St Joseph's School (Kaikoura)

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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

1. Context

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

Students are well supported by a caring staff, and a positive, friendly school culture. They learn and play in an attractive, well cared for physical environment.

The school’s special character and values are well integrated in students’ learning. The staff encourage parents to be actively involved in their children’s learning.

The school’s isolation has been a motivating factor for the board, staff and students to actively engage with other schools and businesses in the local and wider community. The school has close links with the parish. These links provide students with leadership opportunities beyond the immediate school environment.

In 2009 the board appointed the school’s former deputy principal as principal. The new principal, supported by other experienced senior staff, has provided students and staff with stable leadership and led effective curriculum development.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students learn in well-managed classrooms and are focused on their learning. Teachers have high expectations and use practices that promote good levels of student engagement.

In 2011, most students achieved at the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers have developed effective assessment and moderation practices that support their judgements against the National Standards. Teachers have reviewed how they report student achievement to parents. They involved parents in this process. This resulted in extending student-led conferences across the school and to report formats.

Teachers are making increasing use of student achievement information to identify students at risk in their learning. The board provides resources and staff to effectively support these students to achieve at their expected levels.

In 2010, teachers identified a group of students who needed to improve aspects of their numeracy knowledge. They set a target and made changes to their practices and programmes. These students have now reached school expectations.

Most students make good progress to achieve individual and school expectations. Teachers identify students' interests and provide them with a wide range of learning experiences within and beyond the school. They provide a range of leadership opportunities and relevant programmes to support and extend students’ skills, interests and abilities.

Area for review and development

The principal and board have identified that the next step to further improve outcomes for students is for teachers to continue to reflect on their teaching as inquiry. They have also identified the next level of student leadership through involving students more in school decision making.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

The school provides an inclusive and caring environment. Staff members have high expectations for all students and recognise the uniqueness of every child. Māori students have opportunities to reach their potential using their special abilities.

Most Māori students achieve at levels similar to their peers against national standards in reading and writing. Te reo Māori is an integrated part of the school’s special character.

Students have a range of opportunities to experience tikanga and te reo Māori. These include learning their mihi, visits to the local marae, visiting specialists, and environmental studies.

Area for review and development

The principal and teachers acknowledge their next steps are to extend their understanding and knowledge of realising Māori potential.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s vision, values and the key competencies underpin the curriculum. The board, staff and students have a shared understanding of how they impact on teaching and learning.

The senior leaders have developed useful teaching and learning guidelines for literacy and mathematics to support teachers in their planning.

Students participate in a wide range of learning experiences. These experiences incorporate the local environment and resources and cover all learning areas.

Staff members have had in-depth professional development in mathematics. This has resulted in a shared understanding of the knowledge and strategies of numeracy. Teachers have made changes in the way they teach and implement programmes. This has had significant impact on student engagement, progress, and achievement in numeracy.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school has a strong focus on ongoing improvement. It is in a good position to maintain and further improve outcomes for students.

The board and principal provide strong leadership for implementing change. Trustees are proactive and experienced. The board has developed a strategic plan that is relevant to the school’s culture and is becoming more linked to teaching and learning.

The school’s professional development programme has led to changes in teaching and learning that have benefitted students’ learning and achievement.

The board’s self-review process is effectively implementing change in curriculum and operations.

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
  • 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

About the School

Location

Kaikoura

Ministry of Education profile number

3530

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

Decile*

5

School roll

85

Gender composition

Girls 43

Boys 42

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

Māori

Asian

69

15

1

Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

16 February 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

May 2009

April 2006

March 2005

*School deciles range from 1 to 10. Decile 1 schools draw their students from low socio-economic communities and at the other end of the range, decile 10 schools draw their students from high socio-economic communities. Deciles are used to provide funding to state and state integrated schools. The lower the school’s decile the more funding it receives. A school’s decile is in no way linked to the quality of education it provides.