St Joseph's School (Balclutha) - 29/05/2012

1. Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

St Joseph’s School (Balclutha) was reviewed by ERO in June 2011. The review identified aspects of strategic and annual planning; self review; curriculum development; and the collection and recording of assessment information that needed to be improved. This report shows the school’s progress in addressing these areas.

At the time of the 2011 review the school had been through a period of unsettled staffing. The board, principal and teachers have now built a strong team and have developed shared understandings and consistent practices across the school.

This 2012 review found that students learn in an environment where relationships and interactions are caring and respectful. The special character of the school is evident in programmes and the way people treat each other. The importance placed on students’ physical, emotional, academic and spiritual growth and development has influenced the design of the curriculum.

The school, under the able leadership of the principal, has successfully addressed all areas that were of concern in June 2011.

2. Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

At the time of the 2011 ERO review:

  • the school did not have a reliable system for the collection and collation of assessment information
  • the curriculum was not fully developed
  • there was no framework to guide rigorous self review
  • the strategic and annual plans needed to better reflect the direction the board, principal and teachers expected to take to improve outcomes for students.

Progress The school has developed a school-wide approach to gathering and recording student achievement information. The school’s data shows that the majority of students achieved at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics in 2011. Comparative data shows that this is higher than in 2010.

Students’ learning. Students are becoming increasingly aware of the strategies that help them to learn. They learn in a settled environment. Their learning needs are identified and planned for in an ongoing way, and next learning steps are noted and incorporated into future lessons. Students are focused and understand the purpose of the lessons. They are provided with strong foundations on which to build their learning. The board has employed teacher aides to assist the progress and achievement of those students who have not reached the national standards.

Assessment practices. The principal and teachers have collected and collated assessment information that gives them base-line data for future comparisons about student achievement. Teachers use a range of assessments to make well-informed judgements about students’ progress and achievement. There is a school-wide approach to tracking students’ progress and achievement. Reporting to parents on student achievement is in relation to the National Standards.Curriculum. The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. All curriculum areas have been fully developed in line with the New Zealand Curriculum. The values, principles and key competencies form an integral part of the curriculum and are clearly evident in planning documentation. The school’s goals and priorities were developed in consultation with the parent community and students. Curriculum areas are developed through the lens of the Christian values.

3. Sustainable Performance and Self Review

The school has made significant progress in addressing those aspects relating to its sustainability and is well placed to sustain and improve its performance.Self review. The school has developed a structure to support rigorous self review.

Over the past year the board, principal and teachers have overhauled all supporting documents for the learning areas, curriculum delivery, planning, and assessing to ensure the best outcomes for students.

Teachers regularly reflect on and review their teaching practices to improve the effectiveness of their programmes and to lift student achievement.

Trustees, the principal and the teachers have also looked at all their policies and procedures to make sure that the policies and school practices match.

A meaningful and robust appraisal process is now implemented and has led to a focus on up skilling teachers and improving outcomes for students.

Succession planning. The board considers stability and continuity of major importance in the wellbeing of the school. Trustees have demonstrated their commitment to the school and its students by:

  • committing themselves to ongoing service on the board
  • developing clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • up skilling and training new trustees in their responsibilities.

Strategic priorities. St Joseph’s School priorities were developed in consultation with the staff, the board, parent community and students. The curriculum documentation shows that these priorities have been incorporated into learning programmes.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

At the time of the 2011 review, there were a number of legal requirements that needed to be attended to. The school quickly and successfully addressed all issues.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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


Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

29 May 2012


About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 34

Boys 32

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Review team on site

March 2012

Date of this report

29 May 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

May 2008

May 2005