St Kevins College (Oamaru)

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Education institution number:
369
School type:
Secondary (Year 9-15)
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
School with Boarding Facilities
Total roll:
426
Telephone:
Address:

44A Taward Street, Oamaru

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Findings

Achievement information shows that students achieve well at St Kevin’s. They benefit from a highly responsive and thoughtfully interpreted curriculum. Teachers and leaders respond to students’ interests, needs and strengths to maintain students’ engagement in their learning throughout their schooling. The board of trustees, school leaders and teachers are committed to sustainable change and improvement to the teaching and learning environment.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

St Kevin’s College is a Catholic coeducational secondary school providing education for students from Years 9 to 13. Students come mainly from Oamaru and the surrounding rural areas. Separate boarding houses for boys and girls are a significant feature of the school’s community, with accommodation for about 100 boarders, from throughout the South Island, from the Chatham Islands, and a small number from other countries, mostly in Asia.

The Catholic special character of the school is a particular strength of this learning community. It is highly evident in the expectations for how adults are to interact with the learners and in how the learners are expected to behave and learn. Adults and students demonstrate the special character and the school’s ‘FIRE’ values of ‘Family, Integrity, Respect and Excellence’ in action well.

The school makes good use of well-resourced facilities and spacious grounds to provide multiple curriculum opportunities. These include an equestrian academy, a primary-industry trades academy, and opportunities in the media and a wide range of sports activities.

Since the last ERO review in 2013:

  • there has been an increase in the student roll
  • staffing has remained stable
  • the school has responded well to the next steps for improvement identified by ERO
  • school leaders have supported staff well to make continuous improvements for the benefit of learners.

2 Learning

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees continue to use achievement information very effectively to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Achievement information shows that:

  • most Years 9 and 10 students are achieving at or above the school’s expectations, that are based on the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), in all learning areas
  • there is very good NCEA achievement at all levels.

Areas of strength

Teachers and leaders have a useful model to make robust judgements about the progress and achievement of Years 9 and 10 students. These judgements come from the teachers’ observations and learning conversations with students, and the results of school-set and nationally-referenced assessments.

School leaders and teachers have deepened the level of analysis they carry out on achievement information to:

  • identify shifts in achievement
  • identify students requiring learning support to accelerate their progress
  • set goals and targets to maintain the school’s high levels of achievement in NCEA.

3 Curriculum

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

This school’s curriculum is well managed to effectively engage students in meaningful, relevant and personalised learning.

Areas of strength

Students benefit from a highly responsive and thoughtfully interpreted curriculum that:

  • provides individually tailored vocational and learning pathways
  • addresses specific learning needs for all students requiring additional support or extension opportunities
  • acknowledges the special place of Māori students and welcomes their positive impact on the cultural strength of the school.

The school’s teaching and learning framework (DOCERE) is valued, reflects the special character of the school, and is actively understood and implemented by teachers and students. The DOCERE framework stands for Diversity, Opportunities, Connections, Engagement, Relationships, Enquiry. The use of this framework is evident in the:

  • effective interrelationship between pastoral care and academic support
  • inclusive cultural practices in the school and the promotion of Māori success as Māori
  • focus on high quality teaching and learning
  • blended approach to learning support which includes a focus on literacy in subject areas, peer tutoring and student-advocate support
  • use of a DOCERE response matrix and other ways for students to provide feedback to teachers and senior leaders about their learning experiences.

Digital technology is effectively used for a variety of teaching, learning and home/school communication purposes.

The curriculum has been shaped and is delivered in a deliberate and purposeful way. This is informed by a useful range of learning information, teacher reflections and judgements, as well as student feedback. Teachers reflect on and evaluate the impact of their teaching and programmes on students’ learning. This process is supported by a Specialist Classroom Teacher (SCT) and connected with the teacher appraisal system.

Senior leaders and classroom teachers work collaboratively and strategically to create positive and effective learning environments.

Pacific students have opportunities to celebrate and learn through their cultures. Educationally powerful relationships with their families and communities are being successfully developed through the talanoa project.

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

The school’s concepts of DOCERE reflect the principles of the NZC, in particular those that emphasise Māori learners achieving as Māori. These concepts support staff to provide a culturally caring and responsive curriculum.

Areas of strength

There are clearly established links with the local (Moeraki) marae. Along with the school’s responsive curriculum practices, this connection continues to influence thinking and practices around:

  • the local iwi’s mātauranga document which sets out desired learning for Māori students
  • the meaningful incorporation of aspects of Māori culture into teaching and learning
  • retention and NCEA achievement levels which are good for Māori students
  • the responses to and support for Māori students whose learning requires additional support.

The school should continue its support for teachers to incorporate the intent and grow the application of the mātauranga document into teaching and learning practices.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that a previously successful strategy which involved making individual contact with whānau should be continued in order to strengthen whānau Māori -school relationships and ensure that whānau voice is actively included in school decisions.

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 of trustees, senior leadership, middle management teams, and teachers are committed to sustainable change and improvement to the teaching and learning environment. Senior leaders and staff continually seek to refine and embed effective teaching and learning practices in ways that align with the school vision and strategic direction. This is evident in the:

  • clarity of vision for, and relentless focus on, high quality teaching and learning practices within the school
  • long-term focus on embedding the school’s teaching framework (DOCERE) to support all learners
  • strong alignment between strategic goals, actions taken and subsequent reports
  • willingness to overcome barriers in enacting this vision and to maintain a strategic focus on changing and shaping learning experiences for students
  • confident management of change.

ERO has identified, and the senior leaders and trustees agree, that adding more evaluative emphasis to existing review processes (asking ‘how well’ actions are making a difference) in combination with appropriate timing for evaluations will enhance existing review practices.

Provision for international students

The Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) was introduced on 1 July 2016. The school is aware of the need to update its policies and procedures to meet the new code requirements by December 1st 2016.

The school has begun to align its policies and procedures to meet requirements for the 2016 Code.

At the time of this review, there were five international students attending the school. Staff members responsible for the pastoral care and learning of international students use suitable processes to ensure that international students are:

  • welcomed to their homestay or the hostel, and the school’s learning environment
  • supported in their learning to make good progress towards their learning goals
  • monitored to ensure their care and learning continue to meet the school’s expectations.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The St Kevin’s College Hostel Trust owns a hostel for boys and a separate facility for girls. At the time of this review, there were 50 girls and 40 boys, including two international students. This represents 20% of the school roll. The hostel owner has attested that all requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met.

Boarders experience positive relationships with each other and with hostel management and staff. Junior students are welcomed and supported by staff and senior students to adapt to hostel living. Key staff place a particular focus on supporting boarders so that their opinions and ideas are responded to and their needs well considered. The director of boarding has effective systems for monitoring and responding to the safety and wellbeing needs of boarders. These include clear and well-understood guidelines for staff and boarders, and regular communication with parents and caregivers.

Hostel managers communicate and work constructively with school leaders and staff to support boarders’ learning and participation in all aspects of school life. Hostel students benefit from well-established homework routines and access to appropriate teaching staff when needed.

Some areas of the hostels have been refurbished in recent years and Wi-Fi access has been upgraded in the girls’ hostel. The trust is taking a considered approach to planning for future improvements.

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

Achievement information shows that students achieve well at St Kevin’s. They benefit from a highly responsive and thoughtfully interpreted curriculum. Teachers and leaders respond to students’ interests, needs and strengths to maintain students’ engagement in their learning throughout their schooling. The board of trustees, school leaders and teachers are committed to sustainable change and improvement to the teaching and learning environment.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu Southern Education Review Office | Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga 

25 October 2016

About the School

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

369

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

441

Number of international students

5

Gender composition

Female: 53% Male: 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Other

10%

70%

10%

5%

5%

Special Features

Separate boys' and girls' hostels

Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

25 October 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Hostel Review

Education Review

September 2013

July 2011

August 2010



1 Context

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

The school’s special Catholic character is evident in its strong family values and in the supportive way students and adults behave and treat each other. The positive and caring relationships between students, students and adults and amongst adults underpin the positive learning experiences students have. A key feature of the school is a determination that all students will experience success and it is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that this happens.

The school is co-educational and caters for students from Years 9 to 13. The relatively small size (just over 400) means that staff know all students well and students of different ages and backgrounds support each other, especially through sports teams.

About a quarter of the students are boarders. School and hostel leaders and the hostel trust board have made significant, positive changes in the way the hostels are managed since the 2010 ERO review.

The school and hostels are set within spacious grounds and neighbour a number of the town’s key sporting facilities. This easy access to venues helps students to take part in a wide variety of sporting codes. The school has a tradition of success in public speaking, service and sporting and cultural activities.

The school values the views of parents and students in designing its programmes. Students contribute back to the community through a range of service-to-others activities.

A new principal and deputy principal have been appointed since the last ERO review. They have effectively led the teachers, leaders and the board to make significant progress in developing the school’s curriculum, refining teaching and learning programmes, and following up on other suggestions made in the 2010 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

Teachers and school leaders make effective use of achievement information. This is especially strong for literacy and mathematics learning information.

Teachers make purposeful use of achievement information to:

  • identify learning needs of individual students and groups
  • make adjustments to learning programmes to better meet the ongoing needs of students
  • meaningfully report progress and engagement to students and their parents every fortnight
  • evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching practices and programmes.

School leaders use a variety of information to identify:

  • students needing additional learning support or other interventions
  • areas going well and areas needing development within teaching faculties
  • targets to raise student achievement levels
  • school-wide and individual professional learning and development (PLD) needs.

Of particular note is the extensive knowledge teachers and school leaders have of their learners as individuals. This knowledge is used effectively to support each student to achieve success within the special character of the school.

Trustees use achievement information well to gain an overall understanding of student achievement and to inform their decisions.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum very effectively promotes and supports student learning. It has been well developed to cater for and address the range of strengths, needs and interests of the students in all areas of their development. The school has put in place a variety of initiatives to cater for the range of abilities, such as literacy support classes in Years 9 and 10, extension English classes and vocational options for Years 11 to 13. Students who spoke to ERO said they value the opportunities to work towards an apprenticeship and employment for when they leave school.

The school’s values are highly evident throughout the school. The values have recently been redefined with input from all parties.

The school’s curriculum leader and heads of faculty have useful systems to monitor the effectiveness of their learning areas and make appropriate changes to ensure student learning is being maximised. The planning shows close links to the strategic priorities of the school’s charter. A significant feature is the strong priority for all students to achieve highly in literacy and mathematics. The school aims for all students to gain their NCEA literacy and numeracy minimum requirements as early as possible. This recognises the need for students to be competent in the core skills so that they can successfully access all learning areas.

The strong partnerships between teachers, students and their parents are valuable in maintaining and improving students’ engagement and motivation in their learning. Students ERO spoke to indicated that they liked the fortnightly reporting to them and their parents because it meant teachers were looking at their progress and providing them with opportunities to talk to their teachers if they were having difficulties. Parents ERO spoke to said they appreciated early notification of concern.

Students are benefiting from good to very good teaching practices. They have positive relationships with their teachers. Learning is very student focused with most teachers making the learning purpose of each lesson clear to students. Best practice was observed when students were actively involved in the learning process. This included assessing the quality of their work, setting next steps or goals, and having input as to how the learning could occur or be shown.

Next step

School leaders and teachers need to further develop the level of involvement students have in their learning in line with their mission statement of having actively-involved learners. ERO observed examples of very good practice, where students were aware of their learning and what they had to do to make further progress. The school’s next step is to make these good practices common practice.

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

Teachers, leaders and trustees appreciate the importance of providing an environment that values the culture, identity and language of Māori. This is seen through:

  • the increased opportunities students have to hear and use te reo Māori
  • the PLD teachers have undertaken around Māori success
  • the inclusion of Māori protocols within school events
  • the gathering of opinions and aspirations of the whānau of Māori students
  • the establishing of good relationships with the local runanga.

Progress in this area is well supported by the action plan drawn up in consultation with students, their whānau, local marae members and 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 school is a ‘moving’ one where the emphasis is on boosting students’ progress and development. All staff members work together to respond to changing contexts. Staff have a clear sense of where they are going and have the will, skills and support to get there.

Relationships are characterised by mutual respect and a sense of corporate, shared responsibility where everyone has something to offer.

The culture of reflection leading to reports and improvement actions is very well established. Staff, parents and students have multiple opportunities to express their views on a wide range of school operations. Often this involves imaginative use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Monitoring practices is designed to lead to ongoing improvement.

Leadership across all levels of the school is collaborative. Senior managers take a well-considered, strategic approach in implementing changes. The focus is on charter priorities, especially those connected to fostering student achievement. The principal’s leadership style empowers staff and students. He is well informed, active and visionary in approach. He lives the school vision and models service to the school’s community.

Next Step

The principal, senior managers and ERO agree that extending review and reporting practices is a useful next step. This could include tightly defining focus questions for the review, ensuring the focus remains on evaluative judgements, and defining and reporting on accelerated student progress, especially in Years 9 and 10.

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 10 international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

The majority of the international students live in the school hostel. Extensive hostel and school systems ensure that the students receive good-quality pastoral care. They are well integrated into school and community activities. Students needing support with English are well looked after. The academic progress and achievement of all international students is closely monitored through the school systems.

The newly appointed assistant principal has global responsibility for the progress and achievement of international students across all learning areas and age levels. This should help assure the school that the overall progress of international students is not overlooked in the larger school-wide monitoring systems.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostels, St Kevin’s College Boys’ Hostel and St Kevin’s College Girls’ Hostel, currently accommodate a total of 94 students, 23% of the school roll. They are owned by the St Kevin’s College Hostel Trust.

A separate ERO review of the hostel was carried out in July 2011. The strengths and developments indicated in the 2011 report have continued. Hostel managers carried out a detailed audit of all aspects of the hostels’ operation late in 2011. A comprehensive action plan was developed and implemented during 2012. A review of each area of the plan is currently being worked through in a sensible, systematic way to ensure that desired objectives have been or are being met.

The school’s approach is to integrate school and hostels as much as possible to create a boarding school environment, rather than a school with separate attached hostels. In this way, students benefit from:

  • the overall approach to develop them as ‘rounded citizens’
  • the integrated systems to guide behaviour and support students in need
  • open access to school facilities outside classroom time, for example library, sport, computers
  • the close liaison between teachers and hostel staff, many of whom are also teachers
  • the effectiveness of systems to respond to their ideas and views.

Hostel systems are well managed. Increasing use is being made of ICT to streamline operations, link with parents and enable students to have their opinions heard. Self review, including independent external review, is a strength of the hostel management.

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

13 September 2013

About the School

Location

Oamaru

Ministry of Education profile number

369

School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll

413

Number of international students

10

Gender composition

Female: 59%

Male: 41%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Asian

Pacific

Māori

Other

80%

10%

6%

3%

1%

Special Features

Separate boys' and girls' hostels

Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

13 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Hostel Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2011

August 2010

May 2007