St Patrick's School (Kaiapoi)

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School Context

St Patrick’s School (Kaiapoi) is a special-character, state integrated school for children in Years 1 to 8. The current roll is 102.

The school’s vision is to empower children to reflect the school’s values to be caring, cooperative and called to others. The valued outcomes are for children to be ‘confident, self-managing and inquiring learners’. The school’s strategic direction for 2018 uses ‘connections’ as a theme and includes developing community, global, learning, and Catholic connections. The 2018 achievement targets are in literacy and self-management.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • Catholic character.

The school is a member of the Katote Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL).

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 making progress towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for students.

The school’s information shows that most children are achieving at or above expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. This pattern has been consistent for the period 2015 to 2017.

The school’s data shows that most students in Years 4 to 8 have a good understanding of specific aspects of the school’s religious curriculum.

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

School leaders and teachers are not currently analysing and reporting how effectively they are accelerating learning for students who need this.

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?

School leaders and teachers have a deliberate focus on caring and respectful relationships. Teachers know children well and actively listen to their views. The school has a strategic focus on strengthening connections with whānau and the wider community. A number of communication strategies are used to develop these connections and involve parents in children’s learning.

The school’s curriculum is well designed and provides useful guidelines and clear expectations for teachers. Differentiated learning is encouraged to support and extend learning. Student feedback contributes to the content of the enacted curriculum. Students have opportunities to select from a broad range of learning opportunities through the school’s ‘Lively Learning’ programme. This programme actively involves parents and community members in working with students to share knowledge and skills.

The school values are evident in the everyday operations of the school. They are well known, understood and used. Teachers promote self-management and confidence in students. There is a particular focus on providing leadership opportunities for students in Years 7 and 8 (Kaitiaki programme). These opportunities include supporting students to work in teams and to develop the school’s core values.

Students with additional learning needs are welcomed into the school. The school has a holistic and inclusive approach to supporting these students. Leaders and teachers work collegially to share ideas and explore ways to overcome barriers to learning. The school engages with external agencies as part of their approach to supporting students to engage fully in school experiences.

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

School leaders need to evaluate assessment practices to ensure that they are meeting the needs of students, and providing quality information about progress and achievement. Assessment information should be analysed to identify if target students are making sufficient progress. This analysed information should be regularly shared with the board so that they are aware of the impact of resourcing and interventions on the progress of targeted children. This will enable the board to make informed decisions based on those interventions that are making the most difference for children.

Leaders need to extend their knowledge and understanding of effective internal evaluation. They also need to provide professional support for teachers so that they can fully implement internal evaluation for improvement. There is a need to shift from descriptive detail to more evaluative thinking in class reviews, appraisal reflections and teacher inquiries. To develop effective internal evaluation practices school leaders need to:

  • develop a process for internal evaluation linked to school improvement, and share this with teachers

  • prioritise internal evaluations linked to strategic goals

  • use data to inform internal evaluations

  • strengthen appraisal by including feedback on at least two formal, planned observations per year as evidence for teacher appraisal.

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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the code for international students but does not currently have any international students and is not actively seeking to recruit them. The school has provided relevant compliance documentation to NZQA.

Appraisal audit

The appraisal process for teachers does not meet Education Council expectations regarding observations of teaching practices.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to voluntary school donations.

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

  1. Make it clear in a written statement to parents of students that they may be asked for a voluntary donation towards general school activities but they do not have to pay this.
    [MOE Circular 2018/01 and Board Assurance Statement Page 29 #2]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To continue to improve current practice, the board of trustees should review how well the school’s complaints procedures are documented and used.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leaders and teachers who promote a caring, positive culture for learning

  • a rich and broad curriculum which provides a good range of opportunities for learning and clearly promotes the school’s vision and values.

Next steps

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

  • evaluating and refining assessment practices so that they are efficient, effective and maximise benefits for learners

  • improving knowledge of internal evaluation and evaluative practices to ensure that the board, leaders and teachers identify processes and practices that have the most impact in accelerating learning and promoting positive outcomes for children.

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 & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

21 September 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Years 1-8 State integrated Catholic school

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51 : Girls 51

Ethnic compositions

Māori 11%

Pākeha 81%

Pacific 2%

Asian 6%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

21 September 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: June 2014

Education Review: February 2010

1 Context

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

St Patrick’s School is a coeducational Catholic school for Years 1 to 8 students. The school’s well-established history and longstanding traditions related to the Mission Sisters founding order continue to provide an important foundation for education at the school. Christian values are actively shared and promoted across the school and community.

Strong support from the local parish and PTA contributes significantly to the school’s positive culture and improved resources and facilities. They also provide a wide range of pastoral care and support for families.

As a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, the school has experienced some roll decline since the February 2010 ERO review. During that time there have also been some changes in staff.

The school has made very good progress addressing the recommendations in the 2010 ERO report in regard to appraisal, programme evaluations and the teaching of reading.

The school’s active involvement in building stronger links and a greater sense of partnership with local schools and early childhood centres in Kaiapoi is benefiting children, staff and leaders.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers make effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. This is particularly evident in the ways:

  • leaders and teachers share literacy and numeracy information with the board and set annual targets for improving student progress and achievement
  • teachers modify programmes and adjust groupings in response to students’ emerging learning strengths and needs
  • teachers evaluate the effectiveness of learning programmes.

The school carefully monitors and provides an appropriate variety of additional support for students with the greatest learning needs. Students with particular strengths and abilities also benefit from a good range of activities, including high quality broadcasting and creative writing programmes, that extend their talents and provide stimulating challenges.

The varied range of strategies teachers use for reporting to parents is helping to build positive learning partnerships and keep parents well informed about their children’s progress.

School achievement information against the National Standards in 2013 reflects ongoing and positive trends in improvement across the school over the last three years. Achievement is highest in reading where most students are achieving above the National Standards. Progress over time is most evident in written language.

Next steps

Extending the analysis and reporting about overall student achievement should further improve practices in this area. This should include:

  • providing more information about the progress groups of students make over their time at the school
  • reporting to the board beyond literacy, numeracy and special character.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum successfully promotes and supports student learning.

The school’s collaboratively-designed and updated curriculum provides students with a well-balanced range of learning opportunities. It is strongly linked to the school’s special character and effectively integrates the values and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. Curriculum guidelines give suitable emphasis to clarifying expectations in regard to teaching and learning.

In classrooms, students clearly benefit from:

  • well-planned programmes, focused teaching and reflective teaching practices
  • the support they receive to take increasing responsibility for their learning and their understanding of themselves as learners
  • the integrated use of information and communication technologies to motivate students and enhance their learning.

Senior students benefit from more opportunities to develop their leadership skills, especially in regard to supporting younger students.

Teachers provide positive, attractive and supportive learning environments for students. Relationships between teachers and students, and among students, strongly reflect the school’s values of caring, co-operation and support for others. Student’s wellbeing is actively promoted and supported across the school, community and parish.

Areas for review and development

Leaders and teachers should:

  • continue to extend the use of teaching strategies that build self management, independence and confidence in students
  • consider further ways of reflecting the school’s unique characteristics of their students and community in the school’s curriculum.

Leaders and teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that the e-learning strategic plan needs further development and that it is now time for a review of the school’s use of inquiry teaching and learning practices.

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

The school is making good progress in promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori. Kapa haka is enthusiastically supported by students and has an increasingly higher profile. Overall, Māori students achieve well. The school’s religious education programme is used effectively to integrate biculturalism into the curriculum.

Area for review and development

Leaders and teachers have identified that their next step is to further integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in classroom programmes and practices.

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.

The board uses a collaborative process for establishing clear strategic priorities that help the school community to work together towards common goals. The principal provides useful information to inform board decision making, target setting and resourcing.

The principal and other leaders model and provide improvement-focused leadership. This includes:

  • accessing well-targeted professional development that has led to improvements in teaching and learning, particularly in literacy
  • introducing a more rigorous appraisal system for both themselves and teachers to help further raise the quality of leadership and teaching
  • fostering a positive school culture that promotes collaboration and collegial support, including good guidance and support for beginning teachers.
Areas for review and development

The board and school leaders should now ensure that their planned developments result in further improvements to board and curriculum self review. This should include:

  • the board reviewing its own effectiveness
  • further refinement of self review processes
  • more targeted use of students’ views and opinions.

There is also scope to rationalise some elements of planning and evaluation at the school by making clearer links between various documents and practices.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

6 June 2014

About the School


Kaiapoi, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other Ethnicities




Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

6 June 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

December 2006

April 2004