St Joseph's School (Papanui) - 12/06/2009

1. The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

St Joseph’s School is an integrated Catholic school in Papanui, Christchurch. At the time of the review in March 2009, the roll of 366 students from Years 1 to 8 included nine Mäori students and eight international students from South Korea. St Joseph’s has an enrolment scheme with a significant waiting list. There is a close relationship between the school and the adjacent St Joseph’s parish. This collaboration reinforces the work of the board and teachers in maintaining the school’s special character.

The special character pervades all aspects of school life. Students and staff demonstrate the values and mission of the school in their relationships with each other. They show courtesy, care, consideration and support for others. There is an emphasis on service around the school and in the wider community. Liturgies are integrated into the life of the school and include a significant bicultural component. The school’s mission of producing independent learners who are caring, Christian citizens is clearly being achieved.

The board responded positively to the 2006 ERO report. All recommendations have been addressed. Trustees use the results of external and internal review to continue to improve the school’s operations and outcomes for students. The board and school managers are using the planning and reporting process strategically to lift the performance of specific groups of students. Trustees are demonstrating good governance.

Students achieve well in this school. Assessment information for students in Years 4 to 8 indicates that most students achieve at and above the level of similar schools in literacy and mathematics. The junior school information shows that students make very good progress during their first two years at school. Students achieve success in a wide range of activities, including speech and mathematics competitions, science fairs, sport and the performing arts.

Senior managers provide the board with very useful reports about the progress and achievement of groups of students over a year or two years. Senior managers now need to extend this reporting to show the progress for these groups over their time at the school.

Students benefit from consistently high quality teaching in all classrooms. ERO observed students well engaged in their learning. Levels of attendance are high. Students know what they are learning and why, and are able to evaluate their success in learning. Whole-school professional development in assessment for learning has extended teachers’ use of effective practices that promote student achievement.

Strong professional leadership is evident in this school. Staff are encouraged and supported to take leadership roles. The board, staff and community are making good progress in working together to develop a school curriculum that reflects the revised New Zealand Curriculum and their school’s special character. They have effectively linked their vision and values with the values, principles and key competencies of the curriculum to develop their expectations of a St Joseph’s learner.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report.

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

2. The Focus of the Review

Student Achievement Overall

ERO’s education reviews focus on student achievement. What follows is a statement about what the school knows about student achievement overall.

Students achieve well at this school. School analysis of junior reading levels shows that, at the end of 2008, 80% of Year 2 students were reading above national expectations. Analysis of numeracy data shows that, at the end of 2008, 75% of Year 2 students were achieving at expectation.

In 2008, national assessments in reading and writing showed that the Years 7 and 8 students had made good progress and most were performing above the levels of students in similar high decile, urban primary schools. Other national assessments from 2009 show that overall, 90% of Years 4 to 8 students are reading at average or above levels, with 31 % of students reading at above average levels.

Years 4 to 8 student groups perform above national expectations in mathematics. In 2008, a national assessment showed that Years 7 and 8 student groups made good progress during the year and most were achieving above the level of students in similar high decile, urban primary schools. Other national assessment in mathematics in 2009, show that overall, 91% of Years 4 to 8 students are achieving at average or above levels, with 27% of students achieving at above average levels.

The school is not yet analysing student achievement information school-wide for other curriculum areas.

Student achievement targets are specific, measurable and based on the analysis of a range of historical data. The school’s analysis of variance for each target is detailed. In 2008, targets were set in numeracy and literacy. For example, the numeracy target was for 96% of students to be achieving at or above their expected numeracy stage. Although this challenging target was not quite reached, the detailed analysis of results identified individuals and groups of students who were achieving well below expected levels, identified factors influencing results and provided clear next steps for teachers.

Students achieve well in a wide range of activities, including speech and mathematics competitions, science fairs, sports and the performing arts. This good performance reflects the school’s emphasis on all-round achievement.

School Specific Priorities

Before the review, the board of St Joseph's School, Papanui was invited to consider its priorities for review using guidelines and resources provided by ERO. ERO also used documentation provided by the school to contribute to the scope of the review.

The detailed priorities for review were then determined following a discussion between the ERO review team and the board of trustees. This discussion focused on existing information held by the school (including student achievement and self review information) and the extent to which potential issues for review contributed to the achievement of the students at St Joseph's School, Papanui.

ERO and the board have agreed on the following focus areas for the review

  • the quality of learning and teaching in Years 1 to 8 with an emphasis on the teaching of written language.

ERO’s findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Learning and Teaching in Years 1 to 8

Background

The school has had a focus on the use of assessment to guide learning and teaching of written language through their involvement in an Assess to Learn professional development contract. The board and senior managers asked ERO to evaluate the quality of the teaching of written language. After discussion, ERO, the board and senior managers agreed to incorporate this evaluation within a broader focus.

Areas of good performance

Student engagement in learning. Students are enthusiastic and involved in their learning. They demonstrate high levels of on-task behaviour in well managed and learning focused classrooms. The senior managers believe that the students’ high attendance levels reflect their positive attitude to learning. Students and teachers enjoy learning together.

Students’ understanding of their learning. Students focus on their learning because they know what they are doing and why. They set their own learning targets and goals and can identify when they have achieved what they set out to do. They confidently assess their own work and that of others. Teachers place an emphasis on independent inquiry and the presentation of findings. Students are able to make some decisions about what and how they will learn. Students are being encouraged and supported to become self-managing, independent learners.

The quality of teaching. ERO observed high quality teaching practices in all classrooms. Students benefit from teachers’ consistent use of practices that are known to be successful in raising student achievement. Teachers share the purpose of the learning with students and discuss with them what they need to do to achieve success. Students are grouped within and across classes in literacy and numeracy to better meet their learning needs and abilities. Teachers provide a variety of learning activities that cater for students’ different learning styles. They use a range of questioning and discussion skills to encourage critical thinking. Students have the opportunity to explain their thinking and how they solve problems. Classroom learning environments support learning through displays that include learning charts and examples of high quality student work. In these ways, teachers are meeting the needs, abilities and interests of students.

Classroom assessment practices. Teachers use a range of nationally benchmarked assessments to identify students’ learning needs and abilities. They use this information to identify those students needing extra support or extension, and to group students within the classroom. They regularly change groupings on the basis of ongoing assessments. Students benefit from specific feedback based on their learning targets. This feedback is often given during extended conferences with individual students. ERO observed teachers providing oral and written feedback to students that focused on what the student had done well and their next steps for learning.

Support for students with special learning needs. Teachers provide an effective programme that supports students who are underachieving or at risk of underachieving. They use a range of assessments to identify at-risk students. A transparent process prioritises needs and allocates support. Teachers use a range of programmes and approaches to provide this support. These measures include behaviour modification, individual education plans and teacher-aide support. Teachers monitor the effectiveness of interventions for individual students and evaluate the success of programmes. An annual report to the board shows how effective the programmes have been. The board uses recommendations from this report to guide its allocation of resources.

Supporting gifted and talented students. Teachers identify students using formal and informal means, including the views of parents. Teachers keep a register of gifted and talented students. These records indicate the opportunities offered to individuals and the teacher responsible. Teachers provide a range of extension and enrichment opportunities for students both in and beyond the classroom. Extension activities include opportunities for children to enter external academic competitions and be involved in service and leadership activities. Parents are encouraged and helped to support their children. A recent external review report has identified the next steps for the gifted and talented programme. These include professional development to help teachers cater better for the needs and abilities of gifted and talented students in their classrooms.

Physical activity. Students are encouraged to be physically active as part of their learning. They enjoy regular focused physical activity throughout the day. This activity includes fitness sessions, the physical education and perceptual motor programmes and brief sessions organised by teachers at class programme transitions. ERO observed high levels of physical activity during breaks. Students are encouraged to be active by the extensive grounds and facilities provided for exercise and games. Involvement in regular physical activity helps to keep students fresh and focused on their learning.

Special character. The values and beliefs that comprise the school’s special character are apparent in every aspect of school life. These qualities are most evident in the caring, respectful and inclusive environment and the positive relationships between students and with their teachers. The values and beliefs are an integral part of the school’s charter and curriculum and are widely understood and adhered to. They influence what is done and why it is done at all levels in the school and in its relationships with the wider community.

Learning partnerships with parents. Parents are actively encouraged to be involved in their children’s learning. Information provided for prospective parents includes advice on how they can help their children with reading and writing before they start school. Parents are active in their support of school programmes and activities, for example, assisting in the classroom, at class camps, and in sporting and cultural activities. Senior leaders consult parents regularly about such things as curriculum developments, the school production and issues of health and safety. Teachers share individual student portfolios with parents. These portfolios provide useful information about student progress and achievement and next steps in learning.

The impact of professional development on the quality of teaching. Teachers’ involvement in whole-school professional development has fundamentally changed the teaching culture of the school. Teachers identified, and ERO observed, the positive impact of professional development in the way they used assessment information to inform their teaching practice. This development has enhanced teaching and learning in all curriculum areas and across all classrooms. Its impact is particularly evident in the teaching of writing. Teachers now work more effectively as a team and benefit from a better understanding of learning and teaching across the school.

Bicultural perspectives. All students have the opportunity to learn te reo and tikanga Mäori. The Mäori language is included in liturgies and in the religious education programme. Senior students benefit from an interchange that enables them to be part of the kapa haka group, to learn the language or to study Mäori art. Year 8 students study the Treaty of Waitangi. Teachers regularly use curriculum resources that recognise New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. Classroom environments support students’ learning of te reo and tikanga Mäori through wall displays that include Mäori words and phrases.

Curriculum leadership and management. Strong professional leadership is evident in the school. The principal encourages and empowers senior managers and teachers to take on responsibilities and follow their interests and strengths. Strong links exist between strategic and annual plans, the professional development programme and performance appraisal. This leadership is apparent in the consistency of approach, strong teamwork and collegiality among the staff. There is a focus on ongoing improvement.

Self review. The board and principal responded very positively to the 2005 ERO review. They have made significant progress in all the areas identified as needing improvement. They use internal and external review to bring about improvements. For example, a recent external review of the school’s gifted and talented programme has identified areas for improvement that the school is acting upon. Internal review processes are systematic at all levels: board, whole-school and in the classroom. Trustees, senior managers and teachers are using outcomes of review to improve learning outcomes for students.

Areas for improvement

Tracking and monitoring delivery of the school curriculum. The board and principal are aware of the need to complete their planning for the new curriculum. The planning is well advanced, particularly in literacy and numeracy. The main task now is to plan for and monitor the teaching of all strands of all learning areas. Further development of ways to monitor students’ development in the key competencies is also needed. The teachers’ priority is to develop consistent school-wide planning for integrated units based on the concepts they have agreed on.

Reviewing overall school performance. The teachers gather and use assessment very well in the classroom to monitor students’ progress and plan new teaching. Senior managers provide useful reports for the board that show the progress of groups within a year and sometimes over two years. Targets are based on well-analysed, reliable data. The next step for the school is to analyse school entry data and use it to set appropriate expectations for groups of students and measure their progress over time. This analysis will give the board useful information about the overall effectiveness of the school’s teaching programmes.

Reviewing the integration of information and communication technologies (ICT) in teaching and learning. Teachers could extend the use of ICT in their teaching and learning practices. Teachers in discussion with ERO identified this as a next step. ERO observed some very good examples of students integrating ICT into their learning. The school was involved in an ICT professional development contract several years ago. It is now time to review how well the school is using its ICT resources and to plan how to build all teachers’ ICT expertise and classroom use.

3. Areas of National Interest

Overview

ERO provides information about the education system as a whole to Government to be used as the basis for long-term and systemic educational improvement. ERO also provides information about the education sector for schools, parents and the community through its national reports.

To do this ERO decides on topics and investigates them for a specific period in all applicable schools nationally.

During the review of St Joseph's School, Papanui, ERO investigated and reported on the following areas of national interest. The findings are included in this report so that information about the school is transparent and widely available.

The Teaching of Reading and Writing in Years 1 and 2

As part of this review, ERO looked at how well teachers assess, plan and teach reading and writing to students in Years 1 and 2, and how well the school promotes high levels of student achievement in reading and writing in Years 1 and 2.

Areas of good performance

Purposeful learning and teaching. Students know what they are learning in literacy and why. They have individual learning goals in reading and writing. Teachers give students specific feedback about what they are doing well and what they need to work on in regular conferences and in group instruction. The teaching is based on students’ needs and stages of development. Students can discuss their own work and know what they need to do to improve. They are highly engaged in and enjoy literacy learning.

Quality and use of assessment information. Teachers know the students well. They use assessment information and their own observations to identify what they need to teach and where students need further support or extension. Their knowledge of students’ writing skills has been supported by the professional development in assessment that focused on writing. Teachers have worked together to ensure that their expectations and assessment judgements about writing are accurate and consistent. The leadership and support of the senior teacher in this syndicate is resulting in high levels of accuracy in records of progress and achievement in reading.

Areas for improvement

  • Reviewing curriculum programmes. The teachers review reading and writing programmes regularly as a syndicate and as individual teachers. A more formal review could include reviewing the impact of commercial programmes such as the perceptual motor programme and a phonics programme in meeting the needs of the wide range of students. They also need to review their teaching guidelines and curriculum programmes to ensure that the documentation reflects the revised New Zealand Curriculum and current literacy resources.

  • Setting high expectations. The teachers have set expectations for student achievement in reading and writing in Years 1 and 2 based on the average rate of progression suggested in the literacy guidelines. Further analysis of school entry information might lead to the setting of more challenging targets for some cohorts of students. Although the formal expectations in reading are conservative, the teachers encourage all students to achieve to their potential.

Recommendations

ERO recommends that teachers review the English programme to ensure that it aligns with the revised New Zealand Curriculum and that the benchmarks set for students continue to challenge and stretch students.

The Achievement of Māori Students: Progress

In this review, ERO evaluated the progress the school has made since the last review in improving the achievement of Mäori students and in initiatives designed to promote improved achievement.

Areas of progress

Strategic planning for Mäori students. The board’s strategic goal is that all Mäori students are expected to achieve at the level of their peers. Its 2009 targets for Mäori students are for them to achieve at age appropriate levels in literacy and numeracy, to develop the kapa haka group and to increase all students’ understanding of te reo and tikanga Mäori. The board’s action plan to support these targets includes when things are to happen, who will do them and the resources required.

Student achievement and progress. The teachers use a range of tests and anecdotal information to identify Mäori students’ needs and to track their progress. Student information is managed at the individual student level, the syndicate level and the whole-school level. Generally, Mäori students are achieving at or above their age appropriate levels. One student who was underachieving has been successfully supported. As a result, there are no Mäori students at risk of not achieving.

Engagement in learning. Mäori students spoken with by ERO said that they enjoyed school and were keen to learn. They have a very high level of attendance, averaging 95%. Mäori students know that their culture is valued at this school. They benefit from programmes that clearly include Mäori values, perspectives and history. Liturgical practices, religious education, Mäori interchange programmes, and a wide range of studies in the learning areas include a Mäori dimension. Waiata and kapa haka are part of the learning opportunities available to Mäori students

Consultation with Maori. Mäori parents are consulted as part of general school practices as well as specifically in relation to the education of Mäori students. As a result, the board knows what Mäori parents think that the school is doing well and the areas that the school could improve. Mäori parents have made five recommendations for 2009 for the board and staff to consider.

Implementing the New Zealand Curriculum in 2010

In preparing for teaching the New Zealand Curriculum in 2010 the school has undertaken professional development and improved teaching practices school-wide. The school has consulted widely and developed its vision, values and principles that reflect its unique history and special character. The principal and teachers have designed how they will teach the key competencies and the strands of the essential learning areas. In term 1, 2009 all three syndicates were teaching programmes based on the theme of “relationships” and focussing on the value of “honesty”. Years 7 and 8 students have opportunities to learn te reo Mäori and French.

The principal is managing the task of preparing the school to implement the revised curriculum well. The school is aware of the school’s current state of preparedness and of the deadline for completion.

Next steps

The school has decided that its priority for preparation over the next three to six months is to develop a tracking system to manage the coverage of the strands of the essential learning areas over a three-year cycle. The school also acknowledges that the design of the key competencies and learning areas is advanced but still a work in progress. The school is well prepared to commence teaching the new curriculum in 2010.

Provision for International Students

Compliance with theCode of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Studentsand the Provision of English Language Support

St Joseph's School, Papanui is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. This is a requirement of all schools that enrol international students in terms of the Act. Schools are also required to provide English language support for their international students.

The school complies with all aspects of the Code.

Area of good performance

Meeting students’ learning needs. The school makes good provision for the learning needs of its eight international students. The English for the Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher assesses students’ learning needs on an ongoing basis and closely monitors their progress. This information is made available to classroom teachers and is summarised as part of an annual report to the board. The ESOL teacher uses assessment information to plan a programme for students that meets their changing learning needs. She liaises closely with classroom teachers and with each student to support them in their class programmes. Students spoken with by ERO appreciated the support provided by the ESOL tutor and their teachers. They felt safe and supported in the school.

4. Board Assurance on Compliance Areas

Overview

Before the review, the board of trustees and principal of St Joseph's School, Papanui completed an ERO Board Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. 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; and
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on students’ achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment);
  • physical safety of students;
  • teacher registration;
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions; and
  • attendance.

Compliance

ERO’s investigations did not identify any areas of concern.

5. Recommendations

The board and ERO have developed the following recommendations to improve student development:

  1. the principal and teachers complete their planning for teaching the new curriculum;
  2. the principal and teachers set appropriate expectations for groups of students through the analysis of school entry data and measure their progress over time; and
  3. the principal and teachers review the use of ICT and plan how they will continue to build teachers’ expertise and classroom use.

6. Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report.

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

Isabell Sinclair Irwin

Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer

12 June 2009

About the School

Location

Papanui, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number

3531

School type

Full Primary (Year 1-8)

Teaching staff: Roll generated entitlement Other Number of teachers

19.44 0.45 20

School roll

366

Number of international students

8

Gender composition

Girls 52%;

Boys 48%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Päkehä 89%;

Asian 5%;

Mäori 3%;

Other 3%

Review team on site

March 2009

Date of this report

12 June 2009

Previous ERO reports

Education Review March 2006

Education Review August 2002

Accountability Review November 1997

Effectiveness review May 1994

Review August 1992

To the Parents and Community of St Joseph's School, Papanui

These are the findings of the Education Review Office’s latest report on St Joseph's School, Papanui.

St Joseph’s School is an integrated Catholic school in Papanui, Christchurch. At the time of the review in March 2009, the roll of 366 students from Years 1 to 8 included nine Mäori students and eight international students from South Korea. St Joseph’s has an enrolment scheme with a significant waiting list. There is a close relationship between the school and the adjacent St Joseph’s parish. This collaboration reinforces the work of the board and teachers in maintaining the school’s special character.

The special character pervades all aspects of school life. Students and staff demonstrate the values and mission of the school in their relationships with each other. They show courtesy, care, consideration and support for others. There is an emphasis on service around the school and in the wider community. Liturgies are integrated into the life of the school and include a significant bicultural component. The school’s mission of producing independent learners who are caring, Christian citizens is clearly being achieved.

The board responded positively to the 2006 ERO report. All recommendations have been addressed. Trustees use the results of external and internal review to continue to improve the school’s operations and outcomes for students. The board and school managers are using the planning and reporting process strategically to lift the performance of specific groups of students. Trustees are demonstrating good governance.

Students achieve well in this school. Assessment information for students in Years 4 to 8 indicates that most students achieve at and above the level of similar schools in literacy and mathematics. The junior school information shows that students make very good progress during their first two years at school. Students achieve success in a wide range of activities, including speech and mathematics competitions, science fairs, sport and the performing arts.

Senior managers provide the board with very useful reports about the progress and achievement of groups of students over a year or two years. Senior managers now need to extend this reporting to show the progress for these groups over their time at the school.

Students benefit from consistently high quality teaching in all classrooms. ERO observed students well engaged in their learning. Levels of attendance are high. Students know what they are learning and why, and are able to evaluate their success in learning. Whole-school professional development in assessment for learning has extended teachers’ use of effective practices that promote student achievement.

Strong professional leadership is evident in this school. Staff are encouraged and supported to take leadership roles. The board, staff and community are making good progress in working together to develop a school curriculum that reflects the revised New Zealand Curriculum and their school’s special character. They have effectively linked their vision and values with the values, principles and key competencies of the curriculum to develop their expectations of a St Joseph’s learner.

Future Action

ERO is very confident that the board of trustees can govern the school in the interests of the students and the Crown and bring about the improvements outlined in this report.

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

Review Coverage

ERO reviews do not cover every aspect of school performance and each ERO report may cover different issues. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to student achievement and useful to this school.

If you would like a copy of the full report, please contact the school or see the ERO website, http://www.ero.govt.nz.

Isabell Sinclair Irwin

Area Manager

for Chief Review Officer