St Joseph's School (Hastings) - 06/09/2018

School Context

St Joseph’s School (Hastings) is an integrated Catholic primary school providing education for students from Years 1 to 8. At the time of this evaluation the growing roll has 184 students with 21% identifying as Māori and 13% of Pacific heritage.

The school’s mission is ‘that every child reaches their highest level of achievement in an inclusive, supportive and caring Catholic environment’.

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

  • progress and achievement in relation to reading, writing, mathematics, religious education and integrated units

  • development and enactment of the special Catholic character.

There have been changes in board membership and staffing since the May 2015 ERO report. A new director of religious education was appointed in 2017.

Since the previous ERO report, leaders and teachers have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) in literacy, mathematics, religious education, play-based learning and sporting skills. In 2018, they are working on the play-based learning approach and whole school mathematics.

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?

Most students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Reported school wide achievement data indicates little disparity between groups of students.

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

Accelerated progress is evident for some students including those with additional needs. Further refinement of processes to measure rates of acceleration is required.

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?

Leadership and trustees are committed to upholding the school’s special character, mission and the positive development of the whole child. The board is highly supportive of the principal, staff and school and resource a wide range of learning opportunities, especially sports. They regularly receive and discuss schoolwide achievement information with the principal and leaders. Good use is made of Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Boards of Trustees, to support their ongoing review.

All parents and the wider whānau are welcomed into the school. Parents’ and students’ views and comments are regularly sought by the board and leadership to inform current and future direction. The school enjoys strong community and parish support of school events and celebrations.

Classrooms are welcoming, settled environments and interactions are respectful. There is a clear focus on student wellbeing. Teachers care about and promote students’ success and participation in learning. They work together collaboratively. Syndicate teams take collective responsibility for tracking and monitoring target students. A distributed model of leadership is providing greater opportunities for teachers to take on new roles and responsibilities.

The school curriculum reflects a focus on the special Catholic character, literacy and mathematics. There is a strong emphasis on science, physical activities, coding and robotics. Ongoing development in mathematics contributes to richer learning tasks for children. A kaiako with expertise in te reo me tikanga Māori supports staff to grow their understanding and works with classes each week. A play based initiative has been recently introduced for junior students and teachers report improved levels of oral language development.

There are a wide range of strategies and resources used to support students with additional needs. Their progress is regularly monitored and reported. External support is effectively accessed and well utilised.

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

To enable a sharper focus on achieving valued outcomes for all students, trustees and leaders should deliberately align all school processes and systems such as strategic and annual goals, the curriculum, PLD, teaching as inquiry and appraisal.

A key next step is for trustees, leaders and teachers to deeply evaluate data and evidence to measure the impact of targeted teaching, programmes and initiatives on student outcomes. This should lead to more systematic evaluation aligned to school priorities, and assist the board to continue to make informed resourcing decisions. Strengthening writing assessment practice is also needed.

To further strengthen and provide a more coherent approach, the curriculum should include an overarching document that draws together the school’s mission, special character and unique place in the community. It should also provide explicit guidelines for: teaching and learning; ways to support children to lead and assess their learning; the further integration of te ao Māori; and provisions for Pacific, Indian and other learners.

Teachers have participated in an updated appraisal system based on the Standards for the Teaching Profession. To strengthen and promote professional growth, the school needs to further clarify this process by developing clear expectations of the leadership component, goal setting, observations and teaching as inquiry.

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.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • update policies and procedures that relate to student safety and wellbeing to ensure they meet all current and relevant legislative requirements.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • shared direction and partnership of the board and leadership, informed by community consultation, that focuses on student achievement, wellbeing and community involvement
  • a wide range of strategies and resources used to support students with additional needs
  • positive learning relationships with parents, extended families and the wider community, that actively support student learning and wellbeing.

Next steps

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

  • aligning all processes and systems so that there is a sharper focus on achieving valued outcomes
  • strengthening internal evaluation schoolwide, so that trustees, leadership and teachers evaluate student achievement information and the impact of teaching programmes to specifically target and resource student learning
  • reviewing the school curriculum so that it prioritises the school’s faith, culture and identity, clearly states expectations of teacher practice and guides schoolwide teaching and learning
  • targeted planning to accelerate learning.
    [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school]

The school has requested and ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

6 September 2018

About the school

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

2677

School type

State Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 – 8)

School roll

184

Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%
Pākehā 36%
Asian 30%
Pacific 13%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

6 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review February 2012
Education Review February 2011