St Joseph's School (Waitara) - 27/09/2017


St Joseph’s School (Waitara) is an integrated Catholic school that caters for children in Years 1 to 8. The roll of 119 students, incudes 35 who identify as Māori.

The school’s Christian character is central to teaching, learning and school operation and enacted through its values of: Responsibility-Mana Whakahaere; Respect-Manaakitanga; Relationships-Whānaugatanga; Reconciliation-Maungarongo; and Resilience-Manahau.

Since the September 2014 ERO report, positive practices have been sustained. Focus has been maintained on raising the achievement of those children whose learning and achievement need acceleration and developing staff capability to further strengthen practice.

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

Children achieve well at St Joseph’s School (Waitara). National Standard data indicates consistent achievement over the past three years. Māori learners overall, achieve similarly to their peers in reading, writing and mathematics. Children’s progress is well supported over their time at St Joseph’s, with the majority achieving at high levels in relation to National Standards by the time they leave the school in Year 8.

Trustees and senior leaders have an ongoing focus on enabling equitable achievement outcomes for all children. The board and leaders give emphasis to reducing disparities. At the time of this evaluation the majority of children achieved at or above in relation to National Standards. Staff have deliberately focused on factors that positively contribute to Māori success and they are responsive to and appreciative of whānau contributions. Strong focus is given to all learners achieving success across the curriculum, with examples of accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics for those at risk of underachievement.

School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school is effective in responding to those Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school’s internal evaluation of achievement identifies progress over time, with specific actions and programmes to support acceleration in literacy and numeracy. The board makes good, responsive resource provision based on this information.

Accelerated learning is evident for Māori children who are at risk of not achieving. Staff have deliberately focused on factors that positively contribute to Māori success and they are responsive to and appreciative of whānau contributions. Māori children achieve similarly to all children in the school. Most achieve above National Standards expectations in literacy and mathematics.

A good range of national assessment tools is used to support teachers make overall judgements in relation to National Standard expectations. Moderation occurs across classes. This supports the validity and dependability of achievement information. Assessment tools and analysis of achievement are used well to inform teaching.

Specific professional learning in literacy and mathematics has focused on the needs of those students whose progress needs to be accelerated and identifying and implementing strategies to support success.

Children with special education needs are well catered for. Individual education plans guide and support their ongoing development.

Parents and whānau receive useful reports in relation to National Standards. There is a clear focus on children’s progress over time.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

Trustees and school leaders have an ongoing focus on enabling achievement of equity and working for excellence. Well-considered and aligned processes and practices support ongoing improvement and promote the school’s mission to challenge children “to achieve academic success, spiritual growth and positive citizenship, personalised learning and contribution to society.” These include:

  • an effective, culturally responsive curriculum

  • a strong focus on increasing teacher capability

  • robust tracking and monitoring of children’s achievement in literacy and mathematics, with particular attention being given to priority learners

  • internal evaluation systems that positively inform decision making

  • a consistently implemented appraisal process that guides improvement and is responsive to teachers’ development needs

  • strong leadership throughout the school

  • a child and improvement-focused board.

Te ao Māori is woven meaningfully through the school’s curriculum. Teachers use a range of deliberate teaching strategies that effectively engage children in their class learning programmes. The positive learning culture is inclusive of all and promotes children’s growth and achievement. Expectations are clearly stated and support children to achieve success. Student ownership of learning is growing. Creativity is celebrated in class environments.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The school has high quality processes, including for determining its next steps and addressing areas for improvement. To sustain high quality provision for equitable learner outcomes, the school should continue to: focus on priority learners; follow through on actions identified in annual and strategic planning; and grow student ownership of learning.

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

  • 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 excellent educational outcomes. School performance has been sustained over time through well-focused, embedded processes and practices. This school has successfully addressed in-school disparity in educational outcomes.

Agreed next steps are:

  • sustaining the focus on raising student achievement, especially for students who are below National Standard expectations
  • continuing to grow student ownership and responsibility for their own learning.

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

27 September 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 29%
Pākehā 71%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

27 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review September 2014
Education Review June 2011
Education Review May 2008