St Pius X School (New Plymouth)

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Education institution number:
2242
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
185
Telephone:
Address:

120 Brooklands Road, New Plymouth

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School Context

St Pius X School is a state integrated school of special Catholic character in New Plymouth. It caters for students in Years 1 to 6. The roll has increased steadily since the 2014 ERO evaluation to 159 students, of whom 14% identify as Māori.

The school’s vision is: knowing, caring, doing - mōhiotanga, mahinga, manaakitanga. The special character values for school life are: community, compassion, truth, service - hapori, aroha, pono, ratanga.

The school states that learners will be engaged in continuous improvement in all areas of the curriculum and will exhibit resilience, respect, responsibility, creativity and curiosity that supports them to be caring, successful lifelong learners.

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

  • progress, accelerated progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • achievement in religious education.

Since the previous ERO evaluation, teachers have been involved in professional learning and development in school priority areas of mathematics and writing. Plans are in place for additional learning spaces to cater for roll growth. 

Evaluation Findings

Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school effectively promotes equitable and excellent outcomes for most students.

End of 2016 and 2017 data indicates that almost all students achieve at or above expectations in reading, with most achieving at or above in writing and mathematics. Māori student achievement and improvement is similar to that of their peers within the school. Pacific students are well known by leaders and teachers and are progressing well.

Overall achievement has improved in reading and been sustained in mathematics since the previous ERO evaluation. The professional learning and development focus on writing is in response to the small decline in the percentage of students achieving at or above expectation.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Through well-established processes and strategies, the school responds effectively to those Māori and other students whose learning needs acceleration.

Student achievement information from 2016 shows that the number of children below expected levels in reading reduced over the year. Most Māori students below at the start of the year, were at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics by the end.

In 2017, the school identified and targeted those students who are achieving below expected levels. Data shows that all of these students made progress, with nearly half making accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The principal and senior leaders work collaboratively to realise a clear vision for equity and excellence. They lead change effectively to support the strategic direction. There is clear alignment from the charter, strategic and annual goals to teaching and learning. The environment reflects and celebrates the school’s special character, priorities and focus of children’s learning. 

Trustees, leaders and teachers take a cohesive approach to addressing underachievement. A range of programmes, interventions and targeted resourcing support acceleration and cater for students with identified learning needs. Systems for tracking and monitoring children’s progress, especially of those in need of extra support, are well established.

Students have sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn and succeed in the broad curriculum. Deliberate teaching responds to well-identified learning needs. Leaders and teachers have reviewed aspects of the curriculum to better reflect current practice and guide future priorities for teaching and learning. Collaboration promotes consistency of assessment judgements about children’s learning.

Collaborative and responsive approaches successfully support children with additional learning and wellbeing needs. High inclusiveness is evident. These students are well integrated into school activities and engaged in appropriate learning programmes.

Māori learners’ opportunities to achieve and succeed as Māori are extended through well‑considered initiatives and practices. Genuine valuing of te ao Māori supports cultural responsiveness. Building children’s knowledge and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is a deliberate focus. Positive outcomes for Māori students are nurtured through partnerships underpinned by manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. Consultation with whānau Māori is further informing responses to Māori learners and influencing future direction.

There is a strong focus on wellbeing and very high expectations for students’ engagement in learning. They know the purpose of learning well. Their voice is valued in decision making for learning and improvement. Students have a sense of belonging, are confident and positive. Caring, respectful relationships are highly evident.

Students benefit from close connections between the school and parents and whānau, who are valued partners in children’s learning. Parents are well informed about learning and achievement and how they might contribute to children’s progress. Leaders and trustees consider parent and whānau perspectives in decision making.

Clear processes and expectations guide staff capability building. Internal evaluation promotes improvement of school practice and operation. Leaders and teachers reflect on the effectiveness of their practice and interventions, identify what is successful and plan ways to transfer learning. Appraisal is responsive to teachers’ development needs and supports them to improve their practice. Teachers’ expertise, strengths and interests are used in relevant leadership opportunities.

Knowledgeable trustees scrutinise the work of the school in achieving valued student outcomes. The board is well informed about student achievement and the progress of priority learners. Trustees are strategic in their resourcing to support the building of leaders’ and teachers’ capability.

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

The school has identified next steps to continue to develop the localised curriculum and embed teachers’ learning from writing and mathematics PLD.

Trustees, leaders and teachers should continue to use internal evaluation, including using existing information about acceleration of progress, to determine what works and what is needed to sustain ongoing improvement for achievement of equity and excellence. 

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • assessment and identification processes that enable teachers to systematically respond to needs, promote wellbeing and support learning success
  • purposeful leadership and governance that sets clear direction for children’s learning and promotes equity and excellence
  • a culture of collaboration between leaders and staff that underpins a cohesive direction and high expectations for teaching and learning.

Next steps

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

  • continuing internal evaluation to identify the impact of curriculum developments, effective practices and areas for further refinement in pursuit of equity and excellence. 

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

21 December 2017

About the school 

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2242

School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

159

Gender composition

Female 54%, Male 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori                                  14%
Pākehā                               72%
Pacific                                    2%
Asian                                     5%
Other ethnic groups        7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

21 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

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

Findings

Most students achieve well. Teachers know students and modify programmes to meet their needs and interests. Warm relationships support partnerships for learning. The school is led by approachable leaders and consultative trustees. The school’s key next step is development of its self‑review processes.

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 Pius X School is a state integrated Catholic primary school situated in New Plymouth, catering for students in Years 1 to 6. Its special character is interwoven through all aspects of learning, family partnerships and pastoral care.

The school’s size, open communication and family-friendly environment contribute to warm relationships throughout. The school motto of “Knowing, Doing, Caring” is evident within the school.

The recent loss of the adjacent parish church, through fire, has impacted on the school and its community. The school is experiencing roll growth and is in the process of gaining an additional classroom and library replacement.

Since the July 2010 ERO review there has been a change of principal in 2014 and changes in board membership. All staff are regularly involved in professional learning and development, some of this with local schools. Mathematics is a current focus.

The school has a positive reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to support student learning and engagement.

School achievement information shows most students achieve at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Information is regularly reported to trustees and the community. It is analysed for trends and patterns to identify individuals and groups of students in need of additional support or extension.

Students are developing ownership of their learning. They set goals and talk about their next learning steps. They support their peers through meaningful discussions about their work. Parents receive useful information about their child's learning.

Trustees are well informed about student achievement. They use this information to guide decisionmaking in regard to the budget for learning support, resources and staffing.

Leaders put programmes in place to support and accelerate the learning of individual students and track progress. Teacher aides provide additional support in classrooms. Achievement information is used to identify areas for staff development and schoolwide improvement.

Teachers make good use of a range of tools to inform their judgements in relation to National Standards and to gain knowledge of students and their achievement. They plan appropriately for learning needs. They are beginning to use student information to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching.

ERO and the school agree the next step is to:

  • develop teachers' inquiry into the effectiveness of their practice for assisting learning, using student achievement information.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum offers a range of meaningful opportunities to promote and support student learning. There is an appropriate focus on literacy and mathematics.

The New Zealand Curriculum is the basis for the local curriculum. This offers students a wide range of learning experiences and uses local Taranaki settings. All students are supported to participate. Students have opportunities to develop confidence and to grow their leadership in a range of areas.

Students are engaged in purposeful learning. There is an appropriate focus on developing skills for learning. The school’s inquiry-focused approach, together with planning for increasing e-learning within the school, should support this. Students are supportive and respectful of others.

Teachers establish positive relationships with students and articulate high expectations for learning. They build on students’ prior knowledge and adapt their teaching to the needs of students. They manage transitions between lessons well and maximise learning time.

ERO has identified the school’s next step is to

  • develop documentation for the local curriculum to guide programme planning, capture current developments and to ensure appropriate coverage and delivery.

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

Māori students’ academic achievement is equivalent to their school peers. The school has introduced and supported te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Teachers have worked to become culturally aware. They plan to continue to strengthen this aspect of curriculum provision.

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.

Trustees understand their governance roles and responsibilities for raising student achievement. The board is aware of the need to monitor progress and the impact of interventions to improve learning.

  • The next step for trustees is to strengthen strategic and annual planning through an explicit focus on improving student outcomes.

The new principal and senior staff are improvement focused and have high expectations for student achievement. They identify staff learning needs, align professional development to these and current school priorities. These learning opportunities are well planned and informed by current research into effective practices.

School and family relationships are well established to actively support student learning. Consultation with the community is undertaken to inform decision-making.

Self-review practices are developing. A range of mechanisms is in place to review performance in areas of operation. Appraisal processes are currently being strengthened. This should ensure that teaching practice is developed further. Recent reviews of curriculum and professional development have enabled the school to develop a shared understanding of effective literacy practices.

  • Strengthening self-review practices should support ongoing 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

Most students achieve well. Teachers know students and modify programmes to meet their needs and interests. Warm relationships support partnerships for learning. The school is led by approachable leaders and consultative trustees. The school’s key next step is development of its selfreview processes.

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

3 November 2014

About the School

Location

New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

2242

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

112

Gender composition

Female 63

Male 49

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

14%

78%

5%

3%

Special Features

State Integrated Catholic School

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

3 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

June 2008

April 2005