St Patrick's School (Waimate) - 13/05/2020

School Context

St Patrick’s School (Waimate) is a small integrated Catholic school for students in Years 1 to 8. It has a roll of 38 students, including some from diverse ethnic groups who have additional support with English language learning. The roll has remained stable.

The school’s vision for students is ‘developing the whole child to live like Jesus and to be the best they can be’ through the values of love and caring, being creative and confident.

Valued outcomes for all learners in the school community have been identified as:

  • having the ability to demonstrate their Catholic faith by the way they act
  • being literate and numerate
  • using digital technology to enhance their learning
  • taking ownership of their learning, while having a toolkit of knowledge, skills and attitudes to continue their education journey with success.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the May 2016 ERO review, the school has had significant staffing changes. This has included teachers and interim principals. The current principal began in Term 4 2017. The board is a mix of experienced and new trustees.

Teachers have undertaken professional development and learning in aspects of literacy and mathematics.

The school is now a member of the Waimate Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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?

The school is progressing towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

End-of-year achievement information from 2017 to 2019 shows that the majority of students achieve at or above the school’s expectations in mathematics, with an increasing proportion achieving at expectations over time. This has been achieved through a schoolwide focus on improving teaching and learning in mathematics.

Most students achieved at or above the school’s expectations in reading and writing between 2016 and 2018. School data for 2019 shows a decrease in overall achievement in reading and writing, with the larger decrease in writing. The school attributes this to a change in approaches, including assessment practices.

A smaller proportion of boys than girls achieved at or above the school’s expectations in writing in 2018. This disparity for boys is evident in reading, writing and mathematics in 2019.

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

The school is able to show it is accelerating learning for some students who need this in mathematics and reading.

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?

Students learn in a caring, welcoming family-like environment and have positive relationships with each other and their teachers. The school’s Catholic values are explicitly taught. Opportunities for students to lead and participate in celebrations of their faith throughout the school day and year are encouraged.

Students’ engagement, achievement and progress is being enhanced through:

  • a focus on building teachers’ knowledge of effective mathematics and literacy teaching and learning
  • strengthened processes for identifying and responding to their specific learning needs
  • having increased opportunities to practise and consolidate their learning
  • greater collaboration and shared understanding, for teachers and teacher aides, of effective practices for raising achievement.

Students are becoming more aware of their learning-to-learn dispositions, progress and next learning steps.

Trustees are highly committed to responding to promoting equity for all learners. They ask challenging questions about student achievement, progress and the school’s curriculum, and have sought and responded to training and advice. This has strengthened the school’s governance capability and focus on outcomes for learners.

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

There is an ongoing and urgent need to build the capability and capacity of leadership to improve organisational conditions for the smooth running of the school. Efficient management practices, including timely communication, should be in place and consistently implemented. Effective planning, coordination and evaluation of the curriculum, and teaching and learning are required.

Systems to improve the gathering, analysis, evaluation and reporting of achievement data require improvement to:

  • show the sufficiency of progress students are making, particularly those who have been targeted for accelerated learning
  • support redevelopment of the school’s charter/planning and reporting targets; these should be inclusive of all students who need to have their progress accelerated in reading, writing and mathematics.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of St Patrick’s School (Waimate)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • caring, positive school culture that reflects the school’s values and supports student wellbeing
  • developing practices and programmes that are focused on students’ specific learning needs
  • way in which the board focuses on, and responds to, information about learner outcomes.

Next steps

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

  • substantially improving the organisational conditions within the school that should support future sustainability
  • ensuring there is a more systematic approach to ongoing curriculum development and evaluation that provides rich learning conditions for all students
  • using effective systems to evaluate and report the sufficiency of progress students are making
  • ensuring student achievement targets are inclusive of all those whose progress needs to be accelerated.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to police vetting of some staff.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • obtain a Police vet of every person employed by the school every three years
    [Source: s78C Education Act 1989].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • have in place reliable ways of knowing how well it is meeting its good employer obligations, including that of staff wellbeing
  • clarify how well the complaints policy and procedures are being followed and used to support all members of the school
  • ensure that all board in-committee minutes are safely stored and retrievable.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • leadership
  • organisation and systems
  • curriculum development
  • raising achievement through targeted actions
  • continued support and guidance for governance.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

13 May 2020

About the school

Location

Waimate

Ministry of Education profile number

3539

School type

Full Primary (Years 1-8)

School roll

38

Gender composition

Female 20, Male 18

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 25
Asian 8
Other ethnic groups 5

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

No

Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

13 May 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2016
Education Review February 2013