St Patrick's School (Greymouth)

St Patrick's School (Greymouth) - 23/05/2019

School Context

St Patrick’s School, is a state integrated Catholic school in Greymouth for students in Years 1 to 8. The school roll is 154 students, many whom come from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The school’s vision is for students to: ‘be inspired to live and share the Catholic faith; to reach their full potential; embrace integrity; respect themselves and others; become lifelong learners and fully integrated members of the community.’ The motto is: ‘Faith, Good Works and Striving for Excellence.’

Valued outcomes for students are to: ‘aspire through Faith and Excellence to be just, resilient, enterprising, skilled communicators and team players.’

Key strategic goals for school leaders and teachers are to provide a Christ-centred learning environment; ensure an inclusive school; foster wider community collaboration; and provide a safe, inclusive supportive environment for all.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics, and all learning programmes
  • wellbeing, special character and the school’s virtues.

Since the 2015 ERO review, there have been some changes in staffing. The board is currently preparing for the appointment of a new principal. The school is actively involved in the Toki Pounamu cluster group, ensuring all students have access to the wider curriculum through digital technology.

The school is a member of the Māwhera Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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 effectively achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for the majority of its students in literacy, mathematics and wellbeing.

School information shows that in 2018, most students, including Māori, achieved or exceeded curriculum expectations in reading. The majority of these students achieved or exceeded curriculum expectations in writing and mathematics.

There is some disparity in writing achievement for boys, with girls achieving significantly higher. There is also some disparity for Māori students in mathematics in relation to the school’s expectations.

All children are well supported and benefit from programmes of learning that develop their understanding of the school’s values, virtues and The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies.

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

The school effectively identifies and closely monitors the Māori and other students who need to have their learning accelerated. These students are well supported to make progress in their learning. However, the overall picture of accelerated progress for targeted groups of students is not yet clearly reported.

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?

The school’s inclusive and welcoming culture fosters positive relationships. The Catholic special character, values and virtues are well embedded and are central to the wider school’s identity and promote equity and excellence. There is a strong focus on the wellbeing of children, families and staff. Meaningful partnerships and connections are valued and fostered within and beyond the school.

Students experience a broad range of learning opportunities within and beyond the school. Good use of local expertise and resources support meaningful teaching and learning activities. Leaders and teachers regularly reflect on learning programmes and make appropriate changes to meet the needs and interests of learners.

Teachers know children well and support a strong sense of belonging and connection with the school and parish. Children’s specific learning needs are clearly identified and closely monitored. Targeted programmes and in-class support enhance children’s learning, progress and achievement.

Senior students have a range of leadership opportunities that contribute to their learning and support wellbeing across the school. The close link and ongoing partnership with the Catholic high school contribute to well-managed transitions for senior students.

Teachers benefit from long-standing collaborations within the school and with other education providers to build their capacity and teaching practices. They regularly participate in targeted professional learning opportunities that relate specifically to the school’s annual priorities. There are clear expectations for teachers that guide the enactment of the curriculum and assessment. Good use is made of teachers’ strengths and expertise to support teaching and learning.

The board is well informed about all aspects of school operations, including student progress, achievement and wellbeing, through regular, detailed reports. Strategic provision of resourcing to support teaching and learning is responsive to the identified strengths, needs and interests of students and staff.

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

School leaders and teachers need to further analyse schoolwide information to:

  • report on the sufficiency of progress for those students who are at risk of not achieving at expected levels

  • know more about the impact of initiatives and programmes

  • identify specific targeted teaching strategies to support improved learning outcomes

  • know about the effectiveness of teaching strategies that support equity and excellence in learning.

School leaders have identified that they need to further develop aspects of the localised curriculum to better reflect New Zealand’s bicultural heritage and identity.

The appraisal process needs to be refined and strengthened to ensure that the requirements of the Teaching Council are made clear.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of St Patrick’s School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • prioritising and promoting the school’s values, virtues and special character
  • the positive and inclusive school culture that builds a sense of belonging and wellbeing for students
  • the collaborative and supportive links within and beyond the wider school community.

Next steps

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

  • analysing schoolwide information to improve outcomes for students
  • incorporating bicultural perspectives into the wider localised curriculum
  • clarifying the appraisal process to ensure the school meets all requirements of the Teaching Council.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Southern Region

23 May 2019

About the school

Location

Greymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

3538

School type

State Integrated Catholic Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

154

Gender composition

Girls 52%, Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%

NZ European/Pākehā 57%

Asian 12%

Pacific 5%

Other ethnicities 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

23 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2015
Education Review February 2011
Education Review March 2010

St Patrick's School (Greymouth) - 01/10/2015

Findings

Significant school improvement has occurred over the last four years. The school’s curriculum is successfully promoting student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Students learn in a positive, inclusive, family-like environment. The school is very well led and managed. A strong sense of partnership exists between the board, leaders and staff. Its special character is clearly evident in the day-to-day life of 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 Patrick’s School (Greymouth) is an integrated, co-educational Roman Catholic primary school. Its special character is clearly reflected in the school’s curriculum and inclusive practices.

The school is located on the same site as John Paul II High School. One board governs both schools. The positive relationship between the primary and the high school supports the smooth transition of students to their secondary education.

There have been some changes in leadership and teaching staff since the school’s 2012 ERO review. These staff have brought a range of ideas that have helped extend learning opportunities for students.

The school has good links with other local schools. These links help to extend learning opportunities for students and also for staff through shared professional development.

Since the June 2012 ERO review, the board, leaders and teachers have successfully retained and built on the strengths evident at that time. They have made good progress towards addressing the identified area for improvement.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of achievement information to promote learners' engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers and school leaders gather an appropriate range of reliable student achievement information. They use assessment results to make well-informed judgements about student progress and achievement against the National Standards.

Leaders and teachers also make effective use of achievement information to:

  • provide good feedback to students and parents, about progress and next learning steps
  • adjust teaching programmes, practices and groupings and to provide additional support for students at risk of not achieving success
  • analyse and report achievement patterns and trends to the board in literacy and mathematics, and to consider implications for professional development and resourcing
  • establish useful targets and plans for raising student achievement, monitor student progress and support them to achieve these goals.

These effective practices have contributed to improved student achievement over time and are supporting the school’s strong commitment to continue to improve learning and teaching programmes.

The additional learning support provided to students, including English language learners, is well targeted, organised and taught. Leaders and teachers make good use of external support to assist both students and teachers.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning well, and in some instances very well. The effectiveness of the school’s curriculum in promoting student achievement is most evident in literacy and mathematics. Approximately eighty percent of students achieve at or above the National Standards.

Improvements in student achievement levels over time are most evident in writing and mathematics. Individual students and school teams have attained some very good sporting successes.

The school’s teaching programmes provide students with good opportunities to achieve success across key areas of the curriculum, including religious education. Programmes are well planned and engage students through responding to their interests and linking learning experiences to their everyday lives. Students are well motivated, confident learners.

Teachers make consistent use of a range of strategies that are known to foster student progress and achievement. These include:

  • having high expectations, making the purpose of learning clear to students
  • adapting programmes and providing support in ways that take into account students' identified strengths and needs
  • promoting student self-management skills and independence
  • opportunities to use digital technologies to support their learning, particularly in Years 5 to 8
  • using practices such as good quality questioning to foster students' problem-solving skills and extend their learning and thinking.

Students learn in a positive family-like school environment. The active promotion of the school’s values help to foster respectful and caring relationships, cooperative learning and students' sense of wellbeing. Teachers regularly affirm student effort and success. This environment helps to maximise the time students spend focused on their learning.

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

Leaders and teachers are supporting Māori students in ways that promote their progress. They are achieving slightly better than their peers in literacy and mathematics. A growing focus on integrating te reo and tikanga Māori within the school’s curriculum is helping to affirm their cultural backgrounds. Collaboratively-developed school plans to further foster Māori success provide a good basis for ongoing development.

Areas for review and development

ERO agrees with the priorities the board and school leaders have established for improving teaching and learning. These include further raising student achievement and building on recent initiatives in areas such as:

  • continuing to extend the range of teaching practices used to foster student progress
  • implementing new plans for promoting Māori and Pacific student success
  • further fostering partnerships with parents.

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. A strong sense of partnership exists between the board, school leaders and staff. They actively work towards achieving the school’s collaboratively-developed vision, values, goals and priorities. The work of trustees, leaders and teachers is underpinned by a strong focus on raising student achievement and promoting excellence.

The school is very well led and managed. School leaders have developed the structures, culture and practices that successfully support the day-to-day work of the school and promote ongoing improvement. They have high expectations and successfully foster teamwork and collaboration. Critical reflection, well-targeted professional development, appraisals and ongoing self review support improvements to teaching and learning.

The board performs its stewardship role well. Its practices actively support students and staff. Review and reporting practices help provide trustees with much of the information they need to make well-informed decisions. The board has good systems in place to meet its obligations and is responsive to requests linked to raising student achievement.

A good sense of partnership exists between the school and the parent and parish community.

Area for review and development

The board and school leaders should consider further ways of increasing the scope and robustness of some evaluations. For example, curriculum reviews should:

  • focus more on evaluating factors that are, or may be, helping or hindering student achievement
  • incorporate a wider range of information on which to base judgements and to determine future actions.

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

Significant school improvement has occurred over the last four years. The school’s curriculum is successfully promoting student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Students learn in a positive, inclusive, family-like environment. The school is very well led and managed. A strong sense of partnership exists between the board, leaders and staff. Its special character is clearly evident in the day-to-day life of the school.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

1 October 2015

About the School

Location

Greymouth

Ministry of Education profile number

3538

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

107

Gender composition

Girls 52%;

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Maori

Tongan

Other Pacific

Asian

70%

13%

6%

2%

9%

Special Features

Integrated Roman Catholic School

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

1 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2012

February 2011

March 2010