Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch)

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School Context

Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) is a Catholic primary school for students in Years 1 to 8. The roll is 60.

The school’s vision is for students to live out their Catholic faith and achieve personal excellence by being globally aware, dynamic thinkers, self motivated, effective communicators and actively involved in the school community. Their stated values are: Serenity, Tika, Aroha and Respect (STAR).

Current strategic priorities are for the school to promote the Catholic special character, staff and student wellbeing, an inclusive learning environment, children making academic progress, and positive relationships in the community.

Leaders and teachers have not reported to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in 2018 and 2019.

Since the 2016 ERO review the school has had three changes of principal and several staff changes. A new board of trustees has been in place since the 2019 elections. The board has worked to address its fiscal shortcomings and is closely monitoring these. One decision to improve financial management was to move teaching provision from four to three multi-level classes.

Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) is a member of the Aupaki 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 unable to demonstrate how well it is supporting equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

Systems for collecting, analysing and reporting on students’ learning outcomes have not been well sustained in recent years.

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

It is unclear how successful the school has been. The outcomes of targets for accelerating students’ learning has not been reported in the past two years.

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 value being in a small school where they learn together and support one another. They indicate that their relationships with peers are friendly and positive. Senior students experience increasing opportunities to take responsibility and leadership in the school.

In classes where the new curriculum approach is being implemented students have increasing opportunities to lead their own learning and collaborate with others. This programme is responsive to students’ interests and builds engagement.

Systems and practices for better supporting students with additional learning needs are being developed. These students are also supported through useful partnerships with a range of external specialists and organisations.

Trustees and leaders are building their governance capability with external support and advice.

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

Leaders’ ability to make and sustain progress is negatively impacted by poor relationships throughout its community. The school needs to work with the community to rebuild a culture of collaboration, create a shared vision for learning and enactment of the special character, and improve communication. External support is likely to be needed to help develop the processes, roles and responsibilities required.

Systems and practices for effective operation of the school, and the planning, delivery and evaluation of the curriculum, have not been well sustained. The need for coherent curriculum guidelines must be urgently addressed to ensure the depth and breadth of the curriculum is delivered and evaluated.

Processes to support the collection, analysis and reporting on students’ learning and wellbeing outcomes, especially those students whose learning needs acceleration, require development.

Trustees and leaders must also ensure that areas of non-compliance raised in this report are acted on. All systems and practices should be consistently implemented across the learning community.

At the time of this review the board was unable to measure the effectiveness of the school in achieving valued student outcomes. Trustees need access to a range of quality student achievement data and to use this to support their understanding of what is going well or not well, and why. They should strengthen their focus on knowing how well the school is achieving equitable outcomes for all groups, including students with additional needs, so resources can be directed to improving these outcomes.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • the family-like environment where students benefit academically and socially from knowing each other well
  • its emerging learner-centred curriculum that is building students’ capability to know about themselves as learners
  • accessing external agencies to support the provision of teaching and governance.

5.1 Next steps

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

  • addressing the issues around relationships across the school community that are negatively impacting the school’s ability to make and sustain progress
  • the board achieving effective development, implementation and understanding of policies and practices to support school operations
  • leaders and teachers developing guidelines for curriculum and the use of student learning information
  • trustees’ accessing a range of quality student achievement data and evaluative information in order to direct their resourcing where it is most needed.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

1. The collection, analysis, evaluation and reporting of good quality assessment information so they can evaluate the progress and achievement of students and build a comprehensive picture of all groups of students’ learning across the curriculum.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must, on the basis of good quality assessment information:

  • maintain an on-going programme of self-review in relation to its curriculum policies, plans and programmes [NAG2(b)]
  • report to the school’s community on the progress and achievement of groups (i.e. students who are at risk of not achieving and/or progressing or who have special needs including gifted and talented students) and Māori students [NAG 1(c)], [NAG 2(d)].

2. The requirement to consult with the school community.

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

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students [NAG 1(e)]

  • adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least every two years, after consultation with the school community [Section 60B Education Act 1989].

3. The enactment of the school’s cybersafety policy and procedures to avoid inappropriate use of school resources.

In order to address this the board of trustees must ensure its policy and procedures for internet safety are understood and implemented across the school [NAG 5].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the clear and consistent implementation of Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) guidelines and risk management procedures [NAG 5].

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • community relationships and communication with all stakeholders
  • the board’s capability to make use of effective student learning information
  • addressing non-compliance matters.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

13 March 2020

About the school

Location

Sumner

Ministry of Education profile number

3544

School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

60

Gender composition

Male 31, Female 29

Ethnic composition

Māori 11
NZ European/Pākehā 36
Other ethnic groups 13

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

13 March 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2016
Education Review April 2013

1 Context

Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) is a small school that has strong links with the local Catholic parish. The special character of the school is highly evident in all aspects of daily practice and programmes.

The school provides a welcoming and inclusive environment for children and their families. Teachers know children and their families well. They foster close connections with and support from the local community.

The school is actively involved in a well-established cluster of local schools. A Ministry of Education initiative ‘Character Education’ is currently being implemented across the school to promote children’s wellbeing.

There have been changes in staff, including a new principal since the 2013 ERO review.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to live out their Catholic faith and achieve personal excellence. This is promoted by children being globally aware, dynamic thinkers, self-motivated, effective communicators and actively involved in the school community. The school fosters the values of Serenity, Tika (Justice), Aroha and Respect.

The school’s achievement information shows that Māori children are achieving well and are at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Across the school, most children achieve at or above the National Standards for literacy and mathematics. The school reports that they are above the national expectations of 85% of children at or above National Standards in reading and mathematics and are close to meeting this in writing. Achievement information over time shows the school has maintained high levels of attainment.

Teachers are undertaking professional development to support their judgements about children’s writing. Moderation practices could be improved in reading and mathematics.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has reviewed and refined the school’s curriculum. This has included increasing the ways Māori language and culture are incorporated into class programmes. The system for how teachers monitor and track children’s achievement over time has been improved. Teachers have also increased their reflective practices.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is effectively identifying and responding to children whose learning needs accelerating.

Teachers use a range of ways to assess children’s learning. They make very good use of this assessment information to identify children at risk of not achieving. Teachers work closely together to ensure they effectively identify barriers to learning. They seek early intervention for children who require additional learning support. Positive learning partnerships with parents are fostered to enhance learning outcomes for children.

The Principal and teachers work closely with external agencies to gain valuable advice and guidance. This information, on how to best assist children to progress in their learning, is shared with classroom teachers.

The board resources additional staffing to enable high levels of support for children’s learning and wellbeing. School leaders could make better use of achievement information to regularly report rates of progress to the board. School leaders could improve the usefulness of achievement reports to the board by including information about programs in place for children below National Standards, what is working and what could be further resourced.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum effectively underpins children's learning and wellbeing. The integration of the school's special character and values are key aspects of the curriculum and the school's approach to equity and excellence.

Teachers have a holistic approach to children’s learning and wellbeing. They are supporting children’s growing confidence in the use of te reo Māori, especially in support of the school’s special character.

Children benefit from many rich and interesting learning experiences. Teachers provide differentiated learning programmes to build on children’s strengths, interests and extend their learning. They support children's independence and increasing ownership of their own learning.

Children are well supported to reflect on their learning and regularly review and set new learning goals. Older children have many leadership opportunities and are well supported to understand leadership roles and responsibilities. Younger children benefit from positive interactions and help from older students.

Teachers foster high levels of parent and community involvement. They develop positive learning partnerships with parents, particularly for children with diverse learning needs.

The principal and teachers are building a reflective culture. They actively seek and use children's ideas and opinions to inform decisions and influence change. The principal provides teachers with regular and ongoing feedback about their teaching and learning practices. Professional development opportunities are supporting teachers to move towards modern learning practices and greater integration of the curriculum.

Trustees bring a range of skills to the board. The board is aware of the ongoing priorities for the school and the need to have greater involvement in setting strategic directions.

The board, school leaders and ERO agree that the key priorities for ongoing improvement are to:

  • strengthen evaluative understandings and practices
  • ensure the board have greater input into strategic planning and annual goals
  • further develop moderation guidelines and processes
  • continue to develop the school’s local curriculum so it better reflects the local community, current school practices and use of te reo Māori
  • ensure that appraisal processes are robust and fully reflect the Education Council's requirements.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

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

The principal and teachers know children well. They provide an inclusive learning environment where wellbeing and learning are nurtured. Children at risk of not achieving are very well supported. Teachers respond to children's interests and actively seek their views and opinions.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

  • provisionfor international students.

7 Recommendations

For the school to continue to improve its performance, ERO recommends that the teachers:

  • develop further moderation practices
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the assessment information that is used to report progress.

ERO also recommends that NZSTA provide support for the Board in its governance role to continue to strengthen strategic practices and directions.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu Southern

18 November 2016

About the school

Location

Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3544

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

66

Gender composition

Boys 34; Girls 32

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

European

9

46

11

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

18 November 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2013

January 2010

February 2007