St Joseph's School (New Plymouth) - 21/09/2018

School Context

St Joseph’s School (New Plymouth) is a state integrated coeducational Catholic school. It draws its students from central and western New Plymouth. The school roll is 284 students from Years 1 to 6. Of the learners enrolled, 19% identify as Māori. The school roll continues to increase.

The Catholic character is evident in all aspects of the school and its curriculum delivery. The gospel values of ‘Tika, Pono, and Aroha’ are underpinned by the recently reviewed eight competencies (8C’s) that are ‘Christian Living, Confident, Culturally Aware, Communication, Critical Thinking, Creative, Collaboration, and Connected’.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • special Catholic character aims
  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics over time and in relation to school targets
  • Māori and Pacific learners’ achievement
  • outcomes for learners’ with additional learning needs
  • wellbeing and engagement.

Professional development for 2018 focuses on Catholic education, student agency, reading and writing, cultural responsiveness and digital learning.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

Achievement information is based on an appropriate assessment schedule to facilitate consistency and dependability of teacher judgements. Most students continue to achieve at and above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

All groups of students achieve similarly high results in mathematics. There is disparity between girls and boys in literacy and for Māori students in writing.

In reading there is an upward trajectory of achievement across year levels with most Year 6 students achieving at or above the expected level.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

There is evidence that in 2017, many Māori and other students below expected levels made accelerated progress. This was most evident in reading and mathematics.

Data shows most students involved in three schoolwide initiatives made very good progress in their learning.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school ensures every student has equal opportunity to participate in all activities. Pastoral care of students and their families and staff is a significant feature of the school. Values are effectively woven through the school’s ways of knowing and being. These are living concepts celebrated in a wide range of ways.

Children participate and learn in caring, settled, collaborative learning environments. Positive interactions contribute to the high engagement and student pride in their work. They are independent and interdependent learners and can articulate their learning. Although they have increased opportunities to organise and manage their work programme, the school has identified student agency is an ongoing area for development.

Children with additional learning needs are identified and relevant support accessed, either internally or through external support. They are skilfully supported by teacher aides who are an integral part of the learning.

The recently reviewed charter gives clear direction to the school’s mission and vision as a Catholic school. There is a well-established internal evaluation approach to support ongoing development.

The board and principal have led the focus on increasing the effectiveness of cultural responsiveness by prioritising culture, language and identity.

Learning is appropriately prioritised. Rich learning themes and differentiated programmes support student progress and achievement. Effective pedagogy is well articulated and supported through a high level of teacher capability.

The leaders have a strong sense of needing to sustain the vision through inducting new teachers into living the school’s culture. Teachers work collaboratively and participate in a constructive, robust appraisal process that enables appropriate ongoing professional development.

Transitions into, through and on to secondary school are well considered. Past students continue to be part of the learning community. Some teachers are past students.

Te ao Māori is woven through the school’s charter principles of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, mahi tahi and ako. These are evident through processes reflective of Māori culture, language and identity. School practices uphold place-based acknowledgement of mana whenua. Māori arts and artefacts and taonga are visible. The school is working on documenting its curriculum for te reo and te ao Māori.

The principal and the leadership team build relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community. School leaders lead the focus on knowing children and their families. Shared knowledge and responsibility reflects the school’s core principle of whakawhanaungatanga.

There is a strong sense of community. Deliberate strategies have been introduced to engage whānau. The school listens and responds to the consultation. Regular surveys occur at all levels of the school community related to wellbeing and health and safety.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The school has identified the need for ongoing development of the curriculum to further promote student agency, cultural responsiveness and e-learning.

The school recognises the need to continue to address disparity for Māori learners in writing.

3 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
  • finance
  • 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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a culture that promotes students’ social and emotional wellbeing and a sense of belonging
  • senior leadership that provides improvement-focused, strategic and collaborative direction
  • a well-considered approach that guides effective teaching
  • staff collaboration that supports students to have sufficient and equitable learning opportunities
  • strong community relationships that enrich student learning opportunities.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • continuing to focus on increasing accelerated progress and achievement for all students, particularly boys and Māori.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

21 September 2018

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 51%, Female 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 19%
Pākehā 58%
Asian 14%
Pacific 4%
Other ethnic groups 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2018

Date of this report

21 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2013
Education Review October 2010
Education Review September 2007