St Joseph's Catholic School (Takapuna) - 23/05/2014

1. Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

St Joseph’s Catholic School (Takapuna) is a state integrated school for students from Years 1 to 6. The school has a long history of providing education that reflects Mercy values and the principles of courtesy, care, co-operation and courage. An increasing number of students with diverse cultural backgrounds attend the school.

The school’s vision and values promote a shared and cohesive approach to education. The expectation that all students can succeed underpins teaching and learning. Students’ learning and wellbeing is enhanced by the positive school tone and supported by the respectful relationships between students and adults. Students benefit from the help parents provide in classrooms and the board provides additional resources to support students’ learning.

The 2009 ERO report commented positively on the school’s leadership and management. The overall findings of ERO’s 2009 review identified high quality teaching and learning practices and positive outcomes for children. Areas for improvement related to developing inquiry approaches to teaching and learning and strengthening the use of achievement data. The school has made very good progress in these areas.

Plans for the second stage of building development have been approved. This will provide new learning spaces where students and teachers can work collaboratively in flexible, modern learning environments. Systems and practices are being implemented to support teachers to make the transition to new ways of teaching and learning in the 21st century.

2. Learning

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

The school makes very good use of student achievement information to support learning. Teachers use achievement information to respond to the learning needs of different groups of students and to plan classroom programmes. They reflect on achievement information to evaluate the success of their teaching programmes. Students are beginning to develop an understanding of how achievement information can be used to set learning goals.

A range of tools is used to gather, collate and analyse achievement trends and patterns. Robust systems, including internal and external moderation with other schools, support teachers to make reliable overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards. Information presented to the board of trustees assists the principal and trustees to make strategic decisions about resourcing classroom programmes and to set appropriate improvement targets.

A number of initiatives have been implemented to target the specific needs of students who are achieving below expected levels. These additional programmes are well resourced and well managed. These students are closely monitored and school data suggests that they are making good progress.

Students are achieving well. Ministry of Education Public Achievement Information (PAI) shows that most students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Government achievement targets of eighty-five percent achieving at and above the National Standards for reading and mathematics have been reached. Māori and Pacific learners achieve as well as other students and excel in some areas. School charter targets for 2014 are appropriately focused on continuing to accelerate student achievement in writing.

Parents are well informed by clear and purposeful reporting. The school continues to work with its diverse community to increase parents’ understanding of achievement information. School leaders could refine reporting processes for students completing their second and third year of schooling to strengthen the information provided to parents.

3. Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes and supports student learning effectively. The curriculum integrates the school’s vision and Mercy values and clearly reflects the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. A broad range of leadership and sports opportunities enriches students’ experiences and contributes to their engagement, achievement and sense of wellbeing. Students with special needs are included in curriculum programmes. They are well supported by intervention programmes, their peers, and skilled teachers.

Respectful relationships are a feature of the school and provide a strong foundation for high levels of student engagement in learning. Older students proactively take on leadership roles and provide peer learning and support for younger children. The school provides programmes that help students to develop and maintain positive relationships with others. Students and teachers take collective responsibility for creating and maintaining an affirming environment for learning. Strong tuakana/teina relationships are formed between older and younger students and with students from two local secondary schools.

Teachers know students well. They are increasingly recognising and making use of children’s language, culture and identity to enrich the curriculum and support learning. Teachers have high expectations for learning and are increasingly involving students in classroom planning. This use of an inquiry learning model promotes student ownership and responsibility. Students have opportunities to set learning goals and to become independent and self-managing learners.

Attractive learning environments reflect curriculum priorities. Well-resourced and print-rich classrooms support students' learning. Digital technologies are a current focus of the school’s curriculum and teacher development. Teachers are using a variety of e-learning tools to support students’ independent engagement in learning. School leaders have identified that increased use of ICT as learning tools by students and teachers is an ongoing focus.

Curriculum development and implementation is being informed by strategic thinking about ways to respond effectively to the 21st century learner. School leaders clearly articulate the school’s long-term direction, set high expectations, and manage innovation and change effectively. They support teachers to deliver the curriculum through well targeted professional development. This is aligned to professional collaborative approaches that are being promoted by school leaders.

School leaders recognise that curriculum implementation is likely to be further enhanced by:

  • embedding a consistent school-wide approach to professional inquiry into individual and team practices
  • continuing to respond to innovation and change as a result of modern approaches to teaching and learning.

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

Teachers, school leaders and trustees are committed to promoting educational success for Māori students, as Māori. The religious education programme includes Māori perspectives. An external facilitator provides a weekly programme of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori for students in Years 4 to 6. Teachers could now increase the inclusion of Māori language and perspectives in students’ day-to-day learning.

Māori students are engaging and progressing well. The board receives regular information about the achievement of Māori students. The school has developed useful strategic approaches to enhance Māori students’ language, culture and identity. School leaders could now consider ways to make increased use of Ka Hikitia, the Ministry of Education’s Māori Education Strategy.

4. Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and continue to improve its performance. This review finds that the high quality leadership and governance practices noted in ERO’s previous report have been sustained and improved. Effective curriculum and teaching practices have been further enhanced through staff professional development.

The board, consisting of new and experienced trustees, has a clear understanding of the requirements and accountabilities of effective governance. The work of senior leaders and the board is well coordinated through the school’s comprehensive strategic and operational planning processes. Board decisions focus on improving student learning outcomes.

School leadership practices are highly effective. The principal’s collaborative leadership promotes a professional and collaborative school culture. Positive relationships are evident between trustees, the principal, school leaders and teachers. The principal and senior leaders have clear plans for the future direction of the school. Trustees and the principal manage the pace of school initiatives thoughtfully.

Senior leaders have established an effective professional learning community where decisions are based on evidence and ongoing self-review. Performance management systems encourage teachers to take responsibility for their own learning.

Self-review processes are well understood, effectively used, and promoted by trustees and school leaders. To further enhance the school’s self-review systems, school leaders could evaluate and record the impact of programme and school goals on students' learning. This would be useful information for the board and could inform future reviews and decision-making.

The board, school leaders and staff have developed good relationships with parents and with the wider community, including a number of local schools. Continuing to build stronger partnerships with the diverse cultures that make up the school community is an ongoing priority. The school is considering how to make use of the Ministry of Education’s Pacific Education Plan to measure the school’s progress in supporting the language, culture and identity of Pacific students.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

23 May 2014

About the School

Location

Takapuna, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1498

School type

Integrated Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

360

Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Filipino

Indian/Sri Lankan

Middle Eastern

Chinese

Samoan

Korean

Other Asian

Other European

Other ethnicities

1%

52%

19%

10%

7%

3%

2%

1%

2%

1%

2%

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

23 May 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2009

August 2006

March 2003