St Joseph's School (Ashburton) - 27/06/2017


The roll of St Joseph’s School (Ashburton) is 224 which includes 49 Filipino children.

Over the last three years staffing and board membership have been stable. A new principal was appointed in 2016.

Since the March 2013 ERO report the school’s achievement levels in reading and written language have steadily improved and been sustained. Achievement in mathematics has declined and is the focus of a school-wide improvement programme in 2017.

The school has some very successful examples of students making accelerated progress.

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

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

Leaders and teachers use a variety of processes that are becoming increasingly effective in promoting equity and excellence. These include equitable leadership practices, provisions for building professional capacity, and strong learning partnerships with families and whānau.

The board and school leaders give a high priority to raising student achievement and addressing disparity by building on the best of current practices.

To further improve equity and excellence the school needs to develop aspects of target setting, improve the analysis and reporting of student achievement, develop robust internal evaluation practices and continue to give priority to supporting the capacity of teachers to raise student achievement.

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 responds well to Māori and other children whose learning and progress need acceleration.

At the time of this evaluation most students were achieving at or above the National Standards. Student achievement is highest in reading. Achievement patterns in literacy have remained similar over the last three years. Achievement in mathematics has declined. Lifting student achievement in this area is a school-wide focus in 2017.

Māori students are achieving at similar levels to their peers in reading, writing and mathematics.

Disparity in achievement exists for some groups of students. Differences in achievement are greatest for children who are English language learners. Targeted programmes and an internal evaluation process are in place to lift the achievement of these children. The overall progress of most English language learners shows a positive achievement trend over their time at the school.

The school has very good examples of groups of students making accelerated progress. These include most students who were achieving well below the National Standards at the start of 2016, and most targeted students in mathematics last year.

Teachers use a range of class assessments to make effective judgements of children’s progress and achievement. Leaders and teachers are involved in a cluster of local schools that are working together in 2017 to moderate National Standards judgements.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

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

The school has a range of effective processes and practices that are effective in enabling equity and excellence.

The board and school leaders work well together to promote positive outcomes for children. School processes, resourcing and reports to the board are focused on raising achievement, improving wellbeing and addressing disparity.

Leadership ensures alignment between the school’s values and virtues to create an inclusive environment where staff collaborate and reflect on their teaching practices. Children are well supported in their learning by teachers and their peers. Children’s cultural identities are affirmed and their successes celebrated in ways that motivate them to improve.

Leaders actively promote ongoing school-wide improvement through establishing clear priorities, providing well-targeted and focused professional development and undertaking regular internal evaluations that are used to inform school and class planning. Classroom programmes and school activities provide children with many opportunities to achieve success across the curriculum, including religious education.

Teachers actively support students to assess their own progress and set personal learning goals. They regularly share achievement information with children and parents, as well as with colleagues.

Learning interventions are in place for students whose progress needs accelerating. These interventions are clearly targeted, inclusive and well-resourced. The impact of these interventions on students’ progress is closely monitored so that programmes can be adapted quickly when necessary, or additional expertise sought.

Leaders and teachers are taking significant steps to promote learning-focused partnerships with parents, particularly of those children whose achievement needs to be lifted.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

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

The school has processes in place for promoting equity and excellence for children. However school leaders need to:

  • refine the analysis and reporting of student achievement to the board

  • improve elements of internal evaluation

  • give priority to supporting and building the capacity of staff to raise student achievement.

Leaders and teachers should:

  • use clear indicators when evaluating learning support

  • ensure improvements generated by professional development are sustained

  • implement initiatives around collaborative teaching and use of digital technologies to support English language learning.

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?

Children 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:

  • further improve aspects of target setting and analysis and reporting of student achievement

  • continue to develop robust internal evaluation practices

  • continue to give priority to supporting and building the capacity of staff to raise student achievement.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern/Te Waipounamu

27 June 2017

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Integrated Full Primary Years 1-8

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 47%; Boys 53%

Ethnic composition

Pākehā 66%

Māori 3%

Samoan 4%

Tongan 2%

Filipino 22%

Other ethnicities 3%

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

27 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review July 2013

Education Review January 2010

Education Review December 2006