Sacred Heart Cathedral School

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Education institution number:
2985
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
191
Telephone:
Address:

Guilford Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington

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School Context

Sacred Heart Cathedral School is situated in Thorndon, Wellington for students in Years 1 to 8. Ten percent of students are Māori, thirteen percent are Samoan and twenty four percent are Filipino. Six percent of students are learning English as second language learners.

A new principal was appointed in May 2016.

The school’s mission is ‘To educate our children within a Catholic environment to achieve their full spiritual, academic and personal potential’. The school’s values are: ‘excellence, innovation, inquiry, curiosity, diversity, equity, community and participation, ecological sustainability, integrity and respect’.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics

  • wellbeing

  • curriculum programmes and initiatives.

In 2017 and 2018, professional learning and development of staff has been focused on literacy, digital technology, mathematics and culturally responsive practice. External expertise has supported these initiatives.

The school is a member of the Wellington Catholic Kāhui Ako. The principal co-shares the lead role of this community.

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?

Achievement data from 2016 to 2018 shows that most students at Sacred Heart Cathedral School are achieving at and above The New Zealand Curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. This data shows disparity for boys in writing over this time.

The percentage of Pacific students achieving at and above expectations has increased since 2017 in reading, writing and mathematics. The percentages are lower than for Pākehā students in mathematics.

Māori student achievement at the end of 2018 is similar to Pākehā students in reading and writing.

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

There is evidence of target students making accelerated progress during 2018 in reading and mathematics. In reading, many students achieving below expectations at the start of the year made accelerated progress. In mathematics, approximately half of target students made accelerated progress during the year.

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?

Students have many meaningful opportunities to lead, participate and celebrate success across the curriculum. This includes sporting, cultural, artistic, leadership and service activities. There is a schoolwide focus on students knowing the purpose of their learning. High levels of student engagement are evident. Students speak confidently, are proud of their school and demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. Relationships are respectful and interactions are inclusive and positive.

The curriculum framework is clearly underpinned by the Catholic charism and is closely aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum. The curriculum principles have been unpacked to promote a shared understanding of what is important for children and teachers, along with the school values. The local environment is well used for authentic, place-based learning experiences.

Leaders and teachers know the children well. Student achievement is tracked and the board of trustees receives predictive and summative reports. Teachers make good use of nationally-normed assessment tools to identify students’ next learning steps. Clearly documented assessment guidelines promote consistent practice and high expectations for the learning and success of all students. Leaders have identified that while they moderate assessment judgements informally, making this process more formal in the future is a next step.

Teachers inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching and use deliberate teaching strategies to accelerate student progress. The revised appraisal process, introduced in 2017, is comprehensive and focused on continuing to improve teaching and learning. It is clearly linked to the Standards for the Teaching Profession.

Clear plans have been developed to promote Māori success as Māori. Teachers are reflecting on their skills and working to increase their cultural capability.

The bicultural curriculum is promoted in a range of ways, including kapa haka and school visits to the local marae. Tuakana teina relationships between students are well established.

A well-considered Pasifika Plan documents a strong focus on Pacific students’ presence, engagement and achievement. Establishing and maintaining respectful relationships that enhance the learning and wellbeing of Pacific learners is a clear expectation.

Students with complex needs are supported through individual education programmes, appropriately developed with families and external agencies. There is a specific programme which effectively supports students who are English language learners.

Leaders promote an orderly and supportive environment that is conducive to student learning and wellbeing. Organisational structures, processes and practices encourage and support collaborative activity with an ongoing focus on teaching and learning. The principal, other leaders and trustees build strong educationally-focused relationships with other educational and community institutions and organisations to increase opportunities for student learning and success.

Trustees and leaders drive the clear vision for school direction and continual improvement. Strategic and annual planning, professional learning and development, appraisal and resourcing are well aligned to promote improved outcomes for students. Trustees bring a wide range of skills and knowledge to their stewardship role.

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

Leaders have identified, and ERO’s evaluation supports, that teachers should continue to:

  • build on current practice in developing learning partnerships with all parents, whānau and aiga
  • promote student choice, agency and knowledge of their learning to increase the consistency of this practice across all classrooms.

Internal evaluation requires further development. Patterns of achievement and outcomes for groups and cohorts of students are recognised and appropriately shared. It is important to use a collaborative sense-making approach to more effectively evaluate this data. This should assist in identifying if a pattern exists, what has worked and where to next. Clearly identifying indicators of expected outcomes at the planning stage should assist with the regular evaluation and reporting of progress and the effectiveness of initiatives.

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:

  • a well-developed curriculum that provides students with authentic learning experiences

  • a clear vision for school direction and continual improvement that emphasises positive outcomes for students

  • organisational structures processes and practices that promote student learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • teachers continuing to promote student choice, agency and knowledge of their learning

  • leaders, teachers and trustees strengthening internal evaluation to better determine the impact and effectiveness of programmes and initiatives on outcomes for students.

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.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Southern Region

30 January 2019

About the school

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2985

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

238

Gender composition

Girls 51%, Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 10%
Pākehā 30%
Filipino 24%
Samoan 13%
Other Asian 11%
Other Pacific 6%
Other ethnic groups 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

30 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016
Education Review October 2012
Education Review August 2009

Findings

Students achieve well, within a special character culture of care and support. Student achievement is well tracked and monitored. The board has a clear focus on building staff capability to respond to learners at risk of not achieving well and strengthening learning partnerships with their increasingly diverse community.

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?

Sacred Heart Cathedral School is Catholic and state integrated. Year 1 to 8 students attend the school from across Wellington. They learn in newly modernised classrooms, close to inner city Wellington, alongside the Sacred Heart Cathedral. This multicultural school is increasingly diverse, with 5% Māori, 19% Pacific and 31% Asian.

The school’s special character and vision are embedded within the curriculum through the values and virtues programmes.

2 Learning

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

Teachers collect a useful range of student achievement data in reading, writing and mathematics. This is used to determine students’ learning needs and identify those at risk of not achieving in relation to National Standards. Clear guiding documents and assessment moderation processes for making overall teacher judgements help support credibility of achievement data.

The board sets targets to improve the number of students achieving at or above in relation to National Standards. The percentage of students achieving well in reading and mathematics is approaching the Ministry of Education’s goal of 85%. Māori learners are achieving well. Raising achievement in writing remains a priority for the school, as does the achievement of Pacific students.

A range of initiatives and strategies is in place to support targeted groups of students. As a result, some students progressed at a faster yearly rate than expected over the course of 2014 and 2015. The board receives a summary report at the end of each year about the numbers of students who accelerated their progress. A next step is to consider evaluating more fully what has been successful for accelerating the progress of these students and transferring this practice schoolwide.

Individual achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is well tracked from year to year. This should assist school leaders to create annual benchmarks for students whose achievement needs accelerating over their time at school.

Comprehensive planning for students with high and special educational needs is complemented by careful monitoring of their progress over time.

3 Curriculum

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

A well-established culture of care and support is linked to the school’s special character and virtues programme. Students learn in cooperative and settled classrooms where their wellbeing and sense of belonging are prioritised.

A review of mathematics and English programmes has led to shared expectations and clear guidelines for teaching. This review has been a vehicle for collaborative learning and understanding of students’ achievement from Years 1 to 8. The development has used external expertise with strong links to research-based evidence for effective practice.

A considered approach has been taken to developing a school-based model of inquiry learning. This initiative promotes more student-led learning and encourages staff to innovate, take risks and explore new ways of teaching. Teachers are developing their skills to integrate digital technology into learning programmes. There is an increasing awareness of the need to support students’ skill development for successful inquiry.

Pacific and Filipino students have opportunities to show leadership and share aspects of their languages and cultures within the curriculum. Considering ways to have the curriculum more reflective of the diverse range of language and cultural experiences that students bring to their learning, is an important next step.

Transition into school and on to further education is a well-considered and thorough process.

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

A positive school culture, focused on care, support and relationship promotes student and whānau engagement. Whānau aspirations, shared in consultation forums, are responded to in the board’s strategic intentions.

A recently reviewed school action plan and a priority learner document clearly outlines intended schoolwide and classroom activities to support Māori learners’ success. There is an expectation that teachers will adapt programmes to include:

  • aspects of Māori culture
  • authentic and relevant contexts for learning
  • opportunities for collaborative learning and tuakana teina approaches
  • the use of te reo Māori and resources to affirm language, identity and culture.

Māori learners experience a curriculum which sometimes features these aspects of practice.

Some internal professional development is supporting schoolwide use of te reo Māori in liturgy, and providing opportunities for Māori students to show leadership.

The next step is to evaluate and identify the extent to which good practice within the school is building teacher capability in a purposeful and systematic way.

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.

The board is increasingly representative of the school community. Trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to their roles, accessing regular training and using external providers as appropriate. They have a clear focus on growing staff capability through resourcing professional development. They are purposefully increasing their visibility in the school community and strengthening partnerships with their Māori and Pacific communities.

Leaders model and communicate clear and consistent expectations that support teaching and learning. They promote collaboration and partnership to enhance learning opportunities, student achievement and wellbeing. There is a focus on increasing teachers' leadership skills.

Staff are developing their ability to inquire into the effectiveness of their teaching practice for students. In 2014, teachers began a schoolwide inquiry into spelling programmes. They met regularly to discuss strategies, challenge ideas and beliefs, learn together and examine student achievement data for positive shifts. Teachers benefit from collaborative inquiry and knowledge-building activities. This provides a good platform for individual inquiries.

A next step for school leaders is to consider systems and structures to scaffold and monitor teachers' reflective practice. The process should be improved by closer alignment to schoolwide targets. More robust appraisal practices that include constructive feedback about teaching practice should further support raising teacher capability.

The school has developed a useful process for systematic self review. This usually involves collecting a range of evidence from different sources and results in recommendations for development. The next step is to use an evaluative framework that asks questions leading to the investigation of effectiveness and a clearer focus on student outcomes rather than actions taken.

The board and principal actively seek the perspectives and aspirations of parents, families and whānau and students. They use this feedback to help set strategic direction and to decide goals and priorities. Trustees provide information to the community about consultation outcomes and how the board is responding to the ideas shared.

Parents receive a good range of information about school events, student achievement and progress. They are actively involved in special character events and curriculum programmes. The school uses helpful strategies to supports parents to help their children's learning at home.

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

Students achieve well, within a special character culture of care and support. Student achievement is well tracked and monitored. The board has a clear focus on building staff capability to respond to learners at risk of not achieving well and strengthening learning partnerships with their increasingly diverse community.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 February 2016

School Statistics

Location

Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number

2985

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

228

Gender composition

Female 51%, Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnic groups

5%

43%

19%

31%

2%

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

2 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

August 2009

June 2006