St Francis Xavier School (Tawa) - 14/10/2014


St Francis Xavier School provides good quality, holistic education underpinned by its Catholic character and cultural diversity. Students achieve well. The curriculum fosters students’ self confidence and sense of social responsibility. They benefit from the school’s high expectations and effective teaching. Self review sustains and improves 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?

St Francis Xavier School is a state integrated primary school in Tawa. At the time of this review 193 students were on the roll and 11% identify as Māori, 18% as Pacific and 27% as Asian. The roll continues to grow and includes increasing numbers of English language learners.

The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are embedded in the school's culture. The whakatauki ‘Tu Maia, Tu Aroha – Strength and Gentleness’, underpins all teaching and learning. Well established values and special Catholic character are strongly evident across all aspects of school life. A welcoming and inclusive environment is provided that reflects students' diverse cultural identities.

The focus on service and stewardship encourages students to care for others. Students have many opportunities learn in an environment in which they are supported to develop their spiritual, academic, service, social and physical potential.

There is a strong sense of the school working as a community of learners. Responsibility for holistic student learning is shared. A high level of parent partnership and community involvement and support is evident.

The board and senior leaders responded positively to the October 2010 ERO report. The school has a good reporting history with ERO.

2 Learning

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

School leaders, teachers and trustees use achievement information effectively to promote student engagement, progress and achievement.

The majority of students achieve at and above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve at a similar level to their peers. Senior staff are aware that Pacific students achieve lower in mathematics.

Teachers identify student learning needs well. Detailed analysis of achievement information informs planning and teaching, and the setting of schoolwide targets for improvement. Trustees receive regular in-depth reports about progress. They have a good understanding of trends and patterns over time. High expectations and a shared responsibility for raising the achievement of all students are evident.

The principal regularly discusses assessment information with teachers. This supports them make sound judgements in relation to National Standards. Senior leaders and teachers plan to extend the robust moderation practices in writing to mathematics and reading.

A wide range of good interventions support students’ learning and parents’ involvement as first teachers. Deliberate home-school partnerships support collaboration in students’ engagement, and increased progress. Parents have a variety of opportunities to discuss their children’s learning and achievement in relation to the National Standards. Teachers provide them with useful and timely information about their children’s progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The curriculum effectively promotes student learning and wellbeing. It balances being responsive to students’ interest and strengths while being strongly linked to the school’s special character and cultural diversity. It appropriately integrate the values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Staff have high expectations of students as capable, competent learners. Students experience learning within an inclusive environment that supports diversity and leadership. They know what it means to be a learner at St Francis Xavier School. They are highly engaged and talk confidently and knowledgeably about their learning.

The school has inclusive, responsive systems and practice to support students with special talents and learning needs. Students are involved in a wide range of learning activities in the school and in the wider community. A strong focus on service and stewardship is an integral part of school life. The school works in partnership with families and community to broaden students’ learning experiences.

A deliberate focus on strengthening partnerships with parents of Pacific students has contributed to:

  • increased aiga involvement in their children’s learning
  • improving student engagement
  • a developing sense of belonging and identity.

Teachers actively inquire into the impact of their teaching on learning. They work collaboratively with colleagues to share strategies likely to accelerate progress and provide best outcomes for students. School leaders acknowledge that more deliberately aligning Registered Teacher Criteria with these inquiry processes should further strengthen overall teacher effectiveness.

A well-considered plan informs the direction and ongoing provision of information and communication technologies (ICT) across the school. These are used to supplement teaching, learning and assessment. Teachers support students in using ICT well to enhance their learning and share what they learn with others.

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

St Francis Xavier School effectively promotes educational success for Māori students as Māori. Teachers give priority to building strong relationships with whānau and acknowledge the strength of whānau in supporting their children. Māori students continue to experience high levels of achievement and success.

Trustees and school leaders have consulted with whānau and iwi to determine plans for raising Māori students' achievement. This has resulted in the development of a strategic plan which outlines agreed priority areas. The school actively seeks and uses skills and knowledge of Māori whānau to support staff and students. A strong kapa haka programme supported by the Māori community encourages opportunities for student leadership.

School leaders and trustees demonstrate a strong commitment to further developing culturally responsive practices for Māori. Staff continue to be supported to develop their use of te reo Māori and understanding of te ao Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain good practice and continue to raise the achievement of its students. There is clear alignment between school systems, processes, practices and operation.

School leaders, teachers and trustees are improvement focused. The principal provides good information to the board that informs decision making, target setting and resourcing. Trustees have a clear understanding of their governance role. They have consulted with the school community to develop the strategic plan.

Self review is used well to sustain and improve the school’s performance. The board and school leaders have an ongoing cycle of robust self review that:

  • identifies priorities for improvement
  • develops and implements action plans
  • monitors progress against annual plan goals.

Senior leaders acknowledge that incorporating more questions about impact and effectiveness during self review would strengthen existing processes.

The leadership team, actively led by the principal, connect positively with students, teachers and families. Leadership capacity is built through use of teacher strengths and interests.

Performance management and appraisal support improvement. Teachers’ and leaders’ development goals are aligned to school priorities and supported by targeted professional learning and development.

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.


St Francis Xavier School provides good quality, holistic education underpinned by its Catholic character and cultural diversity. Students achieve well. The curriculum fosters students’ self confidence and sense of social responsibility. They benefit from the school’s high expectations and effective teaching. Self review sustains and improves performance.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region

14 October 2014

index-html-m2a7690f7.gifAbout the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 52%, Male 48%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups






Special features

Integrated Catholic school

Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

14 October 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2010

July 2007

December 2004