Our Lady of Lourdes School (P North) - 07/02/2019

School Context

Our Lady of Lourdes School is a state integrated Catholic primary school, located in Palmerston North. The school caters for a diverse range of students in Years 1 to 6. Of the 151 children enrolled, 22 are Māori and 30 are of Pacific heritage. There are 21 children funded as English Language Learners (ELLs).

The vision ‘to provide students with the skills and motivation for life-long learning in a nurturing, Catholic environment’ guides school operation and practices.

School targets, to accelerate the progress and achievement of learners at risk of poor learning outcomes, are set annually. In 2018, raising the achievement of Pacific learners in mathematics was a school priority.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to the school targets
  • attendance.

The school has an experienced leadership team. Longstanding and newly elected members make up the board of trustees.

The school is a member of the Palmerston North Catholic 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?

Achievement data from 2017 shows that most students are achieving at or above The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. 

Nearly all Māori learners achieve successfully in reading, and most in writing and mathematics.

In-school disparity for groups of students is recognised and is an ongoing focus for improvement.

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

Targets to raise the achievement of those students who are not succeeding at expected levels are appropriately set by trustees and leaders. School analysed data indicates that most target students experience acceleration in reading and mathematics through class programmes and interventions. Consistently reporting rates of progress and acceleration for individual or groups of students is a next step for the school.

The school has strengthened its response to students at risk of not achieving through the implementation of ‘Priority Learner Intervention Plans’. This framework enables teachers to determine students’ specific learning needs and plan targeted teaching strategies and interventions to promote their progress.

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?

School trustees, leaders and teachers have a strong focus on promoting the wellbeing of children and their families. A wide range of community relationships enhances their provision for learners and their whānau. The enactment and use of the school’s Catholic character, values and virtues is highly visible. These successfully underpin school practices and respectful interactions. 

Communication processes have been strengthened to enhance positive relationships with families and promote whānau engagement. A range of purposeful strategies provide opportunities for families to participate in their children’s learning and development at school. An appropriate approach nurtures learners’ effective transition into the school. There is an ongoing focus on continuity of learning for students out of the school onto their next learning pathway, through the Kāhui Ako.

Purposeful engagement with local iwi supports an increased acknowledgement of identity, language and culture for Māori students and their families. There has been a thoughtful approach to strengthening the reflection of te ao Māori through the school’s Māori action plan.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies and deliberate actions to engage students in purposeful learning. Well-organised environments successfully foster children’s participation and collaboration in learning. Routines and expectations are well communicated and known. Students demonstrate increasing confidence to make choices about their learning.

An appropriate range of systems, processes and strategies are used to identify, track and monitor the individual needs of students at risk of not achieving at expected curriculum levels. Provision for learners with additional needs, including ELL, are supported through programmes and external expertise.

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

Trustees, leaders and teachers should continue to align and strengthen systems and processes to promote increased acceleration of student achievement. Better analysis of accelerated progress for all groups at risk of not achieving is a next step. This should better inform targeted resourcing and teaching for those learners at risk of underachievement.

Curriculum documents clearly describe valued outcomes for learners aligned to the school’s vision for learning and NZC. There is ongoing development to support the documentation of expectations for effective teaching practice across all learning areas. This should foster shared understandings to better promote positive student outcomes. The school should continue to refine and develop curriculum documents to:

  • reflect and respond to whānau Māori aspirations for Māori learners

  • identify expectations for effective culturally responsive practices across all learning areas

  • clearly articulate a localised curriculum

  • provide guidelines for moderation practices in reading, writing and mathematics.

Developing a shared understanding of evaluation across all levels of the school, to better determine the effectiveness of actions and strategies is a next step. This should assist trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of what has the most significant impact on raising achievement and next steps for development.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were no international students attending the school.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure in-committee minutes are used for discussing and recording matters of a sensitive or confidential nature.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • well promoted school values and virtues that nurture learner success and wellbeing

  • learning environments that promote positive student outcomes

  • pastoral care that responds to students’ and families’ needs to promote their wellbeing

  • relational trust and developing partnerships that engage all stakeholders to contribute to schoolwide success.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening inquiry and analysis of achievement information by trustees, leaders and teachers, to systematically address in-school disparities

  • curriculum development, for a school curriculum that responds better to students’ identity culture and language, and the local context

  • building internal evaluation processes and practices, to better understand the impact of programmes and initiatives on acceleration and achievement for learners at risk of not achieving.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

7 February 2019

About the school


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary School (Year 1 - 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 14%
NZ European/Pākehā 46%
Pacific 20%
Asian 20%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

7 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016
Education Review January 2012
Education Review December 2008