St Peter's College (Gore)

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Findings

St Peter’s College values commitment to learning, compassion for others, and a sense of community. The school’s Catholic character is strongly evident in the culture of care, respect and inclusive relationships for the benefit of learners. Students learn in settled, purposeful environments. They achieve well. School leaders have effectively supported staff to improve teaching and learning.

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 Peter’s College is an integrated, Catholic, coeducational secondary school for students from Year 7 to 13. The school is part of the Eastern Southland Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning with a group of other local schools.

Students participate in a wide range of sporting and cultural pursuits, as well as giving service to the school and community. The school focuses on the Gospel values of commitment, compassion and community.

A significant feature of the school is the on-site hostel, Rosmini House. The school’s special character is highly evident in the school and the hostel. This contributes effectively to a respectful, caring and inclusive school culture.

Since the last ERO review, a new principal has been appointed. Other members of the senior leadership team are also new. The school has responded well to the recommendations for improvement in the 2013 ERO report. School leaders have embedded initiatives that had been in their early stages and introduced other new approaches to improve outcomes for learners.

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’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Steady improvement in achievement against the National Standards has been made for Years 7 and 8 students. In 2016, about 80% of students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading and writing. Mathematics achievement was slightly lower. The school is aware of significant disparity in boys’ achievement in reading and writing. Teachers are focused on accelerating the progress of these learners.

Year 7 and 8 teachers use a wide range of assessment information to inform their teaching and to make judgements about students’ progress and achievement.

School-wide achievement and progress information for Years 9 and 10 reported to the board is limited in scope. The school has identified the need to develop learning progressions for Year 9 and 10 and improve reporting to the board on these students’ achievement and progress.

NCEA results have steadily improved over the last three years. Results in 2016 for NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3 were very high. Senior students have good access to information about their progress towards their senior-school qualifications.

The school has very effective systems to identify, support and monitor students at risk with their learning. This includes strategic planning and detailed action planning to achieve these strategic aims. Students benefit from well-embedded systems and structures to ensure that each learner needing support gets the appropriate help. Teachers ensure there is very good communication about learners’ needs and strengths, and how best the combined efforts of staff can best support these students.

Key staff carefully monitor each student’s attitude, engagement and achievement with learning. As a result, students benefit from timely support and parents are quickly informed if there are concerns.

The next steps for school leaders are to:

  • ensure student achievement targets focus on those students who need to make accelerated progress
  • more clearly show rates of progress made by students and groups of students
  • evaluate how well school actions have contributed to improved achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

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

The school’s Catholic character is highly evident in the culture of care that underpins the strong pastoral support system. There are positive relationships among students and between students and staff. Trustees, leaders and staff have created a culture of learning based on manaakitanga/respect and caring, whanaungatanga/inclusion and relationships, and mahi tahi/working effectively together.

Students learn in settled environments and are focused on their learning. They feel well supported to achieve their personal goals, and appreciate the useful feedback from teachers about how to improve.

Teachers are supported by well-developed guidelines for teaching and learning, and thoughtfully adapt teaching and learning programmes to best meet their students’ needs. Significant changes have been made to teaching and learning for Year 7 and 8 students. The new homeroom approach, with better integration of learning across curriculum areas, is having a positive impact on students’ learning and engagement. 

Senior students benefit from personalised learning pathways, designed around their needs and aspirations beyond school. Out-of-school learning and work-experience opportunities are made possible through the strong links teachers have established with the local community and tertiary providers. Students are provided with useful information about the options they can pursue after leaving school. Teachers work effectively with students and their families and whānau to help learners take a well-planned pathway through the senior school and to make appropriate choices about their transition beyond school. The school is well informed about the success of students who have left school.

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

The school effectively promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Māori students feel well supported in their learning and their culture is increasingly valued by the school. They see their school as being inclusive and offering a range of contexts where they can experience success and stand proud as Māori. They appreciate the links that the school has developed with their whānau and local runanga.

Overall, Māori students achieve well. Most senior Māori students stay into the senior school and their NCEA achievement is generally high. Most make a successful transition into employment, further training or study when they leave school.

Trustees, school leaders and teachers show a strong commitment to supporting Māori students to achieve well and feel valued. Māori students' progress, achievement and wellbeing are closely monitored and responded to.

The next step for the school is to continue to build teachers’ understanding and use of culturally responsive teaching practices.

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.

Leadership in the school has taken a well-considered approach to managing change to be able to achieve the school’s vision for teaching and learning. Staff members are responding well to the challenge presented by these expectations for improvement in the quality and consistency of teaching practices. Leadership is valuing, gathering and responding to students’ ideas about what will help their learning most.

Middle leaders, as a result of intentional capacity building, take strengthened leadership roles. Teachers value the guidance and support middle leaders provide.

Trustees are well informed about student achievement and the efforts being made to achieve the strategic goals. They are focused on students’ wellbeing and learning. They have high expectations for annual action planning to achieve the board’s long-term goals. 

The next steps to continue to sustain and improve are for trustees and leaders to:

  • be assured about the sufficiency of progress made by those learners who need to make accelerated progress
  • better identify the best practices of middle leaders and spread these to other learning areas
  • improve the consistency of rigorous appraisal and teaching-as-inquiry practices by teachers
  • sustain the overall momentum for change and improvement
  • strengthen the rigour and consistency of internal evaluation, including assurance reporting to the board.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 25 international students attending the school, including one exchange student.

The school has reviewed its policies and procedures to be assured they are in line with the new Code. Further work is under way to complete this process.

International students' learning goals and needs are identified early. They are provided with appropriate learning programmes and monitored to ensure they can make good progress. They successfully achieve the goals set.

International students are encouraged and supported to integrate into the school and local community. The school’s pastoral care systems for international students are very effective.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The school hostel, Rosmini House, provides boarding for boys and girls in separate accommodation. At the time of this review, 59 boarders were on site, making up 15% of the school’s roll. In addition, a small number of students from a nearby secondary school live in the hostel. Rosmini House is owned by the St Peter’s College Hostel Charitable Trust and is managed by St Peter’s College Hostel Ltd. The hostel is a well-established, on-site boarding facility. The hostel owner has attested that all requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The hostel board has in place sound long-term planning for strategic development.

Hostel staff strongly promote the value of whanaunagtanga/inclusion and relationships. Boarders experience positive relationships with each other and with hostel management and staff. New boarders are welcomed and supported by staff and senior boarders to engage confidently in hostel living. Boarders benefit from choices about managing their own study routines and have good access to school study resources and appropriate teaching staff.

The director of boarding and the boarding manager place a high priority on hauora/wellbeing. They have highly 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. Systems are in place to consider and respond to the opinions and ideas of boarders and their families. Boarders have many opportunities to show leadership in roles such as house leaders, mentors and mediators, or on the student council for the hostel.

Hostel leaders ensure there is regular communication with parents and caregivers. Hostel managers and staff effectively engage the families of boarders in the life of the hostel.

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

St Peter’s College values commitment to learning, compassion for others, and a sense of community. The school’s Catholic character is strongly evident in the culture of care, respect and inclusive relationships for the benefit of learners. Students learn in settled, purposeful environments. They achieve well. School leaders have effectively supported staff to improve teaching and learning.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

9 August 2017

About the School 

Location

Gore

Ministry of Education profile number

397

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll

382

Number of international students

25

Gender composition

Female: 54%

Male: 46%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā
Māori
Asian
Pacific
Other

80%
11%
4%
2%
3%

Special Features

School Boarding House

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

9 August 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2013
August 2010
October 2006

1 Context

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

St Peter’s College (Gore) is a co-educational school for students in Years 7 to 13. Students come from the town and surrounding rural areas of Gore. The school has close links with its main contributing school, St Mary’s School (Gore).

The special Catholic character is highly evident throughout the school. The values of community, commitment and compassion maintain the bonds the school has to the Rosminians and Sisters of Mercy.

The attached boarding house, Rosmini House, has effective practices to support each boarder’s learning and development. This is supplemented by the extensive use of school facilities and programmes.

The community, school and boarding house have high expectations for their students. Staff at the school, including the boarding house, focus on developing the whole person. Students’ wellbeing is carefully monitored and supported. ERO observed and spoke with students who were respectful to others and positive about their school and boarding house.

At the time of the review, the school was in the process of appointing a new principal. In the interim, the deputy principal was filling the principal’s role.

Since the 2010 ERO review:

  • the number of International students at the school has increased, with the students coming from Europe, Asia and the Pacific
  • the curriculum has been extended to include an outdoor education course and a strong focus on developing literacy skills across all learning areas
  • senior students have been given access to tertiary courses.

2 Learning

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

Achievement information is well used to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. By the time they leave school, almost all students have reached levels of achievement that allow them to follow their desired directions beyond school.

Teachers make effective use of information to:

  • identify student needs for support and extension, and next learning steps
  • plan and teach to the different abilities of the students in their classes
  • monitor student progress over time
  • reflect on the impact of their teaching on students’ learning.

Leaders make purposeful use of information about individual students, classes and the department to:

  • monitor the progress of individual students over time and allocate learning support to individuals and groups of students
  • review student performance against expectations and make adjustments to programmes and classes to address identified needs
  • report achievement of all year levels to the principal and the board
  • set departmental and school-wide goals.

Some students, in discussion with their teachers, set goals for their learning and achievement. They use assessments and achievement records to assist this goal setting. Senior students make good use of websites to track their NCEA achievement over the year.

Through the reports to the board, trustees have an awareness of school-wide progress and achievement. This information supports them in their decisions to allocate resources to meet identified needs and priorities.

The annual plan clearly sets out the main areas for development within the school. To strengthen this planning, senior school leaders and trustees should include targets to show how well the developments will improve outcomes and/or achievement for students.

Senior leaders also need to use achievement information to report on the impact of interventions and initiatives. The reports to the board should also include progress reports, in particular for the achievement targets.

3 Curriculum

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

The vision of St Peter’s College is to equip students with an academic, spiritual and moral framework. This is to enable them to be lifelong learners, connected and open to the common good, with a strong sense of identity and place in a diverse global community.

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning within this vision.

Teachers build caring and supportive relationships with the students. Students told ERO that their teachers support them well in their learning. These positive relationships help give the school a strong sense of community and a sense of belonging for all students. Teachers and students are well supported by the parents and whānau, particularly for home/school learning partnerships, sports coaching and fundraising.

Since the 2010 ERO review, the school has introduced several initiatives to increase the effectiveness of its curriculum. These include:

  • more opportunities for senior students to follow future employment and training courses, in particular through the Hokonui Tertiary High School
  • the school-wide priority of building students’ literacy skills across all subject areas
  • the expectation that teachers will take more responsibility for providing for the range of learning abilities within their classes.

Other factors contributing to the school’s effective curriculum are:

  • most students are benefiting from good to very good teaching practices
  • increased opportunities for all students to learn about New Zealand’s bicultural heritage, including the introduction of te reo Māori classes for Year 7 students
  • the sharing of literacy and numeracy information with all class teachers.

The school leaders acknowledge the need to ensure the initiatives and expectations described above are embedded into teaching practice across the school. This should include developing written guidelines for teachers and leaders to refer to, be appraised against, and used as part of curriculum review.

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 recent strengthening of relationships with its community and runanga and gathering their ideas and aspirations for their tamariki. The school has increased its practices around Te Ao Māori, including forming a kapa haka group, introducing Māori themes into the school eisteddfod and formal welcomes to visitors from the whole school.

Students told ERO they feel well cared for and supported in their learning. They would appreciate more reflection of their culture within the school.

The next step is to improve documentation of plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students and promoting success for Māori, this should include building the teachers’ knowledge and cultural competencies.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is well placed to maintain and improve its performance with areas to develop related to self review and teacher appraisal.

The school’s strategic plan appropriately identifies priorities to focus on. These priorities arise from useful analysis of achievement information and recommendations from reviews, including the previous year’s annual plan.

Priorities are then well aligned to and developed in further planning, such as the annual plan and school-wide professional learning and development. In 2013, teachers are gaining a better understanding of how students’ literacy skills can be developed within particular learning areas.

To strengthen the review and planning process further, the school needs a more robust process of self review, in particular for curriculum programmes.

The school’s current appraisal process is not sufficiently robust to facilitate the ongoing improvement of the quality of teaching. Senior leaders have recognised the need to improve this area of performance management.

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 19 international students attending the school, 11 of whom were receiving English as a Second Language tuition.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. The school now needs to improve its reporting to better show how the learning, care and achievement of students have benefited from the planned initiatives and ongoing support and provision.

Students feel valued by their teachers, and supported in their learning. Adults work closely with international students and are alert and responsive to their needs. Each student’s learning and pastoral care is carefully monitored and supported. They receive frequent English language learning opportunities and targeted individual help. The students are involved in the life of the school in many ways.

Provision for students in the school hostel

Rosmini House is a high performing school boarding facility. A key feature of the boarding house is the way it effectively supports students’ learning within a caring environment.

It currently accommodates 70 students. Since the 2010 ERO review, the number of students attending Rosmini House has grown, creating an 8% to 17% presence on the school roll. It is owned by the St Peter’s Hostel Charitable Trust and managed by the St Peter’s College Hostel Limited. This growth has created increased flexibility, such as, enabling a number of refurbishments of the physical environment.

The boarding house has continued to build on the strengths identified in the 2010 ERO review. The boarding house has highly effective systems for promoting positive relationships, students’ welfare and learning, and strong leadership and management. This is achieved through:

  • a shared positive culture of care and respect for staff and students
  • close support for individual student’s pastoral care and learning
  • high levels of student involvement and leadership
  • student, parent and community input into decisions for improvement
  • effective support for professional growth and leadership for staff
  • clear organisational guidelines and models of practice for staff and students
  • sound strategic leadership and self review.

The boarding house works closely with the school to educate the whole student to strive for excellence within a family environment, and in accordance with the values of Jesus Christ. To further strengthen this focus, boarding house leaders could strengthen their plans and strategies to show how biculturalism and success for Māori is valued and nurtured for all 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.

The school has not obtained police vets for all non-teaching and unregistered employees at the school.

  • The board of a State school, or the management of a school registered under section 35A, must obtain a Police vet of every person—
    • whom the board or the management appoints, or intends to appoint, to a position at the school; and
    • who is to work at the school during normal school hours; and
    • who is not a registered teacher or holder of a limited authority to teach. [Source s78C, s78CA, 78CB Education Act 1989]

The school has not reported to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards for mathematics.

  • The school must report to students and their parents on the student’s progress and achievement in relation to National Standards. Reporting to parents in plain language must occur at least twice a year. [Source: NAG 2A (a)]

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure all procedures as set out in its education outside the classroom policy are being followed, in particular procedures for risk analysis and management.

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

12 December 2013

About the School

Location

Gore

Ministry of Education profile number

397

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13) Integrated

School roll

400

Number of international students

19

Gender composition

Girls: 51%

Boys: 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

84%

12%

1%

3%

Special Features

School Boarding House

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

12 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2010

October 2006

December 2003