St James School (P North) - 20/11/2018

School Context

Saint James School caters for 191 students in Years 1 to 6 in Hokowhitu, Palmerston North. Māori students make up 18% of the roll and Asian 17%.

The school vision is to grow Catholic, Christian young people who are, confident, connected, lifelong learners, inspired by the teachings of Jesus, and who make a positive difference in their community. This is supported by the school Gospel values: ‘Strive, Acceptance, Integrity, Nurture, Talents and Service (SAINTS)’.

The school’s valued outcomes are for students to develop the skills necessary to ‘Live the Truth’ and to be the best that they can be in their daily lives.

The 2018 achievement goals, aims and targets are focused on strengthening equitable and excellence outcomes for all students with a deliberate focus on those in Years 3 and 5.

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

  • information each term about achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress and achievement in relation to school targets.

Staff have participated in professional learning and development (PLD) with Rangitāne to create an iwi-based curriculum. Other PLD has supported collaborative inquiry and development of the school’s vision and shared Gospel values.

The school is part of the Palmerston North Catholic Schools 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?

Since the February 2014 ERO report the school continues to progress the achievement of equitable and excellent outcomes for all of its learners.

Schoolwide end-of-year achievement information for 2017, indicates that most students, including Māori, achieved at or above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Data over time shows an increase in the percentage of Māori students achieving at or above in reading and writing. Disparity for boys in writing continues to be reduced. By the end of Year 6, almost all students reach expectation in reading and mathematics.

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

Those students whose learning requires acceleration are well known to school leaders and teaching teams. The school continues to make good progress in accelerating the learning for some of those Māori and others who need this.

During 2017, all students identified in the achievement targets made progress. Some accelerated their learning to be achieving at expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Target student data for 2018, shows that the majority have made progress towards the end of year expectations for their time at school.

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?

Clear systems and processes support teaching teams to identify, respond to and track progress and achievement of all students including target learners. Collaborative practices within teams are focused on proactively responding to meeting student needs. Staff demonstrate a shared responsibility for all learners in their teams and share information, strategies and good practices.

Leaders work collaboratively to support all learners across the school. They and teachers know students and their needs well. Structured learning environments contribute to students having increased ownership and negotiation of their ways of learning. Positive and respectful relationships between students and staff contribute to inclusive practices that effectively support all students, including those with more complex wellbeing and learning needs.

The board actively represents and serves the school and its community in their governance role. Trustees and the school staff have a shared purpose and work together in partnership with its community to enhance positive outcomes for learners. Together they use data to inform decision making.

Staff professional learning and development supports the school priority in continuing to promote a more responsive curriculum. Teachers reflect on the effectiveness of their practice and strategies for supporting student outcomes. School leaders encourage all staff to develop their strengths and interests through leadership opportunities.

Leaders and teachers continue to build effective learner-centred relationships with parents and whānau. A wide range of strategies are used to share information between home and school. Transition to and through the school is flexible and responsive to the needs of children and their families. There are strong connections to the wider community.

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

The school continues to extend their understanding and use of internal evaluation to identify what has made the biggest difference in student progress and determine changes needed to ensure all learners are experiencing success.

Trustees, leaders and teachers should now review and evaluate the current learning approaches and initiatives for teaching and learning that they have been inquiring into, to support the continuing development of a culturally responsive and coherent schoolwide curriculum framework.

School leaders have identified that increasing alignment of processes such as appraisal, inquiry and use of internal evaluation should promote ongoing improvements in achieving equity and excellence.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • achieving outcomes that show good levels of achievement for students
  • provision of an inclusive and caring environment that effectively responds to and promotes students’ learning, wellbeing and sense of belonging
  • knowing each student well and using achievement information so that the needs of all, including targeted learners and those with wellbeing, high and or complex learning needs, are met
  • leadership and responsive teaching teams that promote learning
  • strong alignment of its shared vision and gospel values that focus on student outcome.

Next steps

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

  • reviewing, documenting and implementing a coherent, culturally responsive schoolwide curriculum

  • continuing to deepen the alignment of evaluation practices through collaborative inquiries and appraisal to support ongoing improved learner outcomes.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

20 November 2018

About the school


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 - 6) State Integrated

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%
Pākehā 55%
Asian 17%
Other ethnic groups 10%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

20 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, February 2014
Education Review, October 2009
Education Review, May 2006