Sacred Heart College (Auckland)

Education institution number:
School type:
Secondary (Year 7-15)
School gender:
Single Sex (Boys School)
School with Boarding Facilities
Total roll:

250 West Tamaki Road, Glendowie, Auckland

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Sacred Heart College (Auckland) - 15/11/2018

School Context

Sacred Heart College (Auckland) is a Catholic, Marist Champagnat school that provides special character education for boys from Years 7 to 13. There are currently 1232 students enrolled at the school. Twelve percent are Māori and fifteen percent are of Pacific heritages. Sacred Heart College is part of an international network of Sacred Heart schools established by Marcellin Champagnat in 1818.

The school’s mission statement emphasises the aim of developing outstanding mature young men by providing an education that balances spiritual development with academic, social and physical achievement. The school’s vision is for each student to be grounded in the Catholic faith and to leave the school confident and prepared to be active in a changing and complex world.

The values embedded in the college are drawn from the charism of Saint Marcellin Champagnat, the founder of the Marist Brothers. These are the values of:

  • a family spirit

  • a presence for others

  • a spirit of simplicity

  • support for individuals and families in need

  • a commitment to diligence

  • loyalty and pride

  • service, courage, compassion, integrity and goodness.

The board’s strategic goals focus on:

  • strengthening the Catholic and Marist character in the school

  • raising the academic excellence of all students

  • improving the implementation and outcomes of pastoral care

  • excellence in sporting and cultural performances

  • participation and achievement in the Arts.

Since the 2014 ERO review, the school has built a new library, auditorium and a performing arts block called the ‘School of Imagination’.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement within the New Zealand Qualifications Framework

  • school leaver qualifications and destinations

  • engagement and wellbeing

  • success and participation in sporting and cultural activities

  • progress against the school’s strategic goals.

Local and international alumnae maintain relationships with the school and provide role modelling and mentoring for students.

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?

Leaders, trustees and staff successfully promote equitable and excellent student outcomes through a relentless focus on holistic wellbeing and support for learning success. Achievement data show that students make very good progress over their time at the school.

Achievement information shows very high pass rates in the National Educational Certificate of Achievement (NCEA) for most students over time, including Māori and Pacific.

Data from 2014 to 2017 show that more than 85 percent of students achieve NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3. The number of excellence endorsements continues to increase at NCEA Levels 1 and 3. In 2016 and 2017, approximately 80 percent of students achieved University Entrance (UE). Students win scholarships in a variety of subjects.

In-school achievement information shows that there is parity for Māori students at NCEA Level 1 and Level 3. Data for 2017 show a significant improvement in the number of Māori students who achieved UE. The school sets broad strategic goals to improve in-school parity of achievement for Māori and Pacific students.

Years 7 to 10 students’ achievement in literacy and mathematics is regularly assessed. This information shows that Years 7 and 8 students make good progress over a two-year period.

Teachers, curriculum leaders and deans across Years 7 to 13 monitor individual students who are at risk of not achieving, in order to gauge their progress.

Other valued student outcomes in the school include:

  • respect, service and enacting the special character of Marist Champagnat

  • strong commitment to learning and reaching individual potential

  • leadership, resilience, initiative and adaptability

  • social awareness and effective communication

  • community service.

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

Leaders and teachers have the capacity to accelerate learning for students. The school responds effectively to Māori, Pacific and other young people whose learning and achievement needs acceleration. Concerns about parity for some groups of learners are successfully addressed over time. Staff work purposefully to achieve parity for Māori and Pacific students, and for those with additional learning needs.

The school has very good systems for identifying students whose learning needs acceleration. Student achievement is carefully tracked and monitored by teachers and leaders. Achievement data show that most students make very good or accelerated progress over their seven year period at the school and go on to achieve NCEA qualifications at Level 2 or above.

Leaders and teachers should now consider building a longitudinal picture of achievement and progress across a seven year period. This should include achievement and progress information from Years 7 to 10, and in NCEA and UE. This information would help to clearly identify those teaching and learning approaches that make the most positive difference for students.

Learning support for students with additional needs is well coordinated. There is effective liaison between specialists, classroom teachers and deans. This considered approach helps students to progress, participate fully in appropriate learning programmes and to be involved in all aspects of school life.

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?

Sacred Heart College (Auckland) continues to be an effective educational community for boys in Years 7 to 13. There is a strong focus on achieving equity and excellence for students. High achievement levels have been sustained over time.

School conditions that enable learners to achieve equity and excellence include a caring and collaborative school culture, effective leadership at all levels of the school and a responsive curriculum.

The school’s highly inclusive and collaborative culture enables students to work and learn with and from adults and their peers. This culture, in which diversity is respected and valued by adults and students, is underpinned by the values and beliefs of the Catholic faith and the legacy of the school founder, Marcellin Champagnat. Student surveys indicate that the school’s wrap-around approach to pastoral care successfully supports students’ wellbeing and achievement. Leaders and staff take shared responsibility for providing a strong foundation for learning and success for all students.

School leaders ensure an orderly and supportive environment that contributes to student learning and wellbeing. They build trust and collaboration throughout the school community. Senior and middle leaders deliberately plan personalised learning approaches and systems for students.

The schoolwide curriculum is responsive to students’ strengths, interests and learning needs. Students learn, achieve and progress across a broad range of learning opportunities. Students have effective, sufficient and equitable opportunities to learn.

The board of trustees is highly committed to and supportive of the school’s vision, and is strategically focused on promoting equity and excellence. Trustees work collaboratively with leaders towards achieving the school’s vision, and promoting positive outcomes for students and ongoing school improvement. The board’s resourcing decisions are supporting leaders and teachers to extend learning opportunities and increase in-school parity of achievement.

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

To sustain and enhance existing very good practices that promote equity and excellence, and support accelerated learning, school leaders and trustees should continue to deepen internal evaluation, particularly in relation to stewardship and curriculum. This development would be supported by the explicit use of evaluative focus questions and indicators of effective practice. More in-depth evaluation could usefully focus on gauging the consistency of schoolwide practice and would also include the parent community’s contributions and perspectives to a greater extent.

Senior leaders recognise the value of increasing the specificity of strategic targets for students who are at risk of not achieving parity. This could include targets for Māori and Pacific students’ achievement in NCEA and UE. Strengthening links between professional development, appraisal and student learning outcomes would support greater coherence across the school’s approaches to achieving equity and excellence for all its students.

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.

The board has developed an appropriate plan to address the recommendations of the Ombudsman’s June 2018 findings in relation to the school’s procedures for stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions, and its harassment and bullying policies. The school continues to monitor and review the implementation of these policies.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The Sacred Heart College (Auckland) hostelaccommodates 174 students. It is owned by the New Zealand Marist Brothers Trust Board. The Hostel Company hasattested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The school principal is the chief executive officer of the hostel company.

ERO’s findings confirm that:

  • the positive school culture, based on its special character, is reflected in hostel life for students

  • clear guidelines, expectations and boundaries help students to feel a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing

  • hostel management is efficient and effective in providing a supportive living and learning environment for students attending the school.

Students interviewed by ERO speak positively about the camaraderie and caring ethos in the hostel, the choices available and responsibilities expected of them. They also value the long-term friendships that they make, and younger students appreciated the support of their older peers.

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 were 83 international students attending the school. Robust monitoring systems and internal evaluation processes ensure that the school continues to meet its obligations under the Code.

An experienced team of staff in the school’s international student department provides high quality support for international students’ education and wellbeing. Learning programmes, including those for English language learning, are tailored to students’ individual needs. International students achieve very well in their studies for NCEA and participate widely across all aspects of school life.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an inclusive and collaborative school culture that promotes a sense of belonging, service and learning success

  • school leadership that is responsive, and actively supports equity and excellence

  • a responsive curriculum that engages students in learning

  • the board’s strategic commitment and resourcing to increase in-school equity and excellence.

Next steps

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

  • deepening internal evaluation to measure success and support ongoing development and improvement

  • more specific strategic target setting for students who need accelerated learning progress.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

15 November 2018

About the school


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Year 7 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      100%

Ethnic composition

Māori                               12%
Pākehā                             59%
Asian                                9%
Samoan                           7%
Tongan                             5%
other ethnic groups           8%

Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

15 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review             May 2014
Education Review             September 2009
Education Review             June 2006

Sacred Heart College (Auckland) - 21/05/2014

1 Context

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

Sacred Heart College has a significant place in New Zealand’s Catholic education history. It celebrates over 100 years of Champagnat Marist education and over 50 years of schooling on the current site in Glendowie, Auckland. The college promotes strong intergenerational family and community connections, including a highly supportive Old Boys’ network. Students are confident and are respectful of each other and staff. Older students show care and take responsibility for supporting younger boys to become fine Marist men.

The school culture, based on Marist virtues and values in action, is strengthened by the presence and involvement of Marist Brothers who live and teach on site. These aspects, along with the boarding facility, promote pride in the school and reinforce the sense of belonging and wellbeing that students, staff and parents have in their Catholic school and community. Students demonstrate a responsibility to uphold their faith, and schooling legacy and traditions.

The college continues to be a high performing educational community for boys in Years 7 to 13. The environment is attractive and school facilities have been extended to include a new auditorium, opened at the end of 2013. This space enables the whole school to come together for assemblies, celebrations and performances. Since the 2009 ERO review all classrooms have been refurbished and the Pompallier wing, housing Years 7 and 8 students, has been extended. Students' learning is enhanced by their access to good quality equipment, facilities and experiences.

The school continues to benefit from the stable and strategic leadership of the principal, senior team and board of trustees. They value external review, and use recommendations provided both by ERO and the Catholic diocese to further promote learning opportunities for students.

2 Learning

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

Student achievement in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1, 2, and 3 continues to be very high, and is significantly higher than national norms. In 2013, students won 47 scholarships in a variety of subjects. University entrance (UE) results and NCEA qualifications with merit and excellence endorsements continue to increase. Senior leaders set targets higher than expected nationally, so that students are continually challenged to improve.

The board uses student achievement information to make well considered resourcing decisions. School leaders and teachers use a variety of data to set student achievement targets. This approach to data use is being applied increasingly well for students in Years 7 to 10.

Teachers and leaders have high expectations for all students to succeed well. Students throughout the school make very good progress and achieve to high levels. Teachers use student achievement information very well to design learning programmes that cater for students’ individual learning needs and to accelerate the progress of different groups of students.

Students in Years 7 and 8 make very good progress, with most achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s data shows that students who attend the college in Years 7 and 8 are better placed to make good progress and achieve well in Years 9 and 10 than are students who join the college from other schools at Year 9. Leaders in the intermediate area of the school are continuing to support students to understand their own learning, and to set and evaluate their own learning goals. Senior leaders and the board are now preparing to review and amend both the school’s assessment policy and the charter so that these documents include National Standards information.

Learning support for students is very well resourced and managed and has a positive impact on promoting student learning. Staff focus on removing barriers to students’ potential learning successes. They develop personalised programmes, often using digital devices that support students’ learning and help to accelerate their progress and achievement. Student progress is carefully monitored and regularly reviewed.

Participation and success in sports, culture and other co-curricular ventures are valued by students, parents and staff. Students are actively encouraged to be involved in pursuits outside the classroom. There is a high level of student engagement in the school’s spiritual life, service to the school and community, and leadership throughout the school. This involvement is seen as a way to broaden student interests and experiences, and strengthen the sense of brotherhood evident throughout the school. The school has good data to show the strong connection between student engagement in co-curricular activities and their active engagement in learning.

Senior leaders are now considering ways to further strengthen their evaluation of student achievement information. They recognise that deeper critique and questioning of information could create more powerful opportunities for spontaneous and strategic self review. Leaders of the Years 7 and 8 areas acknowledge that a key next step is to further promote opportunities for students to be self-managing learners.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s broad curriculum is increasingly focused on students’ interests, talents, strengths and needs. It promotes and supports student learning very effectively. In classrooms, students are settled, appropriately challenged and engage actively in their learning. They have positive relationships with each other and their teachers. Students in the senior area of the school enjoy smaller class sizes and good opportunities for individualised teacher support.

Students and school leaders value and respect teachers for their skill and expertise, and for their commitment to promoting positive outcomes for students. Teachers’ professional learning programmes and performance appraisal systems support ongoing changes to teaching practice. The school has recently introduced digital netbooks for all Year 9 students. Other students are able to bring and use their own digital devices as tools for learning. Senior leaders and curriculum leaders are supporting teachers to use this digital technology to enhance teaching and learning.

Pacific students make up 14% of the student population and the school has a strategic focus to improve and promote Pacific student engagement, progress and achievement. Pacific students achieve very well in NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, and their Level 3

University Entrance (UE) achievement is significantly higher than that of Pacific students nationally. They also achieve well, and represent the school ably in, various leadership and service roles. Pacific parents connect to the school through regular fono, and through the support they provide for Pacific cultural groups and events.

Student wellbeing is a priority at Sacred Heart College. The pastoral care team ensures that high levels of care permeate all aspects of school life, promoting student and staff wellbeing and learning. Students contribute to ongoing improvements in teaching practice, curriculum development and school culture. There are many opportunities for parents to be part of the school community, to share their opinions about the school and to be involved in their sons’ learning.

Curriculum courses develop from student interests and needs. All students receive well structured careers information, guidance and support. Parent partnerships, especially for students in the upper senior school, form an integral part of decisions made as students plan for lives and careers beyond the college.

Senior managers are well positioned to strengthen their review of different aspects of the school’s curriculum and its alignment with the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum. They are also keen to explore a more strategic approach to promoting teacher professional learning and leadership.

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

There are 113 Māori students at Sacred Heart College. The school is promoting Māori success very effectively and makes very good strategic decisions around leadership, staffing and resourcing. Māori students are very well supported in their learning and wellbeing. Teachers have had professional learning in te reo Māori, and Māori contexts are increasingly evident in curriculum areas.

Māori students throughout the school achieve to high levels in academic, sporting, cultural and other co-curricular pursuits. They are well represented in leadership positions, both in the school and in the school hostel. Māori students are increasingly involved in decision-making. The mana of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori is promoted. Māori students are supported to reconnect with their own whānau, hapu and iwi and to respect the relevance of local iwi and history.

Māori whānau engage well in the life of the school and attend regular hui. In partnership with school leaders, whānau promote school-wide Mataariki celebrations, initiated the Year 13 kapa haka dinner and have strengthened the school’s participation in regional cultural festivals. The board and senior leaders respond to the aspirations whānau have for their sons to achieve success as Māori.

The board and senior leaders, in consultation with whānau, are now exploring ways to enhance the school-wide approach to promoting educational success for Māori, as Māori.

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 principal continues to provide students, staff and the community with strong professional leadership. The board, principal and staff are committed to promoting excellence as a culture throughout the school and to the role the school plays in helping shape boys into good Marist men.

Senior leaders are a cohesive, respectful and supportive team. They have well defined areas of leadership and steer towards meeting the school’s strategic goals. Self review is very well understood and used at different levels of the school as a tool for promoting ongoing improvement.

The board of trustees is well led and committed to the continued success of students and staff. Trustees support the school’s strategic direction. They provide effective financial management and high quality facilities. In keeping with the Champagnat Marist tradition, trustees work to ensure that all students have equal opportunities.

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

At the time of this review there were 63 international students attending the school. About 30 of the international students stay in the school’s boarding hostel. The remaining students live with homestay families or their own families.

International students receive very good levels of pastoral care and high quality education, including English and first language learning and support. The director of international students and his team help ensure that students are well known by staff and students. They have very good processes and systems for the administration and management of the international students’ programme, including effective self review to promote ongoing improvements.

Some international students are involved in the wider life of the school, such as music, sporting and cultural events. The new head of English language learning is keen to extend international students’ involvement in the school community.

Provision for students in the school hostel

The Sacred Heart College Hostel accommodates 164 students. It is owned by the Marist Brothers Trust Board. The board has attested that all the requirements of the Hostel Regulations are met. The school principal is the chief executive officer of the hostel company. The director of boarding is also the school’s director of special character.

Particular features that make Sacred Heart College Hostel a good and safe place for boys include:

  • the well considered guidance and leadership of the director of boarding and the commitment of all staff to promoting a positive hostel environment
  • clear guidelines, expectations and boundaries that help students to feel secure in their living environment
  • increased student input to hostel review and improvement
  • the strong camaraderie and caring ethos throughout the hostel environment.

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.

ERO is satisfied the college is meeting these obligations to a high standard.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

21 May 2014

About the School


Glendowie, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 100%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā




South East Asian

other Pacific









Special Features

School hostel

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

21 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2009

June 2006

December 2002