Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) - 13/03/2020

School Context

Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) is a Catholic primary school for students in Years 1 to 8. The roll is 60.

The school’s vision is for students to live out their Catholic faith and achieve personal excellence by being globally aware, dynamic thinkers, self motivated, effective communicators and actively involved in the school community. Their stated values are: Serenity, Tika, Aroha and Respect (STAR).

Current strategic priorities are for the school to promote the Catholic special character, staff and student wellbeing, an inclusive learning environment, children making academic progress, and positive relationships in the community.

Leaders and teachers have not reported to the board schoolwide information about outcomes for students in 2018 and 2019.

Since the 2016 ERO review the school has had three changes of principal and several staff changes. A new board of trustees has been in place since the 2019 elections. The board has worked to address its fiscal shortcomings and is closely monitoring these. One decision to improve financial management was to move teaching provision from four to three multi-level classes.

Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) is a member of the Aupaki Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning.

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 unable to demonstrate how well it is supporting equitable and excellent outcomes for its students.

Systems for collecting, analysing and reporting on students’ learning outcomes have not been well sustained in recent years.

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

It is unclear how successful the school has been. The outcomes of targets for accelerating students’ learning has not been reported in the past two years.

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 value being in a small school where they learn together and support one another. They indicate that their relationships with peers are friendly and positive. Senior students experience increasing opportunities to take responsibility and leadership in the school.

In classes where the new curriculum approach is being implemented students have increasing opportunities to lead their own learning and collaborate with others. This programme is responsive to students’ interests and builds engagement.

Systems and practices for better supporting students with additional learning needs are being developed. These students are also supported through useful partnerships with a range of external specialists and organisations.

Trustees and leaders are building their governance capability with external support and advice.

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

Leaders’ ability to make and sustain progress is negatively impacted by poor relationships throughout its community. The school needs to work with the community to rebuild a culture of collaboration, create a shared vision for learning and enactment of the special character, and improve communication. External support is likely to be needed to help develop the processes, roles and responsibilities required.

Systems and practices for effective operation of the school, and the planning, delivery and evaluation of the curriculum, have not been well sustained. The need for coherent curriculum guidelines must be urgently addressed to ensure the depth and breadth of the curriculum is delivered and evaluated.

Processes to support the collection, analysis and reporting on students’ learning and wellbeing outcomes, especially those students whose learning needs acceleration, require development.

Trustees and leaders must also ensure that areas of non-compliance raised in this report are acted on. All systems and practices should be consistently implemented across the learning community.

At the time of this review the board was unable to measure the effectiveness of the school in achieving valued student outcomes. Trustees need access to a range of quality student achievement data and to use this to support their understanding of what is going well or not well, and why. They should strengthen their focus on knowing how well the school is achieving equitable outcomes for all groups, including students with additional needs, so resources can be directed to improving these outcomes.

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 Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Christchurch)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • the family-like environment where students benefit academically and socially from knowing each other well
  • its emerging learner-centred curriculum that is building students’ capability to know about themselves as learners
  • accessing external agencies to support the provision of teaching and governance.

5.1 Next steps

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

  • addressing the issues around relationships across the school community that are negatively impacting the school’s ability to make and sustain progress
  • the board achieving effective development, implementation and understanding of policies and practices to support school operations
  • leaders and teachers developing guidelines for curriculum and the use of student learning information
  • trustees’ accessing a range of quality student achievement data and evaluative information in order to direct their resourcing where it is most needed.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

1. The collection, analysis, evaluation and reporting of good quality assessment information so they can evaluate the progress and achievement of students and build a comprehensive picture of all groups of students’ learning across the curriculum.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must, on the basis of good quality assessment information:

  • maintain an on-going programme of self-review in relation to its curriculum policies, plans and programmes [NAG2(b)]
  • report to the school’s community on the progress and achievement of groups (i.e. students who are at risk of not achieving and/or progressing or who have special needs including gifted and talented students) and Māori students [NAG 1(c)], [NAG 2(d)].

2. The requirement to consult with the school community.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community policies, plans and targets for improving the progress and achievement of Māori students [NAG 1(e)]

  • adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least every two years, after consultation with the school community [Section 60B Education Act 1989].

3. The enactment of the school’s cybersafety policy and procedures to avoid inappropriate use of school resources.

In order to address this the board of trustees must ensure its policy and procedures for internet safety are understood and implemented across the school [NAG 5].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the clear and consistent implementation of Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) guidelines and risk management procedures [NAG 5].

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • community relationships and communication with all stakeholders
  • the board’s capability to make use of effective student learning information
  • addressing non-compliance matters.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

13 March 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 31, Female 29

Ethnic composition

Māori 11
NZ European/Pākehā 36
Other ethnic groups 13

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

13 March 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review November 2016
Education Review April 2013