St Paul's Catholic School (Ngaruawahia) - 24/06/2014

Findings

Students benefit from an education where the school’s special Catholic character is well integrated. There is a positive tone for learning at the school. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics. Positive partnerships are evident among teachers and parents. The board are supportive of school leaders and teachers.

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

1 Context

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

St Paul’s Catholic School Ngāruawāhia, is a state integrated primary school catering for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of this ERO review the school’s roll of 124, included 48 students who identify as Māori.

Since the 2011 ERO review there has been several changes in the teaching team, including the appointment of a new principal at the beginning of Term 4 2013. The school’s roll has remained stable in number. Teachers have continued to be involved in professional learning and development, particularly in areas of literacy as part of a long-standing initiative involving schools in the Ngāruawāhia and Huntly areas.

The school’s vision has in its origins the charism established by the Sisters of the Mission who founded the school in 1928. Its highly-evident special Catholic character contributes to a family-like atmosphere, a strong sense of wellbeing for students and a positive tone for learning. High priority is placed on the Fruits of the Holy Spirits, which outline the values practised and taught by the Catholic Church.

The school has a good ERO reporting history and has responded positively to the areas for development identified in the 2011 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

School leaders have developed useful processes that guide the collection, analysis and reporting of school-wide student achievement information, especially in reading, writing and mathematics. They effectively use achievement information to identify, and monitor the progress of students who require additional support. School leaders regularly report school-wide achievement information to the board of trustees and Ministry of Education (MOE). ERO and school leaders agree that there is a need to further develop guidelines to assist teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to the National Standards.

The board of trustees has a good understanding of school-wide student achievement and use this data to inform their decision making, especially about the allocation of resources. Trustees set appropriate targets in the school’s charter focussed on raising levels of achievement.

Teachers use a wide range of achievement information to group students for instruction. ERO and the principal observed some teachers effectively using this information to plan and implement meaningful learning programmes. Parents are well informed about their children’s achievement and progress in individual learning profiles, written reports and at regular parent/teacher interviews.

The school reports at the end of 2013 that a significant majority of students achieved at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. These results are slightly lower than the MOE’s nationwide targets of having 85% of students at or above the standards by 2017. The school’s data indicates that Māori students achieved at higher levels than their non-Māori peers at the school in mathematics and at similar levels in reading. School leaders and the board have identified lower levels of achievement of Māori students in writing and have targeted this as an area for development in the school charter.

3 Curriculum

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

St Paul’s Catholic School is continuing to develop its curriculum to effectively promote and support student learning.

High priority is placed on literacy, mathematics and the school’s special Catholic character. Very useful guidelines have been developed that set clear expectations for the teaching of these areas. There has been a recent focus on integrating computer technology to enhance learning opportunities, especially in the three senior classes.

Other features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • many opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills
  • regular celebration of students’ learning and successes
  • many opportunities for children to experience success in sporting activities and events in the wider community
  • regular cultural and performing arts events that provide opportunities for students to share their learning and expertise.

The school’s special Catholic character, led by a knowledgeable and respected Director of Religious Studies, is meaningfully integrated into the daily life of the school and is enhanced by strong links with the local parish.

Teachers have developed positive and respectful relationships with students. They have high expectations for student learning and behaviour. There are models of effective teaching practices in the school that reflect the school’s documented expectations for quality teaching. To ensure the consistency of these practices priority should be given to providing:

  • school-wide professional development for teachers to provide an agreed understanding of the school’s expectations
  • a robust appraisal process for teachers, with regular and rigorous feedback about their practice.

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

Strong partnerships with whānau and the local marae are contributing to a sense of belonging and identity for Māori students. Regular hui provide whānau with opportunities to share their aspirations with the school and contribute to decision making. Students enjoy participating in regular kapahaka, marae visits and waka regattas. The board of trustees chairperson and kaumātua are tangata whenua and regularly share their knowledge and expertise with school leaders and teachers to promote Māori perspectives. Students and teachers have participated in exploring local history and places of importance for Tainui and the Kingitanga.

To further promote success for Māori as Māori, ERO, the board, school leaders and teachers agree that there is a need to:

  • implement a sequential te reo and tikanga Māori programme in all classes
  • increase the visibility of a Māori dimension in the school environment
  • further incorporate Māori contexts in the curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the recently appointed principal is building positive and meaningful partnerships with teachers, parents, students and the wider community, including the local parish
  • the knowledgeable deputy principal provides useful professional support and guidance for teachers
  • the board of trustees is supportive of the principal and teachers and are committed to the ongoing development of the school
  • teachers work well together in the best interests of students
  • there are high levels of support from parents and the local parish.

In order to further improve the school’s performance there is a need for the board and school leaders to implement a more robust strategic process of self review. This would enable them to effectively evaluate key aspects of school operations and to inform their decision making.

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

Students benefit from an education where the school’s special Catholic character is well integrated. There is a positive tone for learning at the school. Appropriate priority is placed on literacy and mathematics. Positive partnerships are evident among teachers and parents. The board are supportive of school leaders and teachers.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

24 June 2014

About the School

Location

Ngāruawāhia

Ministry of Education profile number

1963

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

124

Gender composition

Girls 56%

Boys 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Cook Island Māori

Other

55%

39%

4%

2%

Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

24 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

June 2008

June 2005