St Peter's School (Beckenham) - 17/12/2013

1 Context

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

St Peter’s School is an integrated Roman Catholic School for students in Years 1 to 8. Religious education is a key part the school’s curriculum.

Since the August 2010 ERO review, there have been substantial changes within the school and its community. The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes had a significant impact on students, their families, staff, and parish. The parish and school buildings were damaged by the earthquakes and this has led to changes in the makeup of the school roll, parish and the location of classes. The school has coped well with these challenges and maintained a strong focus on students' learning and wellbeing.

A new principal started at the school in 2012. In 2013 a new board was elected. There have also been changes in staff. These changes are contributing to ongoing school improvement.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and teachers make good use of achievement information to foster student learning.

Since the previous ERO review better systems have been developed to analyse overall patterns of student achievement. This information has been effectively used to set some useful targets to raise student achievement.

Improvements to assessment practices are helping to make sure teacher’s judgements about student achievement and progress are becoming more accurate.

School leaders and teachers make appropriate use of achievement information to plan and modify their class programmes to better meet the learning needs of individual and groups of students. They also make good use of this information to help students set goals and monitor their progress.

The school’s analysed achievement information shows that students make good to very good progress with the most progress evident in reading.

Identified students benefit from well targeted, planned and implemented additional learning support programmes provided by teachers and experienced teacher-aides. This support is regularly reviewed and refined to make sure it is responsive to students' emerging needs.

Areas for review and development

The usefulness of reports to the board about student achievement would be improved by greater analysis of the information provided.

The principal and teachers should place increased emphasis on evaluating the progress groups of students make over their time to help better evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programmes.

3 Curriculum

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

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

The principal and teachers ensure the school’s special character, including religious education, is successfully integrated across the curriculum. Teachers model the school values in their relationships with students and each other. The values and beliefs that make up the school’s special character are well understood and enacted by students at all levels of the school.

The school’s curriculum provides students with rich and varied learning experiences. The teachers have high expectations for students and provide them with well focused teaching. They make considerable effort to ensure learning is meaningful, interesting and fun. They make good use of questioning to help students think in creative ways, build upon their knowledge and share their ideas with others.

Teachers are increasing the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to support teaching and learning.

The school provides students with a positive, learning-focused environment. A feature of the school’s culture is the quality of relationships between students and teachers and among students. These relationships foster cooperative and supportive learning for all students. The curriculum also provides many opportunities for older students in particular to develop their leadership skills and to support younger students in their learning and social development.

Areas for review and development

The principal and teachers now need to build on curriculum initiatives by further:

  • extending curriculum guidelines that will provide consistent teaching programmes
  • developing staff members’ skills and confidence in using ICT to support teaching and learning.

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

The school successfully promotes the academic success of Māori students. The curriculum is developing provision for Māori students to succeed as Māori.

Māori students are achieving at similar levels to their peers. Relationships between teachers and students affirm their cultural identity. The curriculum, particularly in religious education, includes many aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori.

The principal and teachers acknowledge to further develop for success for Māori students te reo and tikanga will need to be more integrated across the curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to improve aspects of its performance and in particular teaching and learning. Further work is needed to develop better governance practices.

The work of the new principal, with the support of other school leaders, has resulted in the development of more effective leadership and management structures and practices to sustain and improve the quality of learning and teaching for students.

Recent developments in leadership and management practices are helping to foster collaboration and teamwork amongst staff and make good use of staff strengths. These initiatives are also helping to create a culture where leaders and teachers are willing to critically reflect on ways to improve teaching and learning.

The principal and teachers are placing appropriate emphasis on building learning partnerships with parents and fostering closer relationships with parishioners.

The board’s new chairperson and principal are working well together to bring about school improvement, including better board practices. Suitable emphasis is being given to board training to help clarify roles and responsibilities and developing relevant skills and understandings.

Areas for review and development

The board and school leaders now need to give priority to:

  • improving the quality of their strategic and annual plans so that these become more useful for focusing actions and self review
  • extending the guidelines, plans and processes for conducting self review so that these become more comprehensive, coherent and robust
  • build on recent initiatives to improve governance practices and further promote partnerships with parents and the community
  • ensure the principal’s performance is appraised annually.

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.

ERO identified one area of non compliance. This area of non compliance relates to annually appraising the principal’s performance.

The board must ensure that:

1. a system of regular appraisal of the principal occurs.[77 A State Sector Act 1989]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommend that the board receive additional support through the Ministry of Education to help improve its governance practices.

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

17 December 2013

About the School

Location

Beckenham, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3542

School type

State Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

146

Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Māori

Other Pacific

Asian

Other Ethnicities

84%

4%

3%

3%

6%

Review team on site

October 2013

Date of this report

17 December 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

May 2007

April 2004