St Albans Catholic School (Christchurch) 12/09/2008
To the Parents and Community of St Albans Catholic School.
These are the findings of the Education Review Office's latest report on St Albans Catholic School.
St Albans Catholic School is an integrated school in Christchurch that caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The school's mission is to provide quality education within the framework of Catholic beliefs, practices and traditions.
Since 2005, the school has made some positive progress towards addressing the recommendations of the last ERO review. Curriculum guidelines have been developed that provide clear expectations for learning and teaching. The principal and teachers have continued to develop an integrated, inquiry-based approach to teaching the wider curriculum and an electronic database has been installed to collate achievement information.
This ERO review evaluated the quality of learning and teaching. ERO also evaluated the professional learning and development of teachers, the progress made in the achievement of Maori students and some aspects of the physical and emotional safety of students.
Students learn in a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment and benefit from a strong sense of belonging. They show good understanding of the values and virtues that are the cornerstone of the school's special character.
The positive culture and special character of the school are strengthened by:
~strong links with the local parish and a supportive community;
~the respectful relationships between the board, teachers, students and the wider community and;
~the range of ways that the principal encourages parents to be involved at the school and in their children's learning.
Teachers deliver effective mathematics, reading, written and oral language programmes. They use a range of up-to-date teaching approaches that contribute positively to students' learning. Particular strengths are the questioning techniques used to encourage students to think deeply and the attention given to the development of oral language skills. ERO observed students responding in confident and articulate ways. In all classes during the review students were well behaved and courteous.
Students enjoy a broad range of learning opportunities across the New Zealand Curriculum and in religious education. For example, a recent school production involved all students and high quality visual art is displayed in classrooms and the wider school environment. Students with particular learning needs are supported effectively by well trained teachers-aides and external agencies.
The next steps for the school are:
~to give students more opportunities to work cooperatively and take increased responsibility for their own learning;
~for teachers to share best practices so that the effective teaching practices evident are better established; and
~to analyse and use achievement information to make informed decisions about improving teaching and learning and to make achievement targets more specific.
The school is supported by the collaborative leadership of the principal and a committed board. The trustees have good procedures for managing the school and ERO identified no areas of concern about student safety or board governance.
ERO is confident that the board of trustees can manage the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report.
ERO is likely to review the school again as part of the regular review cycle.
Review Coverage ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.
If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.
Isabell Sinclair Irwin
for Chief Review Officer