Holy Cross School (Papatoetoe)

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Education institution number:
1315
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
605
Telephone:
Address:

Carruth Road, Papatoetoe, Auckland

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School Context

Holy Cross School (Papatoetoe) is a Sisters of Mercy Catholic integrated school. It caters for girls from Years 1 to 8, and boys from Years 1 to 6. The school serves a widespread Catholic community in South Auckland. The school roll of approximately 600 students includes seven percent Māori, 60 percent with Pacific heritage, and a variety of other ethnicities. 

The school’s vision is for children to learn and grow through Christ within a nurturing, safe, Catholic environment. The values of service, compassion, reconciliation and human dignity underpin the vision. These values are well understood and are shared by parents, teachers and students.

The school is led by a long-standing principal, deputy principal and assistant principal.

Holy Cross School (Papatoetoe) has a positive reporting history with ERO. The 2013 report noted high expectations for students that support good levels of student achievement. This feature has been sustained and strengthened.

The school is part of the South Auckland Catholic Community of Learning l Kāhui Ako.

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

  • achievement in literacy, written and oral language and mathematics
  • outcomes for students with additional learning needs, including new English language learners
  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets
  • student engagement and wellbeing
  • outcomes related to identity, culture and language
  • the special character of the school’s curriculum.

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 achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

The school’s achievement information over the last three years shows that students have sustained and improved high levels of achievement in literacy and mathematics. This information indicates that almost all children are working within or beyond expected national curriculum levels in reading, and the majority in mathematics and writing. The school has identified the need for extra support for boys to achieve parity of achievement in writing.

A variety of effective assessment tools are used to track and monitor students’ progress and achievement. Strategic planning is informed by useful achievement data, and strategic goals support ongoing improvement in student achievement.

Students achieve very well in relation to other school valued outcomes. Children:

  • are confident and show a sense of pride in and belonging to the school

  • collaborate with, learn from and support the learning of others

  • demonstrate the school values in their everyday school life

  • show respect for and celebrate individual identity, language and culture

  • value the contribution they can make to the school environment and community.

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

The school is successfully accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need it. Almost all Māori children are achieving within or beyond expected curriculum levels in reading, mathematics and writing.

Teachers have a very good understanding of accelerated learning. Highly effective strategies are shared and used by leaders and teachers to support students to make accelerated progress.

Children with additional needs and their families receive high quality inclusive care that helps them succeed. They make significant progress and have equitable learning opportunities. New learners of English make very good progress over their time at school.

Student progress is regularly monitored and reported to the board to inform decision making, future planning and resourcing.

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?

Children learn in settled, positive environments. They are highly engaged and experience consistently high expectations for learning and achievement. Children are well supported to be independent and confident learners. Teachers actively promote practices that focus on children’s wellbeing, their engagement in their learning, and confidence in their identity, language and culture.

Teachers implement a broad and responsive curriculum and use a variety of teaching strategies to engage and motivate students. They use assessment tools and practices that provide meaningful evidence of children’s achievement. Children access the curriculum and engage in rich learning experiences through the use of well integrated digital tools and technologies.

Teachers monitor and track student progress well. They use evidence to reflect on the impact of their teaching and improve their practice, to promote positive outcomes for children. Teachers access relevant expertise to build capability for ongoing improvement and innovation. School leaders support teachers to implement teaching strategies that respond to the learning needs and strengths of individuals, and groups of children.

Positive and purposeful community partnerships and relationships are highly valued. Children’s learning at home is actively promoted. Leaders and teachers use multiple ways to communicate and build relationships with parents and whānau. The school offers whānau access to opportunities that enable them to further support their children’s learning.

Leadership is highly effective. Leaders have high, clear and equitable expectations for student learning, achievement, progress and behaviour. Leaders are strategic and purposeful in their planning and coordination of strategies and interventions that promote accelerated learning. They work collaboratively with the school community, parents, whānau and staff to support the future direction of the school.

The board provides strong stewardship. Trustees actively represent and serve the school community. Trustees and staff share a strong commitment to the school and they work well together. Trustees are well informed and have a good understanding of student achievement information. They prioritise initiatives that make a difference for children’s wellbeing and achievement.

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

The school has very good capacity to accelerate learning for students. The following are areas for continued development to build and sustain equity and excellence for all students. Leaders, teachers and trustees plan to:

  • further broaden the school’s curriculum through an ongoing focus on science, art and technology

  • strengthen internal evaluation to sustain improvement by developing a robust framework to guide their current evaluation systems and processes.

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 Holy Cross School (Papatoetoe) performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • a positive school culture that responds to students’ needs, promotes their wellbeing and supports their learning success
  • a culture of collaboration among leaders, teachers, parents and whānau, that fosters high expectations for teaching, learning and achievement throughout the school
  • effective leadership that promotes equity and excellence for all learners.

Next steps

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

  • extending internal evaluation frameworks, to support ongoing innovation and improvement
  • embedding key initiatives to accelerate learning and achieve equitable outcomes for all students
  • continuing to broaden the school curriculum to enhance learning opportunities for all students.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

25 June 2019

About the school

Location

Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1315

School type

Full Primary Years 1-8

School roll

554

Gender composition

Girls 56% Boys 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 7%
NZ European/Pākehā 4%
Samoan 45%
Tongan 19%
Indian 6%
Middle Eastern 5%
Cook Island Māori 4%
Filipino 4%
other ethnic groups 6%

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

25 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2014
Education Review August 2011
Education Review June 2008

Findings

Holy Cross school (Papatoetoe) effectively promotes student learning and well being. The school’s responsive curriculum ensures there are high levels of engagement and learning by all students. The school is well led and leaders and teachers value partnership with parents. The board governs the school well.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Holy Cross School (Papatoetoe) is a Sisters of Mercy Catholic integrated school and caters for girls from Year 1 to 8 and boys from Year 1 to 6. The school serves a widespread Catholic community in South Auckland. As noted in the ERO 2011 report the school continues to value its close links with the Holy Cross parish and students continue to participate regularly in the celebration of Mass.

A new senior leadership team consists of the long standing principal and deputy principal and two new associate principals. The associate principals are well supported by the senior team to lead a school-wide approach to raising student achievement in partnership with families.

Families and staff have long-standing relationships with the school, and some family relationships span generations. The board reflects the community well with a good balance of experienced and newly appointed trustees.

There is a caring and friendly school culture evident. The multicultural school community consists of a high percentage of students with Pacific heritage.

The school has a history of positive ERO reports. The areas of good practice identified in the 2011 ERO report such as high expectations of students and a strong pastoral care programme, continue to be evident.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers at Holy Cross School (Papatoetoe) use student achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Most students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students made significant progress in writing results in relation to national Standards during 2013. Senior leaders have very good processes and strategies in place to support the students who are yet to meet the National Standards.

The board is well informed about student progress and achievement. They make very good use of this information to set school-wide goals that focus on raising the achievement of identified groups of students. Progress towards these goals is closely monitored and reported to the board.

Students are confident, articulate and active learners. They are highly engaged in their learning and monitor their own progress. Students have access to a wide variety of information and communication tools. They have many opportunities to take part in sporting, cultural and pastoral leadership activities.

Students’ individual learning needs are closely monitored by the school. The board ensures that appropriate programmes are available and well resourced for students with special abilities and needs. There is a strong commitment to catering for students’ specific needs through:

  • good parent school partnerships
  • tuakana teina/ peer learning approaches
  • increasing students’ direction of their own learning
  • providing interesting and relevant contexts for learning.

Oral language and an emphasis on reading and writing skills in the younger years continues to be a school focus. The well-established Mahi Tahi programme supports students’ successful transition into school and provides opportunities for parent education about the school’s curriculum.

The achievement and progress of Pacific students is carefully monitored. Students from a variety of Pacific nations make up 67 percent of the school roll. The largest groups are Tongan and Samoan. School data indicates that most Pacific students are at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The board meets with Pacific families to talk about their aspirations for their children’s learning.

Successful partnerships between the school and families are a feature. Parents and the wider school community have electronic access to information about students’ ongoing learning. Senior leaders continue to explore ways to make this information available to families without internet access.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad curriculum effectively promotes and supports students learning. The curriculum is underpinned by the school’s four values and the concept of developing life-long learning. Teaching programmes are well resourced and planned to enhance students’ interests and learning.

The board continues to implement a variety of new initiatives to integrate “21st century learning” into the curriculum. A programme of updating the classrooms continues so that students are working in modern learning environments. Some classrooms are specifically designated as “digital classrooms”. However, all students throughout the school have good access to a wide variety of digital tools.

The school has participated in the Ministry of Education Student Achievement Function (SAF) programme to strengthen written language achievement. An outcome of this programme has been the development of stronger parent-school partnerships to promote student learning. The principal and board agree that it would be useful for the board to receive regular information on the effectiveness and the impact of such initiatives on student progress and achievement.

There is a high standard of teaching across the school. Teachers participate in professional development that aligns well with the school’s strategic goals. They regularly reflect on their teaching practice. Teachers could strengthen their reflections by considering the impact that their teaching strategies are having on the achievement and progress of groups of students.

The school has responded to whānau consultation by implementing staff professional learning and development on the Treaty of Waitangi and the Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia-Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017.

The board and principal are committed to working in partnership with Māori whānau to enhance the integration of aspects of Te Ao Māori and te reo Māori through the school’s curriculum.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Maori as Māori. Nine percent of all students identify as being of Māori descent. Most of these students are achieving at or above the National Standards. The school’s information indicates students are making accelerated progress in reading and writing and maintain high levels of achievement in mathematics.

The school has consulted their Māori whānau group te Puawaitanga o Te Kura Ripeka Tapu about how to promote educational success for Māori students and create opportunities for them to succeed as Māori.

The proactive whānau Māori group have developed a comprehensive Māori strategic plan. The group have provided direction for strengthening the school’s curriculum and strategic plans. They also offer advice to the board and senior leaders on local kawa, appropriate school kawa and whānau aspirations for their tamariki. This year the strategic focus is whanaungatanga, to build collaborative relationships.

Celebrating Māori cultural events and activities play an important role in reflecting New Zealand’s cultural heritage. Te reo Māori is successfully integrated into class programmes and all students benefit from the formal and sequential te reo Māori programme. Māori staff offer students the opportunity to participate in the school’s three kapa haka groups.

The school has recently implemented the “Mana Potential” leadership programme which increases student voice and develops effective leaders. To further promote success for Māori students as Māori it would be useful for the board to know about the effectiveness of this and other initiatives.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The board are knowledgeable about their governance role, have a planned approach to school improvement and work collaboratively with the senior leadership team.

The principal provides inclusive and distributed leadership. The senior leadership team is supportive of the principal and staff and has high expectations for students’ learning. Teachers are work collaboratively for the benefit of students' success. The principal offers opportunities to grow the leadership capability of all teachers and students.

Trustees have a good understanding of the purpose of self review. They have an established agenda to review their policies and have student progress regularly reported to them. Senior leaders have recently reviewed and strengthened the appraisal process and the board agrees that it would be beneficial for the principal to participate in an external performance review.

In order to further improve current self review practices, senior leaders should continue to develop and document organisational structures, processes and expectations for both planned and emergent reviews. This could promote collaborative activity, collective and evidence based decision making and further build the school’s capacity to sustain ongoing learning and improvement.

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

Holy Cross school (Papatoetoe) effectively promotes student learning and well being. The school’s responsive curriculum ensures there are high levels of engagement and learning by all students. The school is well led and leaders and teachers value partnership with parents. The board governs the school well.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

7 November 2014

About the School

Location

Papatoetoe, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1315

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

605

Gender composition

Girls 58% Boys 42%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/ Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Indian

Middle Eastern

Cook Island Māori

Filipino

other

9%

6%

44%

17%

5%

5%

4%

4%

6%

Special Features

Attached Social Worker in Schools

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

7 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

June 2008

June 2005