St Francis Catholic School (Pt Chevalier)

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Education institution number:
1488
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
268
Telephone:
Address:

Montrose Street, Point Chevalier, Auckland

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1 Context

St Francis Catholic School is a state-integrated school situated in Point Chevalier, Auckland. The school caters for children from Years 1 to 6. The Catholic special character and the school mission, vision and values are interwoven in all aspects of school life.

A significant feature of the school is the strong pastoral care that staff have for children, families and each other. Children and their parents experience a welcoming and inclusive school. The positive climate promotes children's sense of belonging in the school and provides a comfortable and secure environment for their learning. A whānau meeting room provides a community place for all parents and families to further connect with each other and the school. Staff, children and families value the longstanding and inter-generational connections the school has with its community.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that they be nurtured and challenged in ways that enable them to become socially responsible and well rounded individuals within a secure and culturally inclusive environment. School values include respecting self and others, embracing all cultures, and acting with humility, compassion and tolerance. The board of trustees, senior leaders and staff place children and their learning at the centre of all decision making, and the St Francis' vision and values are highly evident at all levels within the school.

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This has been a consistent trend over the last three years.

Māori student achievement overall shows that these children are achieving at similar levels to the whole school population. School data also shows that, while outcomes for Pacific children were somewhat below those of other groups in 2013, particularly for writing and mathematics, the achievement of these children has been accelerated in 2014 and 2015. This has significantly reduced the disparity in outcomes. The good gains made by these children provides evidence of the effectiveness of support programmes implemented to improve Pacific children's progress and achievement.

Since the 2012 ERO evaluation the school has continued to build on existing high quality teaching practices and to focus on children having greater ownership of their learning. This has been done through broadening student input into curriculum designs. There has been a school-wide focus on writing and mathematics, with external professional development for teachers in these learning areas.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds very well to Māori children and other children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

School leaders and teachers use student achievement information very effectively to identify and monitor the progress and achievement of individuals and groups of children who need additional learning support. Internal moderation processes have continued to develop to strengthen the reliability of achievement information and accompanying teacher judgements about student progress and achievement. Senior leaders have identified that further development could now include moderating student assessment information with other schools.

Leaders and teachers work collaboratively to deliver high quality programmes that promote learning for all children. They reflect on their practice and make changes to further raise student achievement. They maintain an ongoing focus on, and carefully consider what is best for, children with special learning needs. Teachers work closely with these children and their families using a wide range of interventions and targeted programmes to provide a systematic response to children's strengths, interests and learning needs. The board of trustees receives regular information about priority learning groups and strategically allocates resources to support their achievement. Thorough analyses of the outcomes of these interventions and programmes guide refinements that are bringing about ongoing improvements in learning.

Children are kept informed about their progress and set goals for improvement with their classroom teachers, specialist teachers and/or support staff. School leaders and teachers meet regularly with children with high learning or health needs. Senior leaders agree it would now be timely to extend this good practice to include parents/whānau of identified of children to further develop learning partnerships that foster accelerated learning for their children.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes are very effective in promoting and supporting equity and excellence in student outcomes.

Curriculum designs are flexible and highly responsive to children's learning, strengths and interests. A wide variety of learning experiences that feature local contexts and global perspectives provide purposeful learning opportunities for children. Māori language and cultural perspectives are well integrated in all learning areas of the curriculum and are supported by a continuing school-wide focus on building teachers' confidence and capability in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Māori children report these approaches help them feel valued as learners and members of the school community.

Children are focused on their learning. Teachers recognise and celebrate children's learning successes. They provide an environment where children have the confidence to take on new challenges and have fun with their learning. Children work collaboratively, think critically and problem solve. There is a good sense of children being actively involved in and excited about learning. The introduction of a foundation class (Pia taata) supports new entrants beginning school. High quality processes are also in place to facilitate smooth transitioning for older children enrolling at the school and for those moving on to intermediate schooling.

Children are encouraged to take on leadership responsibilities from a young age. Teachers are continuing to build strategies that encourage children to be self-directed learners who are increasingly taking ownership of their own learning. Parents receive clear information about their child's progress and achievement and have opportunities to contribute to their child's learning through parent, student and teacher meetings.

The principal and senior managers provide strong professional leadership. Clear, coherent systems and documentation support consistency in school operations and teaching practice. Recent changes in the school's performance appraisal processes are helping teachers gather evidence to inquire more robustly into the effectiveness of their teaching practices.

The school is well governed. The board seeks external training to support its governance role and processes are in place for board induction and succession planning. Trustees have a commitment to improved learning outcomes for all children and a positive working relationship with the principal. The school's charter and annual plans are strategic, coherent and aligned with the school vision, values and future direction. Trustees receive clear assurances that the school enacts systems to promote a supportive and healthy environment for children and adults.

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 who need their learning and achievement to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The school is very well placed to sustain progress and to make ongoing improvements that impact positively on all children. A culture of continuous self review and teacher reflection contributes to the schools' positive performance.

The board, senior leaders and ERO agree the school's future priorities to promote and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children are to:

  • strategically implement the school's e-learning action plan to further enhance the school's curriculum
  • further develop learning partnerships with parents of children whose learning and achievement need accelerating.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five 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
  • provision for international students
  • provision for students in school hostels.

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the school continues to accelerate the learning of Pacific children so that all children experience excellence and equity in their learning outcomes.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 May 2016

About the school

Location

Point Chevalier, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1488

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

277

Gender composition

Boys 53% Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Tongan

Samoan

Indian

African

Chinese

other

9%

62%

7%

4%

4%

3%

3%

8%

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

18 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2012

June 2008

March 2005

1 Context

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

St Francis School is a state-integrated Catholic school situated in Point Chevalier in Auckland. The school caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The school mission statement, 'Providing a Catholic education that develops the whole person', is clearly reflected in relationships, class programmes and community outreach. Teachers know students and their families well, and these relationships form a supportive basis for good teaching practice.

The school has a history of positive reports from the Education Review Office. These reports have noted the principal’s effective leadership, the commitment and expertise of the board, and the continued delivery of high quality teaching programmes. Since the 2008 ERO report, the principal, trustees and staff have continued to review their programmes and activities in order to provide the most positive outcomes for students. The school continues to offer students high quality learning opportunities.

Significant physical improvements are currently underway and will provide an extended administration block, new classrooms, and flexible learning areas. The new library and whānau room under construction have been designed to further enhance the partnership the school has built with its community.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

School data and classroom observations show students are purposefully engaged in learning and school activities. School leaders and teachers report that students achieve well and make good progress over time.

Classrooms are calm and settled learning environments. Student work is celebrated through attractive displays and learning prompts. Teachers plan lessons well and provide well for different ability groups of students. Teachers make the purpose of the lesson clear to students and use good questioning techniques to encourage student involvement and critical thinking.

Highly respectful l relationships are evident among students and between students and teachers. Reciprocal learning relationships are evident as older and younger students support and learn from each other. Student leadership opportunities have increased, and students are articulate and confident. They are proud of their school and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging.

The school’s achievement data indicates that most students, including Māori and Pacific students, achieve at or above National Standards for reading, writing, and mathematics. Very good processes are in place for tracking and reporting student progress and achievement to trustees, parents and students. Teachers make good use of this information to reflect on their teaching and to inform class teaching and learning programmes.

Students are kept informed about their progress and set goals for improvement with their teachers. School leaders acknowledge that the next step is to explore ways to enable students to take greater ownership of their own learning.

Initiatives are in place to support students who are not achieving well in literacy and numeracy. School leaders are considering how they can best provide more challenge for high achieving students.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

Māori students have positive attitudes to school and learning, and are achieving well. They benefit from the positive relationships that underpin the school culture and the te reo and tikanga component of the school’s religious education programmes.

The school has developed a te reo Māori curriculum, and revised teacher planning formats to include consideration of Māori cultural perspectives. Teachers are working together to build their confidence in the use of te reo Māori. They are considering ways of incorporating Māori language and cultural perspectives more widely into other learning contexts, and will benefit from the ongoing support of senior leaders. Increased learning opportunities across the curriculum that reflect Māori perspectives and the richness of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage would celebrate the bicultural backgrounds of the school’s Māori students and contribute to all students’ knowledge.

Senior leaders analyse Māori student achievement separately to monitor student progress and to report to the board.

The board carried out formal consultation with the Māori community in 2010 and outcomes of this consultation have contributed to the school’s 2011 strategic and annual plan. In 2011 the board, through the principal, is consulting informally with the school’s individual Māori families. ERO recommends that the board document the outcomes of this informal consultation and the ways in which they intend to respond to community wishes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides a range of interesting learning opportunities that engage students and support them to make good progress. It aligns well with The New Zealand Curriculum and reflects the vision and values of the special Catholic character of the school.

The school’s curriculum is strongly influenced by the ‘Building Enterprising Students’ teaching approach. This approach provides students with many innovative, creative opportunities to share with students in other year groups and to contribute to the wider school community. The flexible, broad curriculum is responsive to current events and focuses on building literacy and numeracy skills across all curriculum areas. The school could consider additional ways of including more Pacific contexts in learning programmes.

High quality teaching practices are evident across the school. School leaders and teachers are committed to the success of all students, and students respond positively to their high expectations.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

St Francis School is well placed to sustain the effective practices currently evident, and to continue to improve outcomes for students.

High quality leadership is provided by a knowledgeable, reflective board of trustees and motivated professional leaders and staff. Teachers enjoy working collegially, sharing their knowledge and expertise. Across the school, teachers are making good use of student achievement data to consider the effectiveness of their teaching practices. Some document what is working well and possibilities to further improve outcomes for students.

The principal’s leadership is very effective and she is ably supported by a cohesive management team. The school has good processes in place to promote a consistent approach to teaching and learning across the school. A well developed performance management system encourages reflection and continual teacher improvement. Good use has been made of external advice and internal expertise to build the capability of staff and to build leadership.

Knowledgeable, committed trustees work collegially with school leaders. They have built strong links with the community and a well developed home and school partnership has been established. The board has recently developed a Pacific engagement plan to strengthen its engagement with Pacific parents and the Pacific community.

Trustees are well informed about, and interested in, students’ progress and achievement. Regular surveys and informal conversations give students, staff and the community a voice in the direction of the school. A well developed strategic plan guides the school. Trustees and staff work well together to promote a culture of rigorous critical reflection and self review that is focused on promoting positive outcomes for all students.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

18 January 2012

About the School

Location

Point Chevalier, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1488

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

228

Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Tongan

Samoan

Chinese

Filipino

Indian

Other Pacific

Other

61%

4%

12%

7%

2%

2%

2%

3%

7%

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

18 January 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Accountability Review

June 2008

March 2005

June 2001