Thursday, 10 September 2009

On Close Inspection

The following is an extract from our recently released Education Review Office (ERO) report. We are very pleased with what they have to say and you can rest assured that your old school remains in good heart. The full report can be accessed at FDMC ERO Report.

“Francis Douglas Memorial College is an integrated Catholic boys’ college situated among pleasant and well cared for grounds in New Plymouth. The roll is 738 boys in Years 7 to 13, of whom 116 are boarders and 83 are Maori. The special character of the school is reflected in the emphasis on a holistic education based on Catholic principles and the Lasallian
tradition of faith, service and community. Together, leaders and staff encourage students to
become caring, honest citizens.

Students perform very well academically when compared to students from other boys’ schools and those of the same decile. Since the July 2005 ERO report, most students leaving school have attained a formal National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) qualification. In 2008, 73% of Year 13 candidates achieved university entrance, which is well above the national average for similar schools. The principal, newly appointed at the beginning of
2009, articulates a vision for raising the levels and types of student achievement still further. He has begun inclusive staff, community and trustee consultation, and planned intensive professional development for teaching staff. Meaningful departmental reporting to the board, based on the collection and analysis of achievement data, should assist with realising this vision.

Students enjoy participating in a range of sporting, leadership and cultural opportunities within a supportive environment. High levels of care and concern for student welfare, as well as academic progress, are observable in the daily life of the College.

Students work with high levels of enthusiasm and a good deal of productive endeavour in an environment of mutual respect. They are firmly focused on learning, are well behaved and appreciative of thoughtfully selected learning contexts that connect with adolescent boys. The school is a learning community distinguished by positive and respectful relationships between students and teachers and peers.

Managers and staff, of the well-run hostel, provide a high standard of academic, physical and emotional care in a nurturing and safe environment. They allow boarding students to take responsibility for themselves within a framework of College tradition and expectation.

The experienced board of trustees and the capable senior leadership team assist the principal to provide effective and innovative leadership, support his vision for the school and his sensitivity with relationships. Trustees, leaders and staff are considering the demands of, and opportunities offered by, the new curriculum. They are integrating the curriculum with their sound platform of traditional Lasallian values to provide an education that will enable students to face future challenges with confidence.

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 carry out the next review in three years.

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