St Patrick's School (Invercargill)

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Education institution number:
4020
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
266
Telephone:
Address:

161 Metzger Street, Georgetown, Invercargill

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School Context

St Patrick’s School (Invercargill) is a Years 1-6 Catholic school with a roll of 293 children.

The school is guided by the Dominican values of pono / honesty, aroha / caring and mana / being the best you can be. The school’s vision is to participate in learning-centred partnerships with whānau and the parish community. The school’s valued outcomes are for students to be confident, capable and compassionate, and have a passion for learning.

The strategic goals are clearly aligned to the school’s vision and values. These articulate the shared understanding that students will learn with enthusiasm, grow in knowledge, develop their abilities and desire to serve God. This is expressed through the curriculum by being ‘Called to Shine’.

To achieve these outcomes the school has identified the following strategic goals:

  • to further enhance the special character relationships between the school, parish and the wider Catholic community
  • to strengthen culturally responsive understandings and practices across the whole school community
  • to improve school-wide teaching of writing
  • to enable all children to be the best they can be, by increasing the engagement, progress and achievement of all students in relation to school expectations.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • those related to the special Catholic character of the school
  • student wellbeing
  • the school’s identified valued outcomes
  • the progress and achievement of children for whom English is a second language.

Since the ERO review in 2014, there have been changes within the school’s leadership team and the board of trustees.

Evaluation Findings

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 very effective in supporting students to achieve the school’s valued outcomes. The school is very effectively moving towards achieving equitable outcomes for all of its students.

Over the last three years the majority of students have achieved at or above the school’s expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. All of these learning areas show a positive trend of achievement over the last three years.

Over the last three years, school wide achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has improved. Current information shows that in Years 3-6, these learning areas show an upward trend of achievement over this time.

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

Targeted responses to accelerate students’ progress have been highly effective in reducing in-school disparity between groups of learners.

Māori student achievement levels have been slightly lower in all three areas. However, the most recent school information shows that the school is significantly reducing disparity for Māori students in writing and mathematics. There is no disparity for Māori students in reading. There are equitable and excellent outcomes for Pacific students.

Overall, current school achievement information shows that there are good levels of accelerated progress in aspects of reading, writing and mathematics for students. The school can also show that it has accelerated rates of progress and achievement levels in oral language.

The school recognises the need to increase the numbers of students working at expected levels in writing and mathematics. To achieve this the school is implementing the long-term strategies of:

  • intentionally engaging parents/whānau as partners in learning
  • building culturally responsive teaching practices
  • supporting students to accelerate their learning with a range of personalised and effective targeted programmes.

Students’ progress and achievement is very closely monitored, and individual students are provided with support programmes that best suit their needs. These plans are strengths-based and designed to accelerate progress and remove barriers to learning.

Children identified with additional learning or social needs are very well supported through a range of specific individualised responses. 

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?

The school has a number of processes and practices that are highly effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence.

The school community is characterised by respect, high relational trust and shared Catholic faith and values. The mana of students and their connection to the Catholic faith is central to trustees’ and leaders’ decision making. The culture of care is well supported by teachers’ collaboration and collective responsibility.

Ongoing innovation in curriculum development and culturally responsive teacher practice align with the school’s strategic direction. This development is the school’s response to raising rates of progress and achievement for students who need tailored support to accelerate their learning, and to providing quality education in a Catholic environment for all students. The school has a culture of ongoing reflection and review that supports continuous improvement.

Trustees and leaders have made well-considered changes to the structure and organisation of the curriculum. These changes enable leaders and teachers to better support the active engagement of whānau in home-school learning partnerships. These partnerships focus on promoting progress and achievement for students in Years 1-3. Teachers and whānau meet regularly, and work together on the next steps in the child’s learning journey. These next steps complement and support what teachers are doing in the classroom.

Teachers in these junior years provide a curriculum rich in oral language opportunities. There is a clear focus on supporting students to see themselves as successful learners. This approach establishes a strong sense of belonging for students and whānau transitioning from early childhood to the school community.

School leaders and trustees are strongly committed to achieving the school’s vision and valued outcomes. This is evident through:

  • a clear alignment between the strategic priorities, actions and positive outcomes for students
  • promoting a distributed leadership model that sustains the gains made in building professional capability, and supports ongoing improvement in teaching and learning
  • the provision of a coherent, integrated curriculum that meets individual students’ social, cultural, spiritual and academic needs
  • a well-considered focus on achieving equity and valued outcomes through building whanaungatanga.

St Patrick’s School is strongly focused on continuous improvement. Teachers and leaders demonstrate adaptive expertise to better meet the needs of students. They critically apply new knowledge to problems to develop useful approaches and solutions. School-based assessment information shows that these approaches are being increasingly effective in enhancing children’s learning, engagement and sense of belonging. The place of Māori and Pacific culture, identity and language is strongly evident within the school. 

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

ERO and the school agree that trustees, leaders and teachers should consider:

  • using the learning information already in the school to know more about and report on the sufficiency of progress for all students, especially those students receiving additional support
  • strengthening capability and capacity in evaluation. 

These developments will enable leaders and teachers to clearly identify the teaching practices that are most effective.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • clear direction setting and a culture of trust set by the board and the principal that enable innovation to lift achievement
  • a responsive, well-integrated curriculum that is effectively supporting the engagement of children in their learning
  • a school-wide focus on equity and excellence
  • effective school-wide processes and practices that create a nurturing, responsive and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening capacity to use evaluation that includes inquiry into the impact of innovations in teaching practices designed to improve outcomes for students.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard
Director Review & Improvement Services Southern 

17 October 2018

About the school 

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4020

School type

Contributing primary (Years 1-6)

School roll

293

Gender composition

Boys:  54%

Girls:  46%

Ethnic composition

Māori      33%

Pākehā   49 %

Pacific    10%

Asian        8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

17 October 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review:  October 2014

Education Review:  October 2009

Findings

St Patrick’s School (Invercargill) continues to be high performing. Students make good progress in their learning at school. All students are provided with rich topics and contexts for learning in all areas. The strong culture of cooperation, innovation and effective teaching supports the school’s Christian Catholic values and mission.

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 (Invercargill) continues to be a high performing school. The school’s purpose is to create confident, capable and compassionate students with a passion for learning. The strong alignment between strategic planning, the innovative curriculum, effective teaching practices and the Christian Catholic values support the school’s mission.

Students make good progress in their achievement during their time at school. By the time they leave at Year 6, most students are achieving at or above in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to National Standards.

St Patrick’s School (Invercargill) is a state-integrated school. Over the last five years the roll has increased. This roll growth includes higher numbers of Māori and Pacific students, and students who are English language learners.

The school’s values are strongly evident throughout the school. This is seen in the:

  • positive and caring relationships students have with each other and with adults at the school
  • productive partnerships teachers and school leaders have with students’ parents and whānau
  • constructive culture of teachers sharing responsibility for students’ learning
  • supportive relationships the school has with its parish, particularly with the parish priest
  • inclusive way all students and their cultures are valued and celebrated within the life of the school.

The board of trustees has managed change in the school well, particularly changes in leadership and new staff to the school. Trustees, along with teachers and leaders, have maintained a culture of ongoing improvements to student learning.

Since the 2009 ERO review:

  • the school has maintained a strong focus on students achieving well in literacy and mathematics
  • much of students’ learning continues to be through an engaging inquiry approach
  • leaders and teachers have strengthened students’ involvement in the learning process
  • te ao Māori has a greater prominence in students’ learning and school operations.

2 Learning

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

Learning information is used very well to identify, support and progress students’ learning. A significant feature is that leaders and teachers value each student and his or her individual progress and achievement.

Students are able to talk about how well they are achieving, especially those at senior year levels. This awareness is gained from teachers’ conversations with students, their school reports and students assessing their work against preset objectives.

Teachers make skilful use of achievement information. This use is primarily to:

  • find out about the learners’ needs, abilities and next learning steps
  • inform their teaching approaches to best support students’ learning
  • evaluate the difference their teaching is making to students’ learning.

Senior leaders effectively use learning information to:

  • set appropriate charter targets and goals that are based on identified areas of need across the school and within groups of students
  • lead discussions at syndicate meetings about students needing extra support to make the required progress
  • identify practices and programmes that require improvement.

The board receives regular reports on student achievement for all learning areas. Trustees effectively use this information to make decisions about learning support, class sizes, required equipment and relevant professional learning and development (PLD). A useful next step would be for the board to receive specific interim reports on the progress made towards achieving annual charter targets.

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 strengths, interests and needs of the students provide the basis for teachers’ planning. As a result, the learning for students is meaningful and in keeping with the school’s special character and values, particularly the value of service beyond the school.

There is a strong focus on numeracy and literacy learning for students. Students are provided with rich contexts for learning. Teachers have high expectations for student learning and behaviour.

Students benefit from skilful and consistent teaching throughout the school. School-wide guidelines and curriculum leader support provide coherence and ensure sustainability for teaching and learning. A significant strength is teachers' reflecting on and sharing good practices.

There is significant and focused support for students with learning needs. The needs of each student are identified early and specific support put in place to help the student make increased progress in his/her learning. Support includes individual plans for students, teachers working with parents to support the student’s learning, and targeted support from specialist teachers and teacher aides. The progress these students make in their achievement is closely monitored by class teachers and school leaders. Students whose first language is not English are very well supported by trained teacher aides. Records show that these students make very good progress in all areas of their learning.

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

Māori students achieve and progress well over their time at school. The many opportunities for Māori students to grow and show their cultural abilities are continuing to be further strengthened.

Māori language and culture is valued and visible in the life of the school. Students have many opportunities to develop an understanding of core cultural values and concepts, such as manaaki, whānau and wairua. The Māori and Pacific kapa haka groups are held in high regard by students and the wider community.

Trustees, leaders and teachers proactively seek the involvement and opinion of Māori and Pacific parents and whānau. This helps inform the school’s planning for the educational success of all students. A next step is to more clearly define success as Māori and as Pasifika, as part of the school’s mission and vision.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

A strong quest for improvement is evident across the school. This is a significant feature of the culture of the school and contributes to the ongoing high levels of school performance and development.

The board is very knowledgeable and well informed. Trustees are clear about the school vision and their governance roles and responsibilities. They receive well-analysed information about student success, and the progress the school is making towards achieving its key goals and priorities. The school’s processes for self review are well aligned to its planning and intended practices. As a result, planning and decision making within the school is informed by timely and useful information.

There is a shared understanding of the purpose for school development and how it will be achieved. The principal and leaders have created a professional learning environment in which teachers have opportunities to build and develop their own strengths and leadership. The collaborative working relationships between staff and school leaders help to maintain and further develop current best practices in teaching.

The school actively seeks to engage with parents and whānau to help ensure all members of its community are heard and valued. School leaders have established some useful collaboration with other schools and community groups. This is an area that the school is continuing to develop.

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 (Invercargill) continues to be high performing. Students make good progress in their learning at school. All students are provided with rich topics and contexts for learning in all areas. The strong culture of cooperation, innovation and effective teaching supports the school’s Christian Catholic values and mission.

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

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

28 October 2014

About the School

Location

Invercargill

Ministry of Education profile number

4020

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

270

Gender composition

Boys: 55%

Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Pasifika

Other ethnicities

57%

28%

12%

3%

Review team on site

September 2014

Date of this report

28 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

June 2006

November 2002