St Patrick’s Catholic School (Taumarunui) - 15/07/2020

School Context

St Patrick’s Catholic School is located in Taumarunui. Of the 35 students from Years 1 to 8, 15 identify as Māori.

The school vision for students is ‘to show faithfulness, be more responsible and to become lifelong learners’.

The valued outcomes for students are underpinned by: ‘thankfulness; participation and contribution; honesty; listening to God’s call’.

Leaders and teachers reported to the board in 2019, school wide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the November 2016 ERO report, the school roll has declined. The school has undergone significant changes to staffing during 2019, including all new teachers and a newly appointed board chair. At the beginning of 2020 an acting principal was contracted until June 2020.

The school has recently begun participating in the Taumarunui Kāhui Ako.

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?

Trustees and school leaders were not able to provide sufficient, over time information to know how well they are achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Some steps have been taken since ERO’s evaluation to retrieve 2018 and 2017 achievement information, to show student progress and achievement over time.

The principal is supporting trustees and staff to fully understand how well the school achieves equity and excellence for all students. Improved tracking, monitoring and reporting of student achievement have been recently established. These processes are in the early stages of being introduced.

School provided data for the end of 2019, shows a small majority of students achieve at or above expectation in reading and writing. Māori students are achieving better than their peers in reading. Less than half of the students meet expectations in mathematics.

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

The school is working toward effectively accelerating the learning of all those students who need this.

The principal has recently introduced systems and processes focused on accelerating the progress and achievement of those Māori and other students who require this.

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?

Parents, whānau and community are welcome and encouraged to be involved in school activities. The acting principal and staff promote a constructive and respectful tone in classrooms and around the school. The implementation of a positive behaviour programme enables the school’s special character and expectations to be evident in practice.

Students with additional learning needs have appropriate access to internal and external support. Those with individual education plans have goals identified that specifically promote learning and engagement. Additional personnel resourcing supports these children’s participation and learning at school. Classroom conditions support an inclusive environment for learners.

The acting principal and school personnel demonstrate a collaborative approach to improvements required. Teachers promote equity of opportunity for children through a wide range of relevant contexts and experiences.

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

Organisational conditions for the school need further development. These include:

  • revising the school’s vision with the commitment to Māori whānau that informs strategic direction and contributes to curriculum priorities and aspirations

  • strengthening governance practices that effectively provide stewardship to the school; clearly defining roles and responsibilities and increasing reporting to the board in achievement, progress and wellbeing

  • embedding clear expectations, shared understanding and use of assessment information that guide practices for raising achievement

  • strengthening evaluation, inquiry and appraisal processes to better understand the impact of actions and practices undertaken to achieve equity and excellence.

Since the onsite phase of the evaluation the principal is working with staff to develop, document and strengthen the following areas:

  • the localised curriculum to realise the shared aspirations for student success

  • moderation, teaching and learning, student voice, monitoring and reporting

  • reporting to parents so they have a better understanding of curriculum achievement levels and have clear next steps to help their child at home.

A learning pathways process has been recently introduced to show children’s progress in relation to reading writing and mathematics.

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 Catholic School (Taumarunui)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

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 the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collaborative relationships between leaders, teachers, whānau and community that support and enhance students’ learning opportunities and wellbeing
  • conditions that are inclusive of all learners.

Next steps

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

  • clearly identifying, monitoring, and responding to all students at risk of not achieving school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
  • meaningfully engaging the community to contribute to documenting and effectively implementing a curriculum that enacts the school’s vision for student success
  • strengthening information provided to trustees to better inform their governance practice and decision making
  • building evaluation inquiry practice to better understand how well the school achieves equity and excellence for all students.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • consultation with the school’s Māori community

  • provision of career education for years 7 and 8

  • health curriculum delivery

  • 10 year property plan.

In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students

  • comply with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once every two years, after consultation with the school community

  • prepare and review a 10-year property plan covering maintenance and capital property requirements in accordance with Ministry of Education guidelines

  • provide appropriate career education and guidance for all Years 7 and above review policies on a regular basis so that they are up to date and ensure these are easily accessible to parents and whānau.

[National Administration Guideline 1(e), 1(f)], 2(b), [Section 60B Education Act 1989]

Since the onsite stage of the evaluation the school has provided evidence that they have:

  • developed and implemented a policy on managing challenging behaviour and using restraint, that is consistent with the Ministry of Education guidelines on the use of physical restraint, and in compliance with the 2017 Rules.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • assessment, analysis and monitoring practices
  • developing understanding and use of internal evaluation for improvement
  • trustees’ understanding of their roles, responsibilities and legislative obligations, including the provision of children and adults’ safety and wellbeing.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

15 July 2020

About the school

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