Bishop Edward Gaines Catholic School - 03/07/2019

School Context

Bishop Edward Gaines Catholic School is a small, integrated primary school located in Tokoroa. The school caters for students in Years 1 to 8. It has a diverse ethnic roll of 42, including 15 Māori students and six students of Pacific heritage.

The school’s vision is to empower students to be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners instilled with gospel values so that they are well prepared to believe, enrich, glorify and serve as 21st century citizens.

Bishop Edward Gaines Catholic School’s strategic goals for 2019 are to:

  • enhance the special character of the school
  • successfully implement principles of learner agency in order to accelerate and lift achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the previous ERO report in 2016, there has been a leadership change with the appointment of a new principal who began at the school in term 4, 2018. The school has also re-developed its classroom block.

The school is a member of the Rotorua Catholic Faith-Based Community of Learning (CoL)|Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving excellent outcomes for some students but is not yet achieving equitable outcomes for all students.

The school’s achievement data for 2018 shows that the majority of students achieved expected national curriculum levels in reading and writing, and most students achieved expected national curriculum levels in mathematics.

There is a pattern of significant disparity for Māori and Pacific students who achieve at lower levels than their Pākehā peers. Achievement data for reading in 2018 shows that approximately one quarter of Māori and less than half of Pacific students achieved at expected curriculum levels. In writing, less than half of Māori and Pacific students achieved at expected curriculum levels. In mathematics, less than half of Pacific students achieved at expected curriculum levels.

The achievement level of boys and girls is comparable in mathematics. However, significant disparity of achievement in reading and writing remains for boys who achieve less well than girls.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is beginning to respond to the urgent need to accelerate the learning of Māori and other students who need this.

The school is able to show that some students are making accelerated progress in 2019. However, achievement data has only recently begun to be analysed to identify the progress of individual students and longitudinal analysis is not yet available.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Students learn in a caring and inclusive environment. Classrooms are settled and relationships between teachers and students are positive and respectful. Tuakana/teina relationships are evident inside and outside classrooms where students support one another academically and socially. Students participate in a range of curriculum contexts that enable integration of te ao Māori. Transitions between the junior and senior class are responsive to student needs and a flexible cross-grouping structure supports the extension of learning for gifted and talented students. A focus on hauora and holistic wellbeing underpins the identification and support of students with additional needs.

Leaders and teachers are building useful community partnerships to support learning. Collaborative goal setting for learning includes whānau and students. Leaders and teachers undertake community consultation to seek the aspirations of parents and share achievement information. The school enables equity of access to learning through supportive funding mechanisms and partnerships with local schools. This ensures the full breadth of the curriculum is available to students. Students benefit from the school’s ongoing relationship with the adjacent community marae.

Leadership is implementing processes to improve learning outcomes for students. A recent review of aspects of school organisation and operation has resulted in the development and introduction of systems to support the identification and monitoring of students whose learning needs to be accelerated. Student achievement and progress information is collected, analysed and reported to the board of trustees. Leadership’s decisions are aligned to the school’s strategic goals and prioritise professional learning that will meet the immediate needs of students and teachers.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Leadership needs to continue to build teacher capability. Use of the newly-developed processes to support teachers’ planning for at-risk students needs to be embedded. Teachers need to continue to build their knowledge and understanding of formative assessment practices to support increased student agency of learning.

Leadership needs to develop and implement strategic internal evaluation processes to monitor and understand the impact and effectiveness of school-wide initiatives and changes to organisational practices. Outcomes need to be reported to the board of trustees on a regular basis and used to inform ongoing planning.

Trustees need to increase the scrutiny of student achievement data to identify priorities and make strategic resourcing decisions focused on accelerating the learning of target students.

3 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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Bishop Edward Gaines Catholic School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • inclusive practices that support student wellbeing and sense of belonging
  • community partnerships that enrich opportunities for students
  • collaborative leadership that prioritises improving outcomes for students.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing building professional capability and collective capacity to respond effectively to the learning needs of at-risk students
  • internal evaluation to inform strategic planning with a focus on equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners
  • robust scrutiny of data and evaluative information at governance level to understand the effectiveness of the school in achieving valued student outcomes.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

3 July 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1 – 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 27 Female 15

Ethnic composition

Māori 15
NZ European/Pākehā 8
Filipino 8
Other Pacific 6
Other ethnic groups 5

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

3 July 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2016
Education Review March 2013
Education Review December 2011