Roncalli College

Roncalli College - 19/12/2016

Findings

Roncalli College places a high value on its special character and the holistic education of its students. Student wellbeing is at the centre of improvement initiatives. Teachers build positive relationships with their students and whānau. Overall student achievement in NCEA is very good. Extending the analysis of student progress should lead to greater consistency in school-wide evaluation and reporting.

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?

Roncalli College is a coeducational, Year 9 to 13 state integrated Catholic school in Timaru. It is a special character school with strongly embedded values. The holistic approach to education for the students involves academic, spiritual, cultural and sporting domains. Students demonstrate pride in their school.

The school is an active member of the South Canterbury Catholic Community of Learning. It is also part of the nationwide Marist network of schools.

The board has a balance of experienced trustees and new trustees since the 2016 elections.

Considerable changes in staff have occurred since the 2013 review, in particular, in the middle management area. The school is involved in several internal and external professional learning initiatives.

Significant progress has been made since the last review, especially in building respectful collegiality and collaborative practices. An improvement in reflecting New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, celebrating Māori culture and consulting with Māori whānau and community is also evident.

2 Learning

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

The school makes effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

Students generally achieve highly at all levels in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Senior student achievement information, over time, reflects sustained levels of student success. The percentage of leavers with NCEA Level 2 is very high and is above the government’s national target. Māori students’ achievement is at or above that of their peers within the school. The school recognises that they now need to improve the number of merit and excellence endorsements achieved at each level.

Achievement information is used well to track individual student progress. Students whose learning needs to be accelerated and students with additional learning needs are identified early and closely monitored. These students are involved in a variety of support initiatives that include:

  • peer and teacher mentoring
  • additional targeted support within and outside the classroom
  • a proactive pastoral system to meet students' wellbeing needs
  • positive partnerships with family/whānau.

The school has a deeply-held commitment to enhance student achievement through a focus on wellbeing. The strong emphasis on values and the inclusive environment enhance student learning. The effective support students receive when they transition into the school helps them to develop a sense of belonging. They very quickly learn, take ownership of and demonstrate the school values.

A useful and comprehensive reporting system to parents reflects the school’s holistic approach to student achievement.

Leaders and teachers have improved their use of years 9 and 10 achievement data. Each curriculum area now records student achievement against curriculum levels. Progress over time is recorded and analysed for most learning areas. Leaders should ensure that this progress is continued and further strengthened.

Next Steps

ERO and the school agree that a key next step is to increase engagement and achievement to develop a stronger strategic focus on teaching and learning. This includes:

  • specific measurable achievement targets
  • further development of action plans that include milestones
  • extending the cycle and scope of evaluation.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Students benefit from a comprehensive range of subjects and programmes.

The staff know their students very well. The strong sense of family and the positive and respectful student relationships among themselves and with staff make the students feel valued and safe. The staff are accessible and helpful. Older students support the younger ones.

The students are actively involved in the wider community through service initiatives. Combined with the variety of student leadership opportunities, this provides relevant contexts for personal development.

Students have extensive opportunities through a network of guidance staff to explore options for future courses and careers.

The gradual implementation of a range of digital technologies to support learning and teaching is well considered. The school’s e-learning strategy provides clear directions for ongoing development in this area.

Effective and robust evaluation of learning areas using external expertise has contributed to the major changes in staffing, leadership and school processes in the past three years. These changes have ensured the school environment is safe and supportive for students and staff.

Curriculum leaders regularly examine and reflect on how relevant and current the curriculum is for their students. Staff are beginning to include student input into decision making. This could be further developed within all aspects of curriculum evaluation.

Next steps

The principal and senior leadership team now need to ensure that the middle management team of curriculum leaders has a consistently effective approach to curriculum development and evaluation. This could include:

  • a MoE integrated approach to learning pathways across the curriculum
  • greater strengthening of students’ understanding of themselves as learners
  • a wider range of teaching strategies for the range of abilities and needs in a classroom.

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

Since the previous ERO report improvements have been made to the way Māori culture is reflected and valued in the school. Core Māori values of manaakitanga (caring) and whanaungatanga (family-like relationships) are very apparent in the school culture. Tuakana-teina (relationships of peer support) are also evident. Māori students have opportunities to show leadership and to support their peers in cultural activities. Many of these activities are student initiated and led.

The school listens to students regarding biculturalism. Curriculum leaders now need to more effectively use this information to ensure te reo and tikanga Māori is present in classroom programmes and practices across the school.

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 and senior leadership are improvement focused. They are committed to the school and its values. A shared vision for the wellbeing of students and their achievement is evident.

The school continues to develop:

  • a reflective culture
  • a whole staff approach to examining and implementing effective teaching practice
  • leadership capacity throughout the school.

A significant strength of the school is the relationships it has with its community and partnerships with local businesses. This includes:

  • an engaged and positive parent body
  • business networks that support school activities and work placements.

Significant long term planning has occurred to ensure effective management of anticipated changes to middle and senior leadership positions.

Next steps

The senior leadership team has a considered and timely approach to change management. A variety of evidence is gathered and used to inform decisions for change. The school now needs to consistently evaluate change initiatives.

The board has identified the need to rewrite its strategic plan to ensure consistency and transparency across expectations, systems and documentation. In particular, ERO recommends that this should include continued improvement of:

  • professional learning and appraisal
  • Years 9 and 10 student achievement and progress.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 23 international students attending the school, none of whom were exchange students. The school provides high quality pastoral care for international students. The students are well integrated into the school. Effective systems are in place for managing and supporting these students.

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

Roncalli College places a high value on its special character and the holistic education of its students. Student wellbeing is at the centre of improvement initiatives. Teachers build positive relationships with their students and whānau. Overall student achievement in NCEA is very good. Extending the analysis of student progress should lead to greater consistency in school-wide evaluation and reporting.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

19 December 2016

About the School

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

358

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

503

Number of international students

23

Gender composition

Female 54%; Male 46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

Other ethnicities

69%

12%

4%

6%

9%

Special Features

Catholic co-educational school

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

19 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2013

April 2010

March 2006

Roncalli College - 21/11/2013

1 Context

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

Roncalli College is a Catholic, co-educational, secondary school for students in Years 9 to 13. The school’s special character, culture and values are central to all aspects of school life.

A number of new trustees joined the board in 2013. A new senior leadership team was appointed in 2012.

Recent improvements in the school’s network are helping teachers to better integrate information technologies into students’ learning. The school hosts 30 international students.

2 Learning

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

The school is making increasing use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students mostly achieve well above the levels of those in similar schools on the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), particularly in their attainment of certificates at Levels 1, 2 and 3, University Entrance and literacy and numeracy requirements. Māori students at the school achieve at similar levels to other students.

Senior leaders have recently developed a more consistent approach for reporting the progress and achievement of individual students in Years 9 and 10. New entrant Year 9 students’ learning needs are well identified through close liaison with contributing schools and school entry assessments.

A school-wide focus on meeting the needs of individual students is a significant strength. Senior leaders and teachers closely monitor each student’s progress, achievement and wellbeing. Information is made available to the appropriate teachers. This is assisting them to affirm students’ good progress and to provide support for those who need further help.

Parents are well informed about their children’s progress and next steps through written reports provided at three-way conferences for students, their parents and teacher. This helps them to be more directly involved in their children’s learning.

Areas for review and development

Senior leaders have identified next steps to support improvements in students’ achievement at all levels. These include:

  • further analysis of achievement within curriculum areas to identify changes that need to be made to better support student achievement
  • the development of detailed action plans to show how student achievement targets developed by the board and curriculum leaders will be realised
  • further analysis of Years 9 and 10 student achievement information to show and report on the progress and achievement of groups over time.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively supports and promotes students' learning.

The school’s special character and values are strongly evident in the school’s curriculum. This is particularly reflected in the caring and supportive relationships among staff and students and between students, and the high expectations for achievement.

The curriculum is well designed to provide appropriate career pathways from Year 9 through to Year 13, particularly given the small size of the school. Senior students benefit from growing links with local industry and tertiary providers to make sure the aspirations and abilities of all students are met.

In response to an identified need, a foundation skills course for all Year 9 students has been introduced recently. It aims to develop a range of skills required in all curriculum areas if students are to experience success in the senior school.

Teachers are supported through a well-planned professional development programme. Teaching as inquiry is the current focus as it is seen as important to improving teacher practice and is a key component of teachers’ appraisal. Senior leaders are monitoring teachers’ progress and believe it is improving classroom teaching.

Areas for review and development

The next steps for curriculum development include:

  • developing a shared view of thinking and inquiry learning strategies across all curriculum areas including what high-quality teaching in these areas should look like at this school
  • developing terms of reference for the curriculum leaders group, including the group’s role in curriculum development and school-wide decision making
  • identifying how the school can better reflect New Zealand’s bicultural society in the classroom and throughout the school’s culture and environment.

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

The school’s special character provides a supportive environment for Māori students to achieve. However, senior leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that the school needs to support Māori students more to achieve as Māori.

The principal has taken steps to address this need. He has begun a strategic planning process that will identify how the school can support Māori to succeed as Māori. Māori students have been surveyed as part of this process.

A recently appointed teacher with responsibility for Māori is analysing achievement information to identify how Māori students can be supported to achieve. She has audited how well curriculum programmes reflect New Zealand’s bicultural society and is identifying ways the school can support Māori to succeed as Māori.

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. Its special character is an important component in achieving this.

The board chair brings professional expertise and governance experience to the board. There is a good balance between new and existing trustees. New trustees are involved in training to improve their understanding of governance. The principal reports to trustees against the board’s annual priorities.

The principal has established and leads an increasingly effective senior leadership team with clearly defined responsibilities. These leaders have very good understanding of the school’s strengths, and what needs to be done to support student learning and achievement.

Senior leaders are fostering an increasingly reflective culture among teachers. A recently developed three yearly curriculum area review process is carried out by senior leaders. It focuses on improving approaches to learning and teaching. Student views are an important source of evidence in these reviews.

Parents and the wider school community provide strong support and are given many opportunities to be involved in the life of the school.

Areas for review and development

The board, senior leaders and ERO have identified the next steps for development to make sure that the school can continue to sustain and improve its performance.

The board should:

  • make sure annual plans have measurable goals, expected outcomes and success indicators
  • be assured the environment continues to be supportive and safe for students and staff.

Senior leaders should:

  • support curriculum leaders to meet all of the responsibilities identified in their job descriptions, and to be accountable through a robust appraisal process
  • continue to develop and monitor appraisal processes to make sure that teachers are well supported to improve learning outcomes for students
  • develop a common process for curriculum review at all levels of the school that has a focus on what teachers will do differently to improve outcomes for students
  • ensure that planning processes are sufficiently comprehensive to enable success in attaining goals to be evaluated.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review, there were 30 long-stay international students attending the school.

International students learn in mainstream classes and are well integrated into the life of the school. The inclusive and caring culture of the school ensures that the students receive good-quality pastoral care. Their learning needs are well monitored and supported. The board receives comprehensive reports on the achievement of these students allowing them to make informed decisions to further improve the learning and achievement of the fee-paying students.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

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.

An area of non-compliance was identified during the review. The parents/whānau of Māori students have not been consulted about policies and/or procedures, plans and targets in the past two years.

  1. the board must in consultation with the school's Māori community, develop and make known to the school's community, policies and/or procedures, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students.

[National Administration Guidelines 1(5)]

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

21 November 2013

About the School

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

358

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

508

Number of international students

30

Gender composition

Girls 53%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Other ethnicities

86%

9%

1%

4%

Special Features

Catholic co-educational school

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

21 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2010

March 2006

April 2003