St Patrick's School (Nightcaps)

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Education institution number:
4019
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
28
Telephone:
Address:

11 Digger Street, Nightcaps

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School Context

St Patrick’s (Nightcaps) is a small, rural, integrated Catholic primary school for students in Years 1 to 8. The school roll has doubled since 2015 and now has 27 students, half of whom identify as Māori. Students learn in two multi-level classrooms. Year 7 and 8 students attend technology classes at a local primary school.

St Patrick’s (Nightcaps) is one of three schools that make up the Trinity Schools. The other two schools are St Joseph’s (Invercargill) and St Teresa’s (Bluff). These schools are governed by one board and managed by one principal. Each of the three Trinity schools has an on-site associate principal.

The Trinity Schools’ vision for their students is that they will be confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners. The schools seek to achieve this through providing: a warm, friendly and safe environment; high quality education for all students; and a harmonious partnership with the whole community. The schools prioritise their Catholic character, including the values of truth, compassion and charity. St Patrick’s School also emphasises leadership by senior students, the importance of resilience and persistence, and valuing school partnerships and relationships.

The board receives reports on outcomes for students from all three of the Trinity schools. Leaders and teachers regularly report to trustees, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement and progress of individual students, in reading, writing and mathematics
  • achievement and progress for those students who have been targeted to make accelerated progress in reading, writing or mathematics
  • achievement and progress for students for whom English is a second language and for students who identify as Māori
  • students’ perceptions about their wellbeing at school.

Since the April 2015 ERO review, school leaders remain unchanged. The school is a member of the Special Character Invercargill 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 working very positively towards achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

In 2019 two thirds of students were achieving at or above the school’s expectations in reading and most were achieving at or above in writing and mathematics. Reading information indicates that boys as a group are not achieving as well as girls. Likewise, Māori students are not achieving as well as other groups in literacy and mathematics.

A positive upward trend can be seen in student achievement over the last two years. During this time, an increasing number of students are achieving at or above the Trinity Schools’ expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

In 2019 all students reported that they felt safe at school.

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

The school is very effectively accelerating the learning of those students who need this.

Over the last two years, almost all students who needed to make accelerated progress in reading and mathematics, did so. Three quarters of at-risk learners also made accelerated progress in their writing.

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?

Leaders’ and teachers’ relentless focus on equity and targeted provision is enabling students to experience success. Teachers deliberately support the learning and wellbeing of the whole child. Students enjoy and are motivated by opportunities they are given to share their ideas and make choices in their learning. They are empowered as learners and their self-efficacy is promoted.

School staff are purposefully building and strengthening home-school partnerships. Parents, whānau and the community are welcomed as respected and valued partners in learning. Teachers actively facilitate engagement and participation. These educationally powerful connections are increasing students’ opportunities to learn.

The caring and positive school culture strongly supports students’ wellbeing and learning. The school is welcoming and inclusive of students and families who come from diverse backgrounds. Valued Māori concepts of manaakitanga, aroha and whanaungatanga are strongly evident. Strong pastoral systems ensure students’ wellbeing is nurtured.

Trustees, leaders and teachers prioritise students who need extra support. Any student below expected levels is quickly identified and carefully monitored. Leaders and teachers have in-depth knowledge of these students’ needs and strengths and ensure targeted assistance. This includes working closely with whānau. Leaders strategically resource additional help and expect teachers to show that they have made a difference. As a result of these practices, many students, including English language learners, make accelerated progress. Children with additional needs are very well supported.

Teachers across the Trinity Schools benefit from well-considered professional development. With leaders, they inquire deeply into what is and what is not working to lift achievement and improve student wellbeing, and adapt their practices accordingly. The Trinity curriculum includes detailed learning progressions for literacy and mathematics and research-based expectations for effective teaching practice. As a result, there are consistent and effective teaching practices across the three schools and each student has optimal opportunities for success in their learning and wellbeing.

Leadership of the Trinity School group is effective and strategic. The leader is reflective, improvement focused and deliberate in resourcing. Over time she has implemented sound systems and practices and built high levels of relational trust and collaboration across the three school sites. Leaders model a relentless focus on what matters most for Trinity School students.

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

Teachers and leaders gather and scrutinise extensive individual student achievement and progress information. Leaders should extend the analysis and reporting of this information to reflect the school-wide picture, including for significant groups. This should provide additional useful information to assist school decision making.

The school has clarified its valued learning outcomes. Internal evaluation should be extended to include review of other valued outcomes for students, including their achievement in curriculum areas beyond literacy and mathematics.

Cultural responsiveness has been an ongoing professional learning focus across all three Trinity Schools. The board, leaders and teachers should continue to strengthen this learning and the integration of te ao Māori, including students’ learning in the school’s te reo Māori programme.

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 St Patrick’s School (Nightcaps)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • its caring and positive culture that strongly supports students’ wellbeing and learning
  • its relentless focus on students who need extra support to succeed in their learning
  • strong and strategic leadership that places high expectations for students and staff
  • effective practices to build teacher capability so that students are given every opportunity to be successful in their learning.

Next steps

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

  • extending the analysis and reporting of school-wide progress and achievement so trustees, leaders and teachers receive more comprehensive information to inform decision making
  • extending internal evaluation to include other valued outcomes, including the wider curriculum, so that leaders and teachers know more about how well these are being delivered
  • continuing to grow teachers’ understanding of culturally responsive practice and te ao Māori, to further enhance learning for all students.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

16 June 2020

About the school

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Findings

St Patrick’s School is located in Nightcaps and has a small roll. It is one of the three schools that make up the Trinity of Schools. The other two schools are St Teresa’s (Bluff) and St Joseph’s (Invercargill).

The Trinity of Schools are governed by one board and managed by one principal. The three schools share the same curriculum, vision and Catholic values.

Strong learning partnerships are contributing to students achieving very well in mathematics, reading and writing.

The board, senior leaders and teachers work well together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students.

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 Patrick’s School (Nightcaps) is one of the three Trinity schools. As a result of a review by the Catholic Education Office in 2002, it was decided to have the three schools come under the Trinity model. The other two schools are St Teresa’s (Bluff) and St Joseph’s (Invercargill).

The Trinity of Schools is governed by one board and managed by one principal. Therefore ERO worked with the board and the principal to review these schools as one learning institution. Associate principals at each of the schools support the principal with management and operations. The three schools share the same curriculum, vision and Catholic values.

The rolls at the three schools include a high number of Māori students. Te reo and tikanga Māori are well integrated into all aspects of school life. The schools are very inclusive. Students with diverse needs and their parents/whānau are well supported.

St Patrick’s School is located in Nightcaps and has a small roll. Many students travel long distances. The associate principal has used a range of effective ways to develop strong learning partnerships with each family/whānau. This includes visiting families at home for catch-ups and student-led interviews. The curriculum is strongly focused on providing students with a broad range of rich experiences within the school and in the local community.

The present principal and associate principals have all been appointed since the 2012 ERO review. The board, senior leaders and teachers have made significant progress in meeting the recommendations in the ERO report. They have:

  • developed the school’s curriculum
  • improved assessment practices
  • strengthened self-review and performance-management systems.

2 Learning

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

The school effectively uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Most students are achieving very well in reading, writing and mathematics.

There are strong learning partnerships with parents. This is increasing parents' understanding and engagement in their children’s learning. Teachers use a broad range of effective communication strategies to ensure parents know how well children’s learning is progressing and how they can help them at home.

Students are regularly asked about how well they are learning and supported by the teachers to identify their next steps. Teachers are making good use of students’ opinions to improve teaching and increase the engagement of all students. There are holistic and inclusive processes for recognising the strengths and skills of every student.

Collaborative teaching and the grouping of students is helping to ensure the wide range of learning needs in classes is well met. Teachers are taking increasing responsibility for regularly identifying and tracking the progress of priority learners and target students. They are using their findings to make ongoing improvements to teaching practice.

The senior leader responsible for special needs is a highly-skilled communicator and advocate for students and parents. Leaders and teachers make good use of students’ achievement information to identify and support students with learning needs. The school provides significant support for parents and works with them to reach the best outcomes for their child. They work well together to gain appropriate support from outside agencies.

The principal and senior leaders regularly complete in-depth analyses of achievement information and provide clearly written reports to the board. These reports help them to make well-considered decisions to fund the extra support these students need.

Areas for review and development

The school leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, the next steps to strengthen student outcomes are:

  • to review the implementation of new assessment practices for collecting and analysing data
  • evaluating and reporting to the board on the effectiveness of the extra support provided for priority learners and target students.

3 Curriculum

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

The Trinity School’s curriculum very effectively promotes and supports student learning.

The well-designed curriculum successfully reflects the three Trinity Schools. The school’s vision and values link closely to the Catholic values and those of the community. Te reo and tikanga Māori are well integrated. The curriculum is very inclusive and these aspects are very evident in the ways students, staff, board and families work together.

The curriculum is strongly focussed on students becoming life-long learners. Students are confident and successful learners. This includes:

  • knowing about their learning and next steps
  • taking increasing responsibility for their learning and wellbeing
  • having pride in their achievements, those of their peers, their school and the community.

The school’s curriculum gives good guidance for teaching and assessment. Teachers value what parents and students bring to the learning. They give parents and students honest assessments based on the in-depth knowledge of students and their families.

Teachers make good use of the community to give students a broad range of experiences to enhance their learning.

Areas for review and development

The school leaders have identified and ERO agree that the next steps should include:

  • continuing the review of curriculum areas
  • reporting to parents about students learning in curriculum areas other than literacy and mathematic
  • continuing to integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in the school’s curriculum.

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

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

Most Māori students are achieving well in reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders and teachers have high expectations that Māori students will succeed as Māori. Students who need extra support are identified early and appropriate programmes are put in place to meet their learning needs.

Senior leaders and teachers have developed strong relationships with whānau. They use a range of effective strategies to consult with them. The senior leaders have made good use of self review to identify further ways to strengthen these partnerships.

Success for Māori as Māori is a high priority for the board and is included as a strategic goal in the charter and in the performance management system for leaders and teachers. A number of teachers have considerable expertise in te reo and tikanga Māori that is effectively shared with others in the school.

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 members work well together for the benefit of the three Trinity Schools. The trustees have a good knowledge of their governance role and make good use of board training. The board has a strong focus on student achievement, wellbeing and continuous improvement. The trustees provide considerable support to each other, the schools and the principal.

The principal and senior leaders provide effective leadership. They have established a strong and inclusive team culture across the three Trinity schools.

The strategic plan is well-developed and comprehensive. The goals clearly incorporate the key areas of school operations. There are strong links between the strategic plan, school targets and annual plan. The principal closely monitors progress in meeting the strategic goals and regularly reports to the board.

The school has good guidelines and procedures for self review. The board and senior leaders regularly survey the students, teachers and community for ideas to identify areas for further improvement.

The school has a comprehensive process to support senior leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

Areas for review and development

The board and ERO agree that the next step to sustain the schools performance is to extend the ways the board evaluates its performance.

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 Patrick’s School is located in Nightcaps and has a small roll. It is one of the three schools that make up the Trinity of Schools. The other two schools are St Teresa’s (Bluff) and St Joseph’s (Invercargill).

The Trinity of Schools are governed by one board and managed by one principal. The three schools share the same curriculum, vision and Catholic values.

Strong learning partnerships are contributing to students achieving very well in mathematics, reading and writing.

The board, senior leaders and teachers work well together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

20 July 2015

About the School

Location

Nightcaps, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number

4019

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

14

Gender composition

Girls 9; Boys 5

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

7

7

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

20 July 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

March 2012

March 2010

March 2009