St Joseph's School (Grey Lynn) - 28/06/2013

1 Context

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

St Joseph’s School (Grey Lynn) is a small inner city school providing a Catholic education for students from Years 1 to 6 and for girls to Year 8. The school is closely linked to its local parish community. It promotes family and church values, and provides an inclusive environment for all students and their families. Positive relationships and high expectations of students and staff are strong features of the school.

The school has made significant progress since ERO’s 2010 review. The principal has developed a cohesive team of leaders who have worked collaboratively with a SAF (Student Achievement Function) practitioner from the Ministry of Education and other advisors to promote ongoing school improvement. Teachers have been supported to grow professionally through internal and external professional learning opportunities.

The strategic appointment of a curriculum leader has resulted in significant curriculum development and has helped strengthen the home-school partnership. A real sense of a learning culture has developed in the school and parent community. This partnership is supported through innovative ways of involving parents in their children’s learning, and effective communication between the school, parents and the parish community.

2 Learning

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

School leaders and the board of trustees use achievement information well to determine school priorities. They understand the need to accelerate the progress of students who are at risk in their learning.

Most of the students are of Pacific heritage and are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Students are motivated and highly engaged in learning. They interact respectfully with teachers and each other. All students are supported by and benefit from the school’s good pastoral care systems and inclusive practices.

The school uses progress and achievement information to engage parents in supporting their children’s learning. After-school programmes, such as the homework centre and other support programmes, are available for students needing extra help. Special programmes target students who need to accelerate their progress. The school is beginning to collect some rich information about the usefulness of these programmes.

Professional learning activities provide teachers with opportunities to have useful conversations about targeted students and their progress. Teachers are becoming more skilled at making accurate judgements about students’ learning levels. Leaders agree that teachers should now plan more specifically for the strengths and learning needs of targeted students within their classes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school has made significant progress in developing a curriculum that promotes and supports student learning.

The school’s new local curriculum, ‘Aranui’, empowers students to have input into their learning contexts and offers opportunities for them to use their experiences and backgrounds in their learning. The curriculum values students and recognises their identities, languages and backgrounds. It provides increased opportunities for student leadership and decision-making. The curriculum includes a greater emphasis on acknowledging and celebrating students’ learning, both in classrooms and with parents.

Teachers have used professional learning to reflect on their teaching and promote good teaching and learning across the school. Their content knowledge has increased and collaborative working relationships have supported the development of a more visible learning community.

ERO and school leaders agree that the key next steps for school leaders and teachers are to embed the school’s new curriculum and to develop assessment procedures to be used in all learning areas.

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

Māori students experience success as Māori and achieve good results in reading, writing and mathematics. The school is developing its te reo programme across all classrooms. The school’s learning expos facilitate the involvement of parents and students. Hui are planned to further promote engagement with Māori parents. The use of kaupapa Māori for welcoming visitors is well embedded in school practice. Kaumātua and whānau contribute willingly to school events. Māori students are supported to take on leadership roles and are acknowledged for their cultural input and expertise.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

St Joseph’s School (Grey Lynn) is becoming increasingly well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The principal models ongoing learning and uses the strengths of others to build leadership amongst the staff. She has developed positive and effective relationships with the board of trustees. Shared values and beliefs enable trustees to work as a cohesive team. Good working relationships are well embedded and are a key priority for the school.

The board engages in training and strategic planning, using annual retreats to build shared values. Decision making is focused on improving student outcomes and progress towards achieving goals is monitored. Trustees are clear about their roles and responsibilities. Their extensive knowledge of the school community has a positive impact on parents becoming engaged in their children’s learning. Staff and trustees have built strong links with Māori whānau.

ERO and school leaders agree that next steps include:

  • consolidating and building on the school’s sound management and governance processes and systems
  • reviewing all board operations, including strengthening and formalising governance and management processes, and setting strategic goals for board development.

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.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

28 June 2013

About the School

Location

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1493

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

81

Gender composition

Girls 51 Boys 30

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Samoan

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

Filipino

Fijian

Indian

3

1

54

12

5

3

2

1

Review team on site

May 2013

Date of this report

28 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2010

September 2007

June 2004