Catholic Cathedral College

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Education institution number:
School type:
Secondary (Year 7-15)
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

62 Ferry Road, Phillipstown, Christchurch

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At the time of this review there were 462 students enrolled in this school in Years 7 to 13. The school has had steady roll growth and an increasing ethnic diversity of students since the 2013 ERO review. About 12% of the roll identify as Māori. Approximately 43% of students are Filipino, 17% Pacific and 25% Pākehā. There continues to be enrolments throughout the year.

Since the 2011 earthquake there has been another school on the same site sharing the facilities. Catholic Cathedral College is waiting for some rebuilding and new building work to occur.

There have been many changes of staff in recent years, including an almost completely new senior leadership team. The current principal was appointed three months before the previous review. Nine staff are beginning teachers.

The school is a member of the Christchurch Catholic Kahui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL). The CoL includes four other secondary schools, eight full primary schools and two contributing schools. The principal is the CoL leader.

While the school has made progress in several of the areas identified for development in the last ERO report, some of these have not yet been adequately addressed and remain as areas for improvement in this report.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

This school responds well to children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. NCEA achievement results are high across Years 11 to 13.

Learning support is well coordinated throughout the school, with the English language programme giving strong support to the high number of English language learners.

The school’s curriculum provides students with choices and coherent pathways to future work and learning. The curriculum is responsive to students’ interests, aspirations and abilities. Pastoral care systems are effectively promoting students’ wellbeing, engagement and success in learning.

Key areas for development include:

  • improving monitoring of the progress of those students needing to make accelerated progress

  • strengthening processes for making decisions about school developments and strengthening strategic planning.

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners. Achievement levels for Māori, Pacific and Asian students are high across National Certificate Levels of Achievement (NCEA) 1, 2 and 3 levels.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds well to students whose learning and achievement need acceleration to achieve at expected levels.

Years 7-8

School achievement information for the past three years in relation to National Standards shows:

  • overall students achieve well in reading and less well in writing and mathematics

  • Māori achieve better for reading

  • disparity for boys and Pacific students for writing.

Years 9-10

School achievement information shows that cohorts of students progress as expected against New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) levels in Years 9 to 10. However, the school is working on the reliability of data in this area to show progress and achievement over time.

There has been a focus in most learning areas on developing more consistent guidelines for assessment of students’ achievement across NZC levels.


Overall NCEA achievement has increased well over time since the last ERO review. NCEA information shows that:

  • students achieve to high levels in NCEA Levels 1, 2, 3 and in UE and literacy and numeracy credits

  • excellence and merit endorsements for NCEA Level 1 and 2 certificates have increased

  • Level 3 endorsements have remained below national levels.

In Years 7 to 8 the school uses an appropriate range of tools to assess and moderate student achievement. The moderation process needs to be strengthened by developing a system of external moderation with other schools.

There is a particular focus across the school on raising the achievement for Māori students. A key focus is to ensure success for Māori as Māori.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Students are well supported in their learning and wellbeing. Teachers have a good knowledge of individual students and involve their families in decisions about their learning and care. Leaders and teachers make effective use of their shared knowledge of students’ interests to provide meaningful and responsive learning programmes.

School leaders are intentionally improving school-wide systems. This includes senior leaders expecting teachers to support and monitor students’ achievement of NCEA credits. Senior students are becoming better informed about their learning and are supported to take more responsibility for their own progress and achievement.

Recent appointments to the senior and middle management teams have been strategic to strengthen the skill base and better reflect the ethnic diversity of the community and student groups.

The Catholic special character of the school is highly evident. It unifies the school’s diverse community and is an integral part of the life, learning and achievement of the school and community.

The school effectively uses outside agencies to provide additional support for the wellbeing and learning of students.

The school has effective systems for identifying, tracking and providing for children who need extra support across the areas of:

  • English Language Learning (ELL)

  • pastoral care

  • careers

  • learning support

  • priority students.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

Many school systems and practices are at early stages and have yet to be embedded and regularly evaluated.

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The school has some useful internal evaluation processes for identifying areas for development and improvement. However, a number of these areas for improvement were identified in the school’s 2013 ERO report, and have not been adequately progressed due to the impact of the earthquake, sharing the site and considerable staff changes. Trustees and leaders need to develop more effective internal evaluation to effectively address equity and excellence.

Leaders and trustees and teachers need to develop and implement an evaluation framework that includes:

  • effective processes for investigation and taking action

  • monitoring and evaluating the impact of the outcome for students.

Evaluations need to include all aspects of school operations. In particular, evaluations need to consider how well:

  • targeted interventions accelerate the progress of students at risk of not achieving successful learning outcomes

  • the school shows it values Māori culture and students (bi-cultural development / integration / te reo).

The strategic plan needs to have greater clarity on key priorities and show their development over time. Targets and goals need to be more specific (planned for), have progress monitored and strategies evaluated and reported on.

The school needs to further improve systems for identifying all students at risk of poor educational outcomes and for tracking their progress over time. This will enable trustees, leaders and teachers to better know the effectiveness of their efforts to raise achievement.

The curriculum review needs to be completed to ensure teachers have the guidance they need to deliver high quality programmes for students, including expectations for teaching and learning.

The board has identified, and ERO agrees, that trustees would benefit from training to support them in their stewardship role.

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

  • 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.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (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 was one international student attending the school, and no exchange students.

Catholic Cathedral College provides a high level of pastoral care that reflects the school’s special Catholic faith-based character provided for all students, including international students.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

The school has capacity and capability to accelerate learning for all learners.

Leaders and teachers:

  • need to develop and implement approaches that effectively meet the needs of each learner

  • need to improve the school conditions that support the acceleration of learners’ progress and achievement.

The school agrees to:

  • develop more targeted planning to accelerate progress for learners

  • monitor targeted planning, improved teaching, and learners’ progress

  • discuss the school’s progress with ERO.

ERO will:

  • provide feedback and resources to support the development of more targeted planning

  • provide an internal workshop to support the school to develop effective planning and monitoring processes to support equity and excellence for all learners.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

6 December 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7-13)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys: 55%

Girls: 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 12%

Pacific: 17%

Asian: 43%

Pākehā: 25%

Other: 3%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

6 December 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review: August 2013

Education Review: September 2009

Education Review: October 2006

1 Context

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

Catholic Cathedral College is a coeducational, integrated, Years 7 to 13 secondary school. The school’s special character reflects its strong Catholic values.

The roll is steadily increasing and is culturally diverse. The school culture is welcoming, inclusive and respectful. Students spoken with by ERO were proud of their school, its family-like nature and safe learning environment.

Since the September 2009 ERO review, the school has experienced a lot of change. As a result of the Christchurch earthquakes, the school had to be relocated for a time. Since its return to its central city location, it has shared the site with another secondary school.

There has been a high staff turnover in the last two years. A new principal and deputy principal started at the beginning of 2013.

2 Learning

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

Areas of strength

The school is making positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. The newly appointed principal is setting high expectations for students and teachers. Staff and students spoken with by ERO were very aware of this lift in expectation and are responding positively.

Recent changes to improve student engagement, progress and achievement include:

  • reviewing systems and procedures to strengthen the use of achievement information
  • the appointment of an academic coordinator and a scholarship coordinator to monitor and improve student outcomes
  • closer monitoring of student attendance and sharing the importance of this with students and parents
  • the development of class profiles that identify students’ learning strengths and needs, to inform teaching practices.

Students benefit from extensive and effective pastoral support. Teachers and leaders work well together to build students’ wellbeing and self esteem. They recognise the importance of these in making sure students are able to engage with their learning.

Students and parents receive informative three weekly reports about student progress and work habits.

School leadership is making useful connections by consulting with different groups such as Pacific and Filipino families. This is helping leaders to find out about parent wishes for their children, and to share ideas about supporting students’ learning and achievement.

Areas for review and development

The principal and senior leadership team have identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to improve the collection, analysis and use of achievement information. This would assist the school to better:

  • measure effectiveness of programmes and interventions
  • identify students’ next learning steps and establish the right levels of challenge
  • confidently share student achievement information to inform planning
  • track progress over time for individuals and groups
  • report to trustees, parents and students
  • assist teachers to reflect on and improve their practice.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum provides suitable support for student learning. The principal has identified that parts of the curriculum need further development. The heads of department (HOD) committee has responsibility for strengthening curriculum design and review.

The teachers’ focus on improving literacy skills of students was evident in the class programmes observed. Students spoken with by ERO liked the way teachers knew them as individuals and helped them with their learning.

Teachers are working in teams across subject areas to raise student achievement as part of their professional learning programme. They are looking for the best ways to overcome any difficulties students face in their learning.

A positive learning culture is a strength of the school. Factors that contribute to this culture are:

  • a school-wide positive behaviour programme
  • clearly understood school values
  • positive relationships and healthy competition developed by the regular grouping of older and younger students.

Students enjoy many opportunities to participate in sporting and cultural activities.

Areas for review and development

There is a need to further define roles and responsibilities for curriculum design and review. These include:

  • senior leadership responsibilities for curriculum and assessment
  • terms of reference for the HOD curriculum committee
  • guidelines and expectations for heads of department.

Senior leaders need to ensure that the school charter, departmental curriculum statements and classroom planning are well linked.

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

The curriculum is increasingly supporting Māori success as Māori.

Areas of strength

The teacher of te reo Māori holds a high level of respect and mana amongst teachers, parents and students. He is supporting staff and students to improve their understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Students who are Māori are achieving well in the NCEA level 1 compared with Māori students at similar schools. They are achieving at similar levels to their Catholic Cathedral College peers in NCEA Level 2.

A number of activities and protocols give Māori students opportunities to identify and succeed as Māori. These include marae visits, powhiri and kapa haka.

Useful consultation with parents and whānau of Māori students has helped school leaders build better understanding of how to improve learning outcomes for these students.

Area for review and development

Leaders and teachers need to include more bicultural activities and understandings in all curriculum programmes.

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.

Areas of strength

The school has experienced challenging times and has come through these with a renewed energy and sense of purpose. The board and newly formed leadership team have a strong focus on raising student achievement.

The senior leadership team has a clear vision for school improvement and is gaining good support from staff and students. The good level of communication and consultation by leaders is widely appreciated. Their purposeful approach and improvement focus is helping to develop a shared understanding of the school’s ongoing development and direction.

The strategic plan provides useful direction for making further improvements at the school. There are well established policies and procedures for guiding the way trustees work. Timetabled reviews of curriculum and school operations provide trustees and school leaders with useful recommendations to improve outcomes for students.

Senior leaders and teachers provide annual subject achievement reports that help the board to understand how well students are achieving.

Areas for review and development

The board, leaders and teachers need to further develop planning. This includes setting measurable goals so that success in attaining them can be monitored and evaluated.

The board chair and principal have identified a need to review appraisal systems to ensure that they effectively support teachers to improve their practice. ERO agrees this is an important next step.

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 238Fof the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review, there were no international students attending the school.

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

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of the school completed the ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

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

5 August 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā


Other Pacific


Other ethnicities







Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

5 August 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

September 2009

October 2006

June 2004