St Joseph's Catholic School (Te Kuiti) - 12/08/2016

1 Context

St Joseph's Catholic School, Te Kuiti, is a well-established state integrated school. It has a roll of 92 children with 18 identifying as Māori. The principal, board and staff have remained largely unchanged since the last ERO review in 2011. The school continues to be an integral part of the local Catholic community and the special character influences all aspects of school life.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are that they become valuable contributors to society who reflect the teaching and values of Jesus Christ.

The school’s achievement information shows that nearly all children, including Māori and Pacific, achieve at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. National Standards data for the past three years shows that the school's achievement has consistently tracked well above national and regional comparisons. There is no disparity between the achievement of Māori, Pacific and other children in the school.

A very small number of Māori children are below the expected standard. School data indicates that most of these children have made accelerated progress in writing and mathematics. In 2014 a group of 11 children who were below the National Standards in writing were identified and targeted in their learning.

The 2015 data showed that all identified students had made accelerated progress to be at, or above National Standard levels. School data indicates that girls achieve as well as boys in reading and writing but not in mathematics, where significantly more girls are below the National Standard. Therefore this year the achievement focus of the school is on mathematics, and children have been identified and targeted to accelerate their achievement. Teachers use moderation processes to check the reliability and validity of achievement information.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on areas for development identified in that 2011 ERO report. These areas related to improving teacher practice, encouraging children to be more involved in their own learning, developing productive learning partnerships among parents, teachers and children, and further promoting a sense of belonging ,identity and culture for Māori children.

Key actions have been particularly focused on accelerating the progress of those children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. Specific targets for identified groups of children are set in the school's strategic plan and implemented across the school. Teaching as inquiry and formative assessment practices are fostered in all classrooms and linked to the teacher appraisal system. Parents are encouraged to be more actively involved in learning partnerships through increased ways of sharing information about children's learning including on-line resources. A comprehensive te reo and tikanga Māori programme is being successfully implemented across the school and in all classrooms.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

This school responds effectively to Māori, Pacific and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school knows the names, numbers and needs of children requiring acceleration. Initiatives in the past two years in writing and mathematics have had a positive impact on accelerating achievement and progress for those children who were below the National Standards.

The school has benefited from the comprehensive professional development undertaken in assessment of student learning, analysis and moderation of data. This has begun to include the use of the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT). The targets and goals set for students are relevant with a challenging focus on improvement and expectations that these students will be at or above the National Standards by Year 8.  Currently targets in Mathematics have been identified where more students are underachieving than in reading or writing.

School systems ensure that all teachers are aware of the needs of each child and take collective responsibility for their well being and progress. Teachers implement teaching as inquiry processes in their classrooms, and specifically plan for and use deliberate acts of teaching to support each child's learning needs. Progress and achievement is carefully monitored, reflected on and evaluated by leaders and teachers. Changes are made to the teaching strategies or programmes if required.

Achievement information is well used by the board and school leadership to set targets and expectations for these students. Targets are based on valid and reliable achievement information. Evidence in teachers' planning and assessment records that most at risk children are making accelerated progress.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school is providing a responsive curriculum with effective teaching and appropriate learning opportunities for all students. Teachers have high expectations, know students and their families well and provide caring, collaborative classrooms where equity and inclusion are promoted. The implementation of teaching as inquiry results in teachers specifically planning for individual students, carrying out deliberate acts of teaching, and reflecting on the impact of their teaching practice on each student. High levels of interest and engagement are apparent for all children.

The board of trustees provides a clear sense of purpose and direction for achieving equity and excellence. The charter, strategic goals, policies and practices are focused on supporting children who are at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes with a special emphasis on Māori, Pacific and those with special needs. The board makes evidence-based resourcing decisions in the best interests of improving outcomes for children.

The principal is providing strong professional leadership by encouraging collective action to accelerate achievement for all children with a special focus on those at risk. There is an environment of high expectations and collaboration in a school-wide culture of review and reflection, which supports and encourages children and staff. Leadership actively promotes and participates in a planned approach to professional learning that strongly aligns to the school's strategic priorities in improving achievement. Evidence from student achievement information is used to inform teachers' discussions and inquiry questions to build teacher capability.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:  

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

The school is very well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

A school-wide culture of high expectations for learning and teaching, and continuous review and reflection to enhance teaching practice attains and sustains positive outcomes for all children.

Key next steps

  • Build on the progress made in establishing a reflective culture of teaching as inquiry to include reading and writing.
  • Continue to develop partnership with parents and whānau that are focussed on student learning and progress.
  • The board of trustees receive regular reports on the progress of priority learners throughout the year and have effectively responded.

Areas for further growth and development include refinement of self-review processes by trustees, extending teaching as inquiry strategies more specifically into reading and writing programmes, and continuing to develop learning-centred partnerships with all parents and whānau.

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

6 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 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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance
  • the school’s policy and procedures in relation to the application of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the school continues to promote the high expectations for learning and teaching that will be enhanced by further refinement to self-review processes by trustees and extending the teaching as inquiry process. 

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

12 August 2016 

About the school 

Location

Te Kuiti

Ministry of Education profile number

1953

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

92

Gender composition

Girls   56
Boys   36

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other Pacific
Indian
Cook Island Māori
Chinese
Fijian
Filipino

18
62
  6
  2
  1
  1
  1
  1

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report92

12 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2011