St Joseph's School (Nelson) - 15/12/2015

Findings

St Joseph’s School (Nelson) is a state integrated Catholic school that offers education for Years 1 to 8 students. Positive respectful relationships are underpinned by a strong emphasis on Catholic values, the school’s vision and the learner qualities.

Most students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board and staff take all reasonable steps to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students, parents and the community.

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 (Nelson) gives prominence to its Catholic character, vision and values in all aspects of the school’s life. Positive and respectful working relationships between students and with teachers are actively fostered, with a strong focus on student wellbeing.

There has been a steady growth in the number of students from diverse cultures requiring extra language support. This has been well resourced by the board.

There are effective levels of communication and consultation with parents and the community in the life of the school. Students and teachers are increasingly using digital technologies to enhance students’ learning at school and at home. These practices have contributed to greater participation by parents.

The school has successfully addressed some aspects of the recommendations from the 2012 ERO review. This includes planning for Māori students to succeed as Māori and some aspects of evaluation particularly by the board and staff.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very good use of student achievement information to promote positive learning outcomes for all students.

Students at risk of not achieving positive outcomes in their learning are well supported. Teachers identify specific learning targets, plans and programmes to meet the needs of these students. The progress of students is regularly monitored and reported to the board. Senior leaders effectively evaluate students' learning outcomes and programmes. This is supporting the board to make informed decisions to provide extra resourcing.

The school has a purposeful and well-planned focus to provide extra programmes of learning for more able and gifted students. The school should consider cultural giftedness to ensure those students’ skills and talents are recognised.

There is a strong focus on oral language development across the school. This includes the provision of authentic learning experiences to support oral language development in meaningful ways.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports students' learning. It is well designed and responsive to students' learning needs with strong links to the New Zealand Curriculum.

An innovative feature of the curriculum is the creative way the school’s values have been reflected in the ‘Learners Qualities’ that encompass the key competencies. The values are consistently used to underpin planned learning programmes, support self, peer and students' assessments, and to develop students’ skills in managing their learning.

Other positive features of the school’s curriculum include:

  • a strong focus building and empowering students’ confidence as learners and communicators
  • an emphasis on literacy, mathematics and religious education
  • a bicultural perspective integrated in the curriculum, classroom programmes and at a strategic level
  • the good use of community expertise to enhance the learning programmes for students.

Teachers are highly reflective. Evaluation is focused on improving teaching practice. They model care and respect for one another, and for students. The work and professionalism of teacher aides is highly valued and well used to support positive outcomes for students in classrooms.

Students are well supported to become self managing, confident and capable learners. Most students are achieving at and above National Standard expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Parents receive detailed information in reports and interviews about how well students are progressing and achieving in all areas of the curriculum. The next step for teachers is to ensure they consistently include suggestions for parents to support their children’s learning at home.

Areas for review and development

Leaders and teachers need to strengthen their curriculum reviews by including a greater range of sources of information such as the views of students and parents.

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

The board's strategic approach is supporting educational success for Māori, as Māori. The board has set clear expectations for teachers to support and promote Māori language, culture and identity.

There are guidelines in the curriculum that identify culturally responsive practices to support teachers to work with students and whānau. The school has developed a scaffolded te reo Māori and tikanga Māori programme to foster all students’ knowledge and understanding about bicultural Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Reporting of Māori achievement is difficult because of the small number of Māori students at the school. Making use of in-committee procedures will support the board in its open discussions.

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.

The skilled and committed board make good use of external professional development to build the capacity of trustees’ stewardship roles and responsibilities. Trustees have recently reviewed and revised the school’s charter in consultation with the community to strengthen strategic planning. There is a clear alignment between the school’s vision and values and planning that provides future focused direction for the school.

The board makes good use of parent and student survey information to make improvements to school practices. Trustees effectively use evaluation to identify strengths and next steps of their performance to improve learning outcomes for students.

The principal and senior leaders work well together to enable and empower teachers to continually build on their expertise. There is good provision for professional development for all staff. The process teachers are using to critically reflect on their practice is contributing to improving teacher practice and raising student achievement.

Areas for review and development

ERO has identified, and the board agrees, the next steps to improve learning outcomes for students are:

  • to strengthen the appraisal system by more formally documenting the process for each appraisee
  • ensuring that National Standard targets developed for groups of students most at risk of not achieving are shared with the board, included in the strategic plan, and reported regularly.

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

St Joseph’s School (Nelson) is a state integrated Catholic school that offers education for Years 1 to 8 students. Positive respectful relationships are underpinned by a strong emphasis on Catholic values, the school’s vision and the learner qualities.

Most students are achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The board and staff take all reasonable steps to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for students, parents and the community.

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

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

15 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number

3221

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

343

Gender composition

Girls 181; Boys 162

Ethnic composition

Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island

Asian

Other ethnicities

73%

9%

4%

1%

12%

1%

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

15 December 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2012

November 2009

September 2006