involved in the Napier City Community of Learning initiative.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to enable students to become life-long learners through high quality education in a rich Catholic environment. Community consultation identified priorities: promoting respect and knowledge of Māori culture, language and identity; positive relationships with home, school, parishes and wider community; and meeting individual needs of all students. The values are promoted through the board's stewardship, community involvement in the school, how students learn and teachers teach.

The school’s achievement information for 2015, shows that overall most students achieved at and above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. However, the school has yet to raise the achievement of Māori and Pacific students to that of their Pākehā peers. In the past two years, Māori and Pacific students achievement has remained static. The school's 2015 achievement targets to improve the achievement of Māori and Pacific students who needed support, were not met. These students continue to be targeted in 2016. Boys achieve significantly below girls in reading and writing.

Teachers' assessment of judgements in writing occurs within the school and across other schools. Leaders and teachers have identified that improving moderation in mathematics is a next step.

Since the previous ERO evaluation the school has focused on addressing the areas identified for development and review. These include:

  • an increased emphasis on meeting the needs of Māori and Pacific students and specific strategies most likely to improve outcomes
  • using data to inform planning and teaching
  • strengthening engagement with whānau and families
  • increasing students' voice in learning
  • self-directed learning and play-based programmes in the junior school
  • review of teacher appraisal. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Disparity of achievement is evident. Leaders and teachers recognise that a school priority in 2016 is to raise the achievement of Māori students through more targeted actions. Underachieving Māori students continue to be identified for acceleration.  

Teachers use a suitable range of assessments to identify and respond to students' learning needs. Improving engagement with whānau hasbeen a specific focus that is likely to support improved outcomes for Māori students. Leaders recognise the importance of continuing to improve the school's response to Māori students' culture, language and identity.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Since the previous ERO report the school has increased its focus on supporting students at risk of not achieving in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2016, Pacific students whose progress and achievement needs acceleration have been identified. Improved engagement with Pacific parents has increased their involvement with the school.

Students whose progress needs acceleration are well monitored by teachers. Learners with diverse needs are identified in class. Interventions using teacher aides are informed by achievement information and personalised to students' individual needs. Collaboration with outside agencies and families support students' engagement and participation in learning.

4 School conditions 

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Trustees, leaders and teachers are working to improve outcomes for students through the implementation of a range of initiatives. These include:

  • strategies to strengthen student engagement and ownership of their learning through a stronger emphasis in the middle and senior syndicates on student self-directed, personalised learning
  • curriculum and professional learning leadership opportunities for teachers
  • valuing students' voice in decision-making
  • increased collaboration and professional trust amongst teachers to use new teaching approaches and inquiry into practices
  • the introduction of play-based learning in Years 1 to 2.

Teachers in the junior classes agree they need to develop suitable assessment processes to support planning for learning through the play-based approach.

The curriculum reflects the school's special character and is a useful guide for teaching and learning. It is currently under review to incorporate recent changes in approaches and to ensure it effectively meets the needs of all students. Good use is made of digital technologies to support learning in class programmes. Positive relationships, student goal setting and knowledge of the purpose of their learning are evident in classrooms.

Transitions into school are well supported through ongoing relationships with local early childhood services. Students transitioning to high school receive considered, well planned and specific support.

Parents receive useful reports about their children's progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board receives regular reports about student achievement. Trustees question this data to support them to make resourcing decisions. The development of a planning and reporting framework document has the potential to support the board's strategic focus.

The appraisal process has been reviewed and further developed to better support teacher development and meet legislative requirements for the Practising Teacher Criteria. A next step is to ensure staff collect evidence of their teaching that shows how they are meeting the criteria each year. Focusing class observations on teachers' goals should enable feedback to be more specific.

To support sustainability and ongoing improvement trustees and leaders should further develop school wide understanding of internal evaluation. This includes identifying expected and measureable outcomes for goals, targets and initiatives that will help determine their effectiveness and quality through evaluation. This should assist to promote equity and excellence for all students.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:   

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

The school has a range of initiatives in place to raise achievement.  Some of these are in the early stages of implementation, and the school does not have specific evidence of their impact. Further work is required to align monitoring and reporting systems to determine the impact of teaching strategies and initiatives on outcomes for students. Senior leaders recognise that developing internal evaluation is an essential part of the improvement.  

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes continuing focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years. 

6 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 the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

In order to improve practice trustees and leaders should:

  • review the personnel appointments policy to ensure it includes procedures for background checks on applicants for roles in the school.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that St Patrick's School (Napier) continue to develop and implement systems and practices to raise achievement.  This should include developing capability in internal evaluation to ensure the school knows what is working well and what needs to change to improve outcomes for Māori and Pacific students.   

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 August 2016

About the school 

Location

Napier

Ministry of Education profile number

2745

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

323

Gender composition

Female 55%, Male 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Samoan

21%
72%
  7%

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

10 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2013
May 2011
June 2008