St Joseph's School (Nelson) - 04/10/2012

1. Context

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

St Joseph’s School, Nelson is a Catholic character school, with a roll of 341, catering for students from Years 1 – 8. A number of long term staff gives stability and continuity.

A strategic priority is the provision of early support for priority learners, including those needing additional support or extension. This support has been extended to make e-learning more accessible for teachers and students in all classrooms.

2. Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Students are actively engaged in their learning and work cooperatively. They enact the values of the school. Interactions are friendly and respectful. Students take leadership roles, sometimes acting as teachers. Students spoken with feel safe and supported in their learning.

Students show knowledge and understanding of their learning. They set learning goals and know what is expected of them. This is well supported by self and peer assessment. Quality presentation shows students take personal responsibility for, and pride in, their work.

School data for 2011 shows over three-quarters of students at or above the relevant National Standards expectations for reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students achieve at the same level as their peers. Data shows students make good progress over the year, including priority students.

Regular reports to trustees are used to set strategic targets for improving achievement. Fully analysed data is used by syndicates for cross-class grouping and by teachers for targeted teaching. Students needing additional support are identified early, and appropriate support provided schoolwide and at class level.

3. Curriculum

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

Significant development of the school’s curriculum since ERO’s 2009 review is evident. The curriculum is well designed, underpinned by the school vision and values, in line with the school's special character.

Curriculum documents are comprehensive, well-developed and usefully used by teachers for planning and assessment. The curriculum is responsive to teacher and students interests and strengths and provides for cross-curricular learning.

Learner qualities, linked to key competencies and school core values, are unpacked and assessed using a school devised rubric. Students can self assess their own progress.

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

Teachers are committed to a number of initiatives that support success for Māori students and the bicultural nature of New Zealand. These include staff professional development, increased integrated use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori by all teachers, topics in the curriculum covering past and current Māori culture, and buddy readers. These initiatives are raising the status and profile of te ao Māori across the school.

Some teachers are using the strengths and knowledge their Māori students bring, in class lessons and some educational excursions. ERO considers that this is worth extending further through the development of an overarching implementation plan that states clear teacher expectations for Māori students succeeding as Māori.

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. Governance and management processes, and teaching and learning, are suitably effective to promote positive outcomes for students.

Trustees prioritise support for students and teachers. They generously fund extra staffing, professional development for teachers and teacher aides, and support a range of strategies. Student achievement is regularly reported and trustees are kept informed about events and successes. Early intervention remains a board and management priority. Annual reports on all interventions enable trustees to determine the effectiveness of the various strategies.

This school is focused on continuous improvement. Elements of review are present at syndicate, staff and board level. Strategic self review could be further strengthened by the use of overarching evaluative questions, use of measureable indicators, and wider use of relevant research.

The appraisal process, as developed and implemented, is robust. It has clear links to professional development and provides a highly suitable vehicle for introducing Teaching as Inquiry which is just beginning. Collaborative groups support teachers by listening, sharing and providing feedback. The process requires teachers to reflect on the effectiveness of their own teaching.

The principal leads a collaborative culture within a co-operative environment. Devolved leadership further supports syndicates and empowers staff.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

4 October 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 57%, Male 43%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Other ethnic groups








Review team on site

August 2012

Date of this report

4 October 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

November 2009

September 2006

August 2003