St Joseph's School (Rangiora) - 12/09/2013

1 Context

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

St Joseph’s School, Rangiora is located in Rangiora, North Canterbury. Its special character is strongly reflected in the caring and respectful interactions between students, teachers, trustees and parents. The school’s values and Christian ideals underpin all aspects of school life. The students learn in a stable environment with few staff changes.

Teachers and parents have high expectations for students’ learning and behaviour. The school provides a good range of learning experiences for students in and outside the school. Members of the Parent and Family Association (PFA) positively support and contribute to the school’s programmes.

There are three new members on the board of trustees, one of which is the new chairperson. The board and staff maintain close links with parents and the Catholic community.

2 Learning

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

The school effectively uses achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are well engaged in their learning and know the progress they are making against their learning goals. Senior students can confidently talk about their progress and achievement against National Standards.

Teachers gather and use achievement information to plan programmes that appropriately meet the needs of their students. Senior teachers effectively use school-wide data to identify students achieving below school expectations. They set achievement targets to accelerate the progress of these students towards meeting National Standards. Additional learning support within class programmes is provided when needed. Students who need extension work are well catered for within class programmes.

The achievement data indicates that eighty four percent of students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific students are achieving at similar levels to their peers. The data also shows that after one year at school, students make very good progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers report student progress against National Standards to parents at the student-led conferences and through written reports.

Trustees use achievement information to make important decisions about resourcing for learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The principal and teachers have a clear vision of what successful learning looks like for students at every level of the school. They have developed a curriculum and guidelines that outline how they will achieve this vision. The curriculum aptly reflects bicultural perspectives.

Priority is given to the teaching of literacy and mathematics. Students experience a wide range of learning opportunities that include the arts and sport. They are able to develop leadership skills by successfully carrying out responsible roles. Parents are actively involved in a learning partnership with their children.

Teachers are highly focused on improving outcomes for students. Appraisal is aligned with the school goals and identifies the appropriate professional development that teachers need. This results in consistently good quality teaching across the school.

Area for review and development

Teachers have developed a model for better integrating learning areas beyond literacy and mathematics. However, this model is not as well suited to teaching and learning in the junior school. The next step is to clarify a school-wide approach that better includes all curriculum areas and can be used by all teachers.

The board and principal acknowledge the need to review the school’s use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The next step is to extend planning for ICT development, and include guidelines for how it will best support learning and teaching across the school.

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

Māori students have very good opportunities to succeed as Māori. They experience warm, caring relationships within the family groups and with staff. The school’s Māori action plan provides a useful guide for school leaders and teachers. It includes a school-wide programme that supports all students to hear, learn and use te reo Māori and to learn and understand tikanga Māori. Students and teachers are well supported by an experienced resource teacher. School leaders have an established working partnership with the local Māori community where information is shared and joint decisions are made.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

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

The principal provides strong professional leadership. She works collaboratively and effectively with senior leaders using a shared decision-making approach. Her reports keep trustees well informed.

Trustees meet their governance responsibilities well. They effectively work with the principal to support staff in achieving the best outcomes for students. The strategic plan is well developed. It identifies goals that effectively guide school development and improvement.

A significant strength in the school is the strong partnership that exists between parents and the community. Students’ learning and welfare is a shared priority for staff, board and parents. Cross-class ‘family’ groups support students to build positive relationships with each other in a family environment.

Parents are given good opportunities to be part of the school’s wider learning partnership. The PFA actively supports all aspects of school life. Members have a significant role in providing pastoral care for families, actively participating in school activities and providing strong links between the school and community.

The board, principal and teachers strongly focus on school review that directly benefits students. Self review is evident at all levels of school operations. Curriculum review is particularly strong and is well supported by teacher evaluations, and the analysis of information at leadership level. The outcomes of self review are well used to make improvements to learning and teaching.

Area for review and development

The next steps for self review are to further refine the school-wide process by:

  • identifying the key sources of review information
  • simplifying the gathering and recording of this information
  • better linking self review with appraisal.

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.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

12 September 2013

About the School

Location

Rangiora, North Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

4132

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

149

Gender composition

Girls 51; Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Polynesian

Asian

Australian

British

African

73%

7%

2%

4%

2%

11%

1%

Review team on site

June 2013

Date of this report

12 September 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2010

March 2007

April 2004