St Joseph's Catholic School (Opotiki) - 02/11/2017

Summary

St Joseph’s Catholic School (Opotiki) is a state integrated primary school, providing education for children in Years 1 to 8. The school roll of 196 children includes 120 Māori children, 51 Pākehā and 25 from a range of other nationalities. The parish and parent community is proud of the school’s values and special Catholic character and is highly supportive of the school. The school is part of the Rotorua Catholic Faith Based Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

Since the previous ERO review in 2014, significant property development has taken place. The school has established the Whare Manaaki, a new modern learning environment for the senior area of the school. Teachers are working collaboratively in this purpose-built shared learning space. A new large adventure playground has also been built. The school celebrated its 125th Jubilee in 2015.

Data over the past three years shows consistently high levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. There has been significant improvement in achievement of Māori children in reading and mathematics.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Many school processes are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence including:

  • a curriculum that is well designed to provide children with many rich learning opportunities
  • teachers using many effective strategies to engage children and support their learning
  • leaders focusing on improving outcomes for children
  • trustees working in the best interest of the children and the school community to uphold the school’s values and Catholic character
  • positive, trusting relationships with their parents, whānau and the wider community.

Further development is needed to enable all at-risk learners to accelerate and achieve in their learning.

At the time of this review, the 2016 achievement data shows high levels of achievement in reading and mathematics and slightly lower levels in writing.

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school can show accelerated progress for children. The school’s National Standards data from 2014 – 2016 shows consistently high levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. There is some disparity between boys and girls in reading and mathematics. While the school has improved the overall achievement of Māori children in reading and maths over the past three years some disparity remains for Māori in all National Standard areas.

Raising student achievement is an important and valued outcome for all children. The school has accessed professional development for teachers to respond to accelerating children’s achievement in writing. Children who require additional learning support are carefully identified and provided for through individualised learning programmes.

The school has clear expectations for the collection of data and uses a range of appropriate assessment tools. There is a collaborative approach to making overall teacher judgements (OTJs) about children’s achievement in relation to National Standards. Teachers are supported through professional learning discussions, reflections and moderation across the school. Leaders have participated in moderation with other schools as part of their involvement in the Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Many school processes are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence.

The curriculum is well designed. Children are engaged in a variety of authentic learning contexts including leadership opportunities, environmental education, science and the arts. Appropriate emphasis is placed on literacy and numeracy to improve learning. Māori children have equitable opportunities to learn and achieve success and Māori cultural values are highly evident. Children experience rich learning opportunities in a curriculum that provides a strong foundation for learning and promotes wellbeing and belonging.

Teachers use many effective strategies to enable children to experience success in their learning. They are focused on raising achievement for at-risk learners and monitoring progress over time. Teachers know their children well and there are positive, caring and respectful relationships. Classrooms are attractive, well presented and resourced. Children with additional learning needs are well supported through programmes and interventions and their progress is reported to parents and the board. Children are achieving well and are actively involved in meaningful learning opportunities.

Leaders are building teacher capability through focused professional learning and development. They are highly focused on improving outcomes for children. Leaders have built a strong culture of collaboration with the teaching team and are benefitting from participation in the wider education community through the Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako. They are implementing a new approach to teaching as inquiry and appraisal to support effective practice and improve outcomes for children. The principal is strategic in utilising teachers’ skills and expertise to lead curriculum learning in the school. All children have equitable opportunities to learn and achieve.

There are positive and trusting relationships between trustees and school leaders. Trustees uphold the school’s values and Catholic character and bring a range of useful skills and expertise to their roles. They have undertaken training in aspects of governance. The board’s governance manual details clear operational policies and procedures to guide school operations. Children benefit from learning in a well-managed and well-resourced school.

Parents, whānau and the wider community are highly supportive of the school and the principal. Many families have intergenerational connections with the school and feel a strong sense of belonging and pride. Parents have regular opportunities to be informed of their children’s learning and progress and this has been enhanced through the use of digital technology. The school has recently undertaken consultation with Māori whānau to gather their views and aspirations and has strengthened relationships with local iwi. Helpful partnerships for learning are supporting children to achieve and experience success.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Further development is needed to enable all at-risk learners to accelerate and achieve in their learning. There is need for:

  • trustees to scrutinise achievement information and review and develop achievement targets to include all children below and well below National Standards
  • leaders and teachers to develop shared expectations and guidelines for teaching, and consistency of planning
  • teachers to enhance children’s understanding of how to progress to their next levels of learning
  • leaders to strengthen internal evaluation and report on the effectiveness of programmes for identified at-risk learners.

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

  • 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.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • strengthen aspects of internal evaluation, assessment and teaching practice in order to focus on improved outcomes for at-risk learners.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

2 November 2017

About the school

Location

Opotiki

Ministry of Education profile number

1950

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

196

Gender composition

Boys 49% Girls 51%

Ethnic composition

Māori 61%
Pākehā 26%
Cook Island Māori 2%
Samoan 2%
Indian 3%
Chinese 2%
South East Asian 1%
Other Asian 2%
Other 1%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

2 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2014
Education Review February 2011