St Joseph's School (Patea) - 14/12/2012

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s Arotake Paetawhiti review?

St Joseph’s School is a small, Catholic, semirural school in the South Taranaki town of Patea. All students are Māori. The school has experienced significant staffing changes in recent years. The May 2011 ERO report found that building refurbishment, development of the curriculum and resources contributed to a constructive tone. However, the quality of teaching was variable and students were not making sufficient progress in their first two years at school. Trustees needed to ensure the promotion of junior students' engagement, achievement and progress, develop self review for student improvement and focus on actions designed to promote positive outcomes for students.

Since the 2011 review the school has experienced further staffing changes and a new principal commenced at the beginning of 2012. The board has received assistance from a consultant appointed by the Ministry of Education. An action plan was developed to guide development and has been sequentially implemented.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Trustees and principal needed to ensure that junior students’ engagement, achievement and progress were promoted.

Learning, for junior students needed focus and purpose.

Progress

Students are settled and aware of school expectations. They work together cooperatively and independently. They are involved in setting individual goals and are know their next learning steps. Students are encouraged to explain what they need to do to be successful in increasing their ownership of, and engagement, in their learning.

Processes to monitor student progress and achievement are thoroughly documented. Teachers know students well and provide them with high levels of personal care. Students with identified learning needs receive extra support.

Increasing use is made of achievement data. Professional dialogue is evident in staff meetings and appraisal conferences. The principal acknowledges that personal reflection is an area for staff to develop. She has established a clear plan to raise achievement in literacy and numeracy.

The principal actively seeks opportunities to engage parents and whānau in supporting their children’s learning.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Priorities identified for review and development

Increasing the knowledge of the Board of Trustees around the roles and responsibilities of the board and principal.

The action plan established that professional development for trustees focus on the following:

  • policy and procedural knowledge
  • legal requirements of policies and procedures
  • the board’s role in implementing policies and procedures
  • self review and actions to take to promote positive outcomes for students.

Progress

Trustees are confident in their role. They are well organised and have taken positive advantage of the training provided by the Ministry-appointed external consultant. The board is continuing to develop its understanding of governance. The board and staff are focused on raising achievement. Trustees use the principal’s reports and information about student progress as the basis for decision-making. They now ask questions to clarify their understanding and see their role in supporting students through funding professional learning and development for staff.

Systems have undergone close scrutiny and been redeveloped collaboratively to promote shared ownership, understanding and responsibility of these and ensure sustainability of changes made.

The principal has introduced a planned approach to developing schoolwide self review. Staff and trustees are aware of the value of self review and its place in promoting ongoing improvement at all levels across the school. The next step is to fully implement and review the 2012 annual plan to inform planning for 2013, and to work to embed the board’s recently developed processes.

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.

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)

14 December 2012

About the School

Location

Patea

Ministry of Education profile number

2452

School type

Contributing (Years 1-6)

Decile

1

School roll

23

Gender composition

Male 14, Female 9

Ethnic composition

Māori

23

Review team on site

September 2012

Date of this report

14 December 2012

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

December 2007

November 2004