Marist Catholic School (Herne Bay) - 30/04/2014

1 Context

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

Marist Catholic School, in Herne Bay Auckland, is an integrated, multicultural school which caters for students from Years 1 to 6. The school is well supported by the local parish community. It is inclusive and welcomes all learners.

Since the 2011 ERO review, the board of trustees has further developed shared understandings of its governance role and of the relationship between the board and management. The principal and board have developed a productive and collaborative working relationship, enabling them to focus strategically on the future development of the school.

The charism of ‘As Marists, we think, feel and act in the way of Mary’ is evident in the attitudes and approaches of students and staff.

2 Learning

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

Marist Catholic School continues to make good use of achievement information. Most students, including Māori, achieve at or above National Standards. Teachers use multiple sources of assessment information to make judgements about students’ achievement and progress. There is evidence that teachers analyse and use achievement information well.

Teachers use student achievement data to plan and implement programmes to cater for individual learning needs. Leaders use good quality data to set relevant targets, monitor overall progress and to identify students with individual learning needs and those in need of further extension.

Trustees value leaders’ reports on students’ progress and achievement. This information guides their decision making and resourcing. Parents are well informed about their child’s progress and achievement and the ways they can support their child’s learning. Students identify their learning goals and next learning steps with the support of their teachers.

The school has good processes for supporting students to progress. Students know what teachers want them to learn. They discuss their achievements with their teachers and peers. Additional learning support programmes are well monitored to ensure students are making accelerated progress.

Leaders have identified priorities for development that include:

  • raising the number of students achieving above National Standards
  • supporting Pacific students to achieve as well as their peers at the school.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in promoting student learning and engagement. It reflects The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and the New Zealand Catholic Religious Education Programme well. Students learn within the school’s values of ‘Respect, Integrity, Courage and Humility’ and alongside the Māori values of ‘Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga and Arohatanga.’

Leaders and staff model the school’s values. Teachers assert key roles in supporting achievement and wellbeing of the students. Tuakana/teina approaches are practised where senior and junior students regularly meet to build friendships, make connections and support the younger child.

Wellbeing is seen as pivotal for student engagement and achievement. A holistic curriculum approach is envisioned. The school’s essence statement for its health and physical education curriculum includes a focus on learning in a safe, nurturing environment, and acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes to enhance spiritual, physical, mental and social wellbeing. These concepts are integrated into inquiry topics and are also evident in some stand alone curriculum focuses.

Students are encouraged to become questioning, reflective and lifelong learners. They discuss and question learning and share their ideas and perspectives. Teachers give feedback and support students to become confident and aspire to excellence. Good emphasis is placed on the NZC key competencies so that there is a balance of students gaining knowledge and gaining understanding about the processes of learning. Students have weekly te reo Māori and Spanish lessons. Te reo and tikanga Māori is integrated within the school’s curriculum and the religious education programme.

Students often choose their own inquiry to follow within integrated topics. They are also encouraged to work on rich challenges over the course of the year at home. Completion of these challenges is widely celebrated.

Teachers use a strategic action plan as a framework to guide resourcing and their own professional learning. They are currently trialling and reviewing approaches to promote students’ use of digital devices to support their learning. The initiative to use digital devices is in response to feedback the board received from consultation with the school’s community about the school’s charter.

ERO also notes that a review of science teaching and learning is underway to increase students’ motivation, interest and inquiry in science. This review should help keep curriculum documentation in this learning area current.

As a further next step, school leaders and teachers could extend the review of digital learning devices and science to a broader review of the school’s curriculum to ensure that teaching and learning programmes offer sufficient challenge and interest for students.

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

The school promotes educational success for Māori well and continues to provide an environment that acknowledges Māori language and culture. The religious education programme includes bicultural aspects and te reo Māori is both taught formally and integrated into the curriculum. Māori values are reflected in school practices.

The principal and board have introduced an effective initiative to consult with the school’s Māori and Pacific communities. A parent leadership group liaises with the communities and principal. Parents are invited to participate in meetings where leaders and parents share aspirations and information. This positive exercise of working together is growing relationships with parents and school.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to continue to sustain and improve its performance. Parents have a high level of involvement in the school. The strong PTA group has a major focus on pastoral care.

Since the 2011 ERO report, the board has worked with external advisors to develop a governance manual, a code of ethics, and a framework of policies and procedures. This development has helped to clarify roles and responsibilities and helped to make distinctions between governance and management clear. The board is well led and committed to developing the school’s direction and improvements.

Strategic priorities are guided by consultation with the parent community, staff and students. School leaders and teachers have some good frameworks to monitor the effectiveness of school practices. Trustees could now follow the useful guidelines in the school’s governance manual to regularly evaluate their work as a board.

The principal and deputy principal work collaboratively with team leaders and the Director of Religious Studies. Focus is placed on promoting student progress and welfare. Students acknowledge the support they give to each other within the curriculum and school, and appreciate teachers’ help in their learning.

Effective induction practices support new teachers to the school. Teachers’ strengths are valued. The principal recognises teachers’ talents and encourages them to take up leadership opportunities. Teaching and leadership is developed within an inclusive and collegial staff culture. Professional learning is valued by staff and well supported by the board.

The principal and the board acknowledge the continuing challenge of staff turnover and the impact this turnover can have on the growth and sustainability of curriculum development and teaching initiatives. The school is continuing to manage this process.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. At the time of this review there was one international student attending the school. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigation confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough.

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.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

30 April 2014

About the School


Herne Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/ Pākehā




Latin American









Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

30 April 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

May 2008

December 2004