St Joseph's School (Hastings) - 12/05/2015

Findings

Trustees, leaders and teachers take collective responsibility for improving all students’ learning, wellbeing and spiritual development. An inclusive environment is evident and students are enthusiastic learners. They experience positive outcomes through participation in the curriculum. All students make progress. The majority achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

1 Context

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

St Joseph’s School is a state integrated Catholic school in Hastings. The school provides a broad curriculum for Year 1 to 8 students from its ethnically diverse community.

Trustees, school staff, families, whānau and aiaga enjoy positive relationships. Interactions are respectful and focused on supporting student’s wellbeing, learning and holistic development. A culture of care and relationship-based teaching and learning underpins teaching practice.

The principal was newly appointed to the school at the time of ERO’s February 2012 review. Since that time a new appointment has been made to the deputy principal position. The leadership team plans and works collaboratively to achieve the school’s strategic vision.

Students learn in an attractive, child-focused environment. The positive and inclusive culture is supportive of learning.

2 Learning

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

Leaders and teachers use analysed achievement information well. Trustees regularly receive reliable achievement data in particular curriculum areas. This is used to inform decision making. Annual planning, charter targets and actions focus on further improving teaching practice and accelerating all students’ learning.

Most learners, including Māori and Pacific, make steady progress with many achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Increasingly, teachers are using assessment to modify lessons and teaching strategies in response to students’ next steps for learning. Leaders and teachers continue to consider how effectively they make overall teacher judgements about individual students' progress toward the National Standards in writing, reading and mathematics.

Students identified with specific learning needs are well catered for through adapted in-class programmes and specialist interventions. Planned actions to support learners are closely monitored and contribute positively to these learners' progress.

Educational partnerships with students and their families are focused on supporting children’s holistic development. All students are well supported to recognise their strengths and learning needs. Strategies in place assist children to develop as self-regulating learners.

Families have many opportunities to be actively involved in and support their children’s learning. To further enhance the positive educational partnerships occurring, school leaders should review how effectively they report progress toward National Standards, especially in the mid-year written report.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s special character and Catholic faith are an integral part of the localised curriculum and learners’ daily experiences. Supporting students’ spiritual and academic development reflects parents’ aspirations for their children.

Strong links between the school’s curriculum and the principles and key competencies in The New Zealand Curriculum are evident. An integrated approach, through topics and related experiences, supports students’ learning about science, the social sciences, the arts and te reo Māori and tikanga Māori. Acknowledging and celebrating the cultures of all the children attending is woven through the curriculum.

Current curriculum review and development have an appropriate focus on further strengthening teaching and learning in literacy and mathematics. Planned actions focus on improving programmes. This has a positive impact on learners’ engagement and progress.

The incorporation of information and communication technologies as teaching and learning tools is progressing well. This is integral to the school’s curriculum and motivates students’ enthusiasm for and engagement in learning.

Students’ transition into the school, between classes and onto further education is well considered. ERO’s evaluation identified, and school leaders agree, it is timely to review how well the school’s curriculum meaningfully supports students to consider their future career options.

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

The school has a solid foundation of successful practice that impacts positively on the progress, achievement and engagement of Māori learners. Planning for this group is prioritised in the school’s charter. Further developing the plan would be beneficial to achieve the outcomes the school desires. It is timely to review and further develop the school’s curriculum with a more deliberate focus on promoting success for Māori, as Māori. School leaders and teachers should:

  • with whānau, develop and express relevant cultural competencies desired for Māori learners
  • take account of whānau, hapū, iwi and the nation’s aspirations to develop clear measurable outcomes for school actions and show how success will be reviewed
  • continue to build leaders' and teachers' knowledge of the successful practices that support Māori learners’ culture, language and identities and use this information to make relevant changes to the school’s curriculum and teaching expectations.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Staff and trustees work collaboratively to continually improve the quality of schooling and support all students’ wellbeing. Leaders and staff know the value of review, of looking at what is going well and using systematic critical inquiry to inform school development decisions.

Practices that build leaders’ and teachers’ curriculum knowledge and improve teaching practice contribute to improved outcomes for students. A focus through 2013, to increase teachers’ ability to include te ao Pacifica in programmes and school activities is promoting and celebrating the cultures of the Pacific learners who attend.

Leaders plan to review the school's appraisal system this year. Staff use professional inquiry well to consider the effectiveness of their leadership and teaching practice. The principal acknowledges exploring Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners would be a useful future inquiry to inform ongoing development of appraisal. More clearly identifying and articulating the expectations of culturally-responsive teaching should contribute positively to the schooling experience of Māori, and all, learners.

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.

Conclusion

Trustees, leaders and teachers take collective responsibility for improving all students’ learning, wellbeing and spiritual development. An inclusive environment is evident and students are enthusiastic learners. They experience positive outcomes through participation in the curriculum. All students make progress. The majority achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

12 May 2015

About the School

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

2677

School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll

132

Gender composition

Female 51%

Male 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Other ethnic groups

22%

42%

19%

7%

3%

7%

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

12 May 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

February 2011

June 2007