St Michael's Catholic School (Rotorua)

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

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Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

School Context

St Michael’s Catholic School (Rotorua) is a contributing primary school in the Western Heights suburb of Rotorua. The principal has recently been appointed to the school. The long-serving deputy principal was the acting principal in terms one and two of this year. The school motto is ‘Striving for Excellence’ and Catholic values underpin all aspects of learning and school organisation. Strategic goals identified in the 2018 charter are striving for excellence, unique skills and passions are celebrated, and independent, confident learners are nurtured. Staffing is stable. However, there has been some changes to board membership since the last review.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics.

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 positive learning outcomes for most of its students. Data reported by the school shows most students achieve at or above national curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. School-wide achievement data over time shows an upward trend in achievement in reading and mathematics. However, there is significant and ongoing disparity for Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics. In reading and mathematics, boys are generally achieving at higher levels than girls, whose overall achievement has declined in recent years.

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

The school is unable to show accelerated progress for Māori and other identified at-risk learners. Leaders are yet to analyse and use achievement data to identify rates of expected and accelerated progress.

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?

Teachers purposefully engage students in meaningful contexts for learning. There has been a strong professional learning and development focus placed on raising achievement for boys, that has lead to improved learning outcomes for these students. Mixed-ability and instructional grouping is providing support and challenge for at-risk learners. Teaching practice is contributing to positive learning outcomes for students.

A supportive and caring culture for learning is evident. The special Catholic character underpins positive relationships and pastoral care throughout the school. Relationships are respectful and inclusive. Students with additional learning needs are well supported by teachers and teacher aides. Productive working environments contribute to students being actively engaged in discussions about their learning. Parents are well informed about their children’s learning. Teachers know students and their families very well and their wellbeing and sense of belonging are affirmed.

The board is strongly focused on raising student achievement. Trustees use achievement information reported to make appropriate and relevant resourcing decisions. They are informed about the achievement of targeted students through reports shared by senior leaders. Programmes and initiatives for students needing additional support with their learning lead to improved learning outcomes, particularly in mathematics and for boys.

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

Leadership for learning needs to be strengthened. Principal and senior leaders need to prioritise:

  • curriculum review and development, including consultation with the community and parents
  • the development of shared and agreed expectations about teaching and learning
  • reviewing and strengthening key aspects of the appraisal process for all teaching staff.

The management and use of school-wide achievement information needs strengthening to:

  • identify and target groups of at-risk learners, particularly Māori

  • monitor and show rates of progress (expected and accelerated)

  • inform planning and teaching leading to deliberate practices to raise achievement.

Strengthening these systems and practices should lead to more coherent, systematic internal evaluation and improved outcomes for all students.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to consultation with Māori.

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

  1. ensure that the Māori community is consulted about plans and targets to raise achievement for Māori students.
    [National Administration Guideline 1(v)]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a positive culture for education that promotes students’ identity and nurtures wellbeing

  • informed resourcing provision at governance level that supports continuous improvement in learning and teaching.

Next steps

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

  • leadership of learning with a strong focus on developing clear and agreed expectations for teaching and learning

  • strengthening targeted achievement, particularly for Māori learners who are underachieving

  • implementation of a robust appraisal process that contributes to consistently high levels of teaching practice
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

26 October 2018

About the school

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1960

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

137

Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 41%
Pākehā 45%
Pasifika 4%
Asian 5%
Other 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

26 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review May 2012
Education Review July 2009

Findings

The school continues to deliver positive and motivating learning opportunities for all students. Governance is effective and the principal provides strong professional leadership for staff, parents and students. Teachers deliver high-quality learning programmes across the school in an inclusive and positive school culture. Students achieve well at the school.

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 Michael's Catholic School (Rotorua) is an integrated Catholic school in the Western Heights suburb of Rotorua. It has a roll of 157 students with 71 identifying as Māori. Since the last ERO report in 2012, a new principal and board chairperson have been appointed and there have been several changes to board membership. Staffing remains stable with only one new appointment in the last three years. Staff know students very well.

The school motto is ‘Striving for Excellence’ and Catholic values underpin all aspects of learning and school organisation. The school has a positive culture that reflects its values of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. Staff have focussed on developing and promoting the school’s shared vision for learning and the local response to delivering The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). Positive progress has been made in addressing most of the aspects identified for development in the 2012 report.

Parents and community members continue to participate actively in the life of the school. They appreciate the welcoming approach of the principal, board and staff. Smooth transitions from early childhood centres support students starting school and effective communication with middle schools help prepare students for the next phase of their learning.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Information from 2013 and 2014 shows that students achieve well with a significant majority achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Information also shows that Māori students achieve at comparable levels to other students.

The senior leadership team uses achievement information to make decisions about identifying target students and intervention initiatives to accelerate student progress. The board of trustees uses achievement data to make decisions about resourcing and professional development for staff. A recent example of this is the professional development teachers are receiving to enhance the teaching of mathematics. Achievement data is well used by teachers to provide differentiated teaching programmes to meet the individual learning needs of each student, and provide extension or support when required.

Students with special learning needs are well catered for through an extensive range of support programmes designed to build confidence, skills and knowledge in all subject areas.

Parents are well informed about their child’s achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics through written reports, interviews with teachers, and regular and ongoing informal contact.

The school has identified, and is working on, ways to further enhance the use of student achievement information by:

  • developing a more robust moderating process to support teachers to make reliable judgements in relation to National Standards
  • developing processes to more closely track, monitor and document progress and achievement for target students and those with high needs.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and is personalised to the local context and character of the school. A feature of the school is the connected curriculum focus on Christian values and Māori cultural beliefs integrated with other subject areas.

A curriculum leader and team made up of teachers from various levels of the school meet regularly to provide guidance and ongoing support for curriculum delivery. This team also has the role of reviewing the curriculum regularly with a focus on continual improvement in teaching and learning programmes. Learning as inquiry strategies give students an opportunity to follow their interests and manage their learning. A wide variety of elective studies chosen by the students allows them to take part in, and have success in, many sporting, cultural, artistic, musical and scientific events.

Teachers demonstrate highly effective practices across the school. They work collaboratively as a team to plan and share teaching practice which provides best outcomes for students. Teachers have high expectations for learning and behaviour, show regard for students as individuals, and take collective responsibility for all students. Positive relationships are developed with students and families resulting in teachers knowing students very well and being able to provide teaching that meets their individual needs. Teachers know the learning progressions well and use these to encourage students to take increasing responsibility for their own learning.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori as Māori. Māori cultural beliefs and values are explored and integrated through Catholic aspects of the curriculum, enviroschool activities and the school environment. All students learn their pepeha and whakapapa, and participate in daily karakia and waiata. Students visit the local marae and experience protocols and aspects of tikanga Māori. They also have the opportunity to participate in kapahaka and learn from an experienced and highly valued tutor. Parents spoken to by ERO commented about the value of the tuakana-teina concept as a feature of the school culture. The school has a strong relationship with the local iwi, Ngāti Whakaue, who actively support and fund initiatives that promote learning for all students. Iwi representatives are regularly welcomed into the school to observe students and discuss progress and achievements.

ERO and school leaders agree that the next steps for development are to:

  • consider the guidance provided in ‘Ka Hikitia- Accelerating Progress’ and identify for themselves any possible areas for further development
  • consolidate te reo Māori and tikanga learning programmes across the school to extend students confidence and capacity as they move through the school.

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 board is committed to supporting the principal and staff and is working in the best interests of students
  • the board seeks external advice when required and consults with the community to inform decision making
  • the principal demonstrates strong professional leadership and vision for school development and has a collaborative approach to leading and managing the school
  • the senior leadership team is knowledgeable and experienced and provides support for the principal and staff
  • teachers work and plan together with professional collegiality and work actively to enhance their teaching practice
  • the inclusive and welcoming school culture supports and cares for students and their families.

The next step for the board is to develop a more robust cycle of ongoing review to enable it to monitor progress towards target goals in the strategic plan. Such a cycle of review should help to ensure that the strategic plan is implemented and evaluated.

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.

To improve current practice the board should ensure that the principal’s appraisal process is implemented, completed and documented:

  • be a good employer as defined in the State Sector Act 1988 and comply with the conditions contained in employment contracts applying to teaching and non teaching staff. National Administration Guideline 3(b)

Conclusion

The school continues to deliver positive and motivating learning opportunities for all students. Governance is effective and the principal provides strong professional leadership for staff, parents and students. Teachers deliver high-quality learning programmes across the school in an inclusive and positive school culture. Students achieve well at the school.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 March 2015

About the School

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

1960

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

157

Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Pākeha

Māori

Asian

Pacific

Indian

Other European

55%

35%

3%

3%

2%

2%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

30 March 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2012

July 2009

August 2006