St Joseph's School (Kaikoura) - 20/05/2015

Findings

St Joseph’s School is a high-performing Catholic school. Most students, including Māori students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s curriculum strongly supports students to become self-managing learners. The principal and board provide effective leadership and direction. The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1. Context

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

The school's special Catholic character and shared values are strongly reflected in the respectful and caring relationships among students, staff and the board.

The board and staff have high expectations for learning and behaviour. The school culture is inclusive and caring of student wellbeing.

Parents and the wider community are welcome in the school and regularly participate in, or contribute to the school’s programme and their children’s learning.

Trustees are highly committed to the school and have successfully addressed the recommendations outlined in the ERO 2012 report.

2. Learning

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

Student achievement information is well used to plan programmes and provide specific resources that engage students in learning. Results show that significant numbers of students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers effectively plan a wide range of learning experiences for students in and beyond the school environment. The board readily supports school programmes through appropriate resourcing decisions.

Students confidently talk about their learning and willingly share their knowledge with others. They are encouraged to make purposeful decisions about their learning. Senior students effectively use a variety of technology to carry out research projects that enhance their personal interests and learning. They have many opportunities to participate in activities that are closely linked to their possible future learning and career pathways.

Students and teachers are well supported by qualified and trained teacher aides. Parents are regularly informed of their children’s learning, progress and achievement.

Area for review and development

Teachers should more clearly report to parents about how well students are achieving knowledge and skills in areas of learning beyond reading, writing and mathematics.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum strongly supports students to learn in a collaborative environment. Students are able to learn through programmes specifically planned to meet their individual needs.

Teachers reflect on their practice and greatly benefit from their ongoing professional sharing and collaboration. They skilfully use a wide range of strategies, including the explicit teaching of skills, to support students’ learning. They provide good models of respect and caring for the wellbeing of others.

The principal and teachers carefully consider students’ ideas when planning and deciding on programme content and how to successfully manage behaviour. The school-wide professional learning and development programme effectively builds high-quality teaching and expectations.

The principal uses the strengths of the staff to support student learning and provides opportunities for all staff to take on leadership roles.

ERO observed high levels of student engagement in their learning activities.

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

The principal and staff effectively promote a positive, nurturing culture within the school. Older students willingly support and care for younger students.

Māori students are achieving above national expectations in reading and writing. They are achieving above Māori students in other schools locally and nationally, in reading, writing and mathematics.

In some classes, students are able to regularly hear and use te reo Māori and learn about tikanga Māori in meaningful ways. This includes a mihi in preparation for their visit to their local marae, and Māori phrases that are incorporated in their prayers. Kapa haka is available in the school and in the community. Senior Māori students are able to take cultural leadership roles.

Area for review and development

Teachers should consider ways that all students can learn about the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa/New Zealand in a meaningful and ongoing way.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

The experienced principal provides strong professional leadership. The senior leaders have developed highly organised management systems using the strengths of the staff. The staff work well together and have a positive team culture.

The board efficiently carries out its responsibilities. Trustees are strongly committed to building and maintaining a positive learning environment for students and staff. They have a well-planned approach to setting priorities that support students’ learning and wellbeing.

The board and staff maintain close ties with the parish and wider community, making sure that they are well informed of school events and successes. The community is supportive of the school and regularly contributes to school programmes or to fund-raising efforts.

The board and principal are well focused on making improvements to the school environment and to the teaching programmes. They have begun discussions about ways to maintain the sustainability of the governance of the school. They are well supported by the positive contributions of the staff, parents, parish and community.

Areas for review and development

The board and principal should improve the quality of the annual targets by identifying the amount of progress students are expected to make.

The board should, over time, review the effectiveness of its governance in meeting the needs of the school.

The principal and board should provide regular opportunities for students and staff to contribute their views anonymously about teaching and learning.

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.

Conclusion

St Joseph’s School is a high-performing Catholic school. Most students, including Māori students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school’s curriculum strongly supports students to become self-managing learners. The principal and board provide effective leadership and direction. The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

20 May 2015

About the School

Location

Kaikoura

Ministry of Education profile number

3530

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

88

Gender composition

Boys 45;

Girls 43

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Other ethnicities

65

19

4

Special Features

Special character

Review team on site

March 2015

Date of this report

20 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

May 2009