St Joseph's School (Stratford) - 20/10/2017

Summary

St Joseph’s School, Stratford is a state-integrated Catholic school in Taranaki. It caters for 239 children in Years 1 to 8 and 12% are Māori. The school’s Catholic character is enhanced through close connection to the neighbouring parish. Some families have long associations with the school.

Since the July 2014 ERO report there have been several changes to leadership.

A number of professional learning and development opportunities support teaching and learning. These include the Accelerating Learning in Mathematics programme, ongoing involvement in a local cluster to support writing development and a strategic focus on strengthening digital fluency.

The school is a member of the Central Taranaki Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

Most children, including Māori, continue to achieve well. The school recognises the need to reduce disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement in literacy. Continuing to develop systems for determining progress and promoting acceleration for specific groups of learners is a next step.

Strong, positive relationships and the values of caring and sharing are evident. Teachers effectively respond to targeted learners through their inquiries and deliberate actions. Leaders support them to develop consistent effective practice. Further development of inquiry and internal evaluation should support this consistency.

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Most children achieve at and above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori learners continue to achieve as well as or better than, their peers in each of the areas. There is increasing disparity between boys’ and girls’ achievement in literacy. Improving boys’ achievement in writing is an ongoing focus for the school.

All children at risk in their learning, including Māori, are clearly identified by teachers and leaders using achievement and wellbeing information. Teachers build their knowledge of children’s learning through ongoing assessment and monitoring of student progress. They effectively respond to targeted learners through their teaching inquiries and deliberate actions, school-based programmes and teacher aide assistance. Regular discussion between leaders and teachers supports decisions about support to promote improvement. There is some evidence of accelerated learning.

Provision for children with additional needs is well considered and supported by good partnerships and the special education needs coordinator. The school is working to improve the usefulness of its reporting to the board about the effectiveness of interventions put in place for these children.

The school is working to build a sense of collective responsibility for children who are not achieving at expectations through:

  • improved collation and sharing of achievement information
  • strengthened systems for identification and monitoring
  • regular review of children’s progress and achievement.

Guidelines and regular discussion are used to help teachers to make overall assessment judgements about achievement in relation to the National Standards. Further development of systems and practices for internal and external moderation should improve the robustness and dependability of these judgements.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has good practices and processes in place to promote equity and excellence.

The curriculum provides children with opportunities to learn about and enact Catholic values. There is an appropriate emphasis on literacy and numeracy. Inclusion of aspects of te ao Māori has been strengthened. Improving opportunities for learning through digital technologies is an ongoing focus.

Strong, positive relationships and the values of caring and sharing are evident. Children are well supported to collaborate and support each other in their learning. They demonstrate confidence and a sense of belonging.

Teachers and leaders are working collaboratively to improve their practice, supported by responsive professional development opportunities. They are open to learning and share their practice regularly. The appraisal process has been strengthened and improved. It provides a robust framework that links teacher inquiry and aligns with school priorities and Education Council requirements. This is promoting teachers’ reflective practice and their ongoing development.

A changed leadership structure supports improved communication and assists teacher development. Senior leaders are working actively and effectively to promote improvement and build consistent practice across the school.

Student achievement and wellbeing are at the forefront of the board’s decision-making and actions. Trustees are well informed and operate effectively as a collaborative team to promote improvement. They are reflective and considered in undertaking their responsibilities.

Close connections with the parish and wider Catholic community provides the school with opportunities for growth and support. Trustees and staff recognise the value of sharing and building knowledge through educational connections and external expertise.

Improved systems provide better support for systematic inquiry and evaluation. A useful inquiry process is helping teachers to more deliberately focus their teaching and reflect on the progress of targeted learners.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

The school is well placed to continue to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for children.

Further development and refining of systems for determining progress and promoting acceleration for learners at risk should include:

  • developing shared understandings of expectations for progress and acceleration
  • deeper analysis and regular reporting of progress in relation to specific, well-defined targets.

The whānau group provides good support for school events which promote te ao Māori and opportunities for families to connect with each other and the school. A useful next step is for leaders to work with whānau Māori to define aspirations for success as Māori at St Joseph’s School.

Curriculum documentation is being reviewed and updated to reflect the focus on improving digital learning. Further development of the documentation should ensure it: appropriately reflects the aspirations held for learners and their families at St Joseph’s School; and, provides clear guidance for implementation and review.

The school recognises that developing a coherent and connected approach to internal evaluation is a next step. Building a shared understanding of an evidenced-based process should deepen inquiry and better support decision making.

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.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

The school has requested that ERO provide them with an internal evaluation workshop.

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

20 October 2017

About the school

Location

Stratford

Ministry of Education profile number

2238

School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

239

Gender composition

Girls 56%, Boys 44%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
Pākehā 83%
Other ethnic groups 5%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

20 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2014
Education Review May 2011
Education Review May 2008