St Joseph's School (Patea) - 21/01/2016

Findings

Students experience positive and respectful relationships with their teachers. Trustees are committed to improving outcomes for all students. Next steps include: improving the use of student information; strengthening the curriculum; responding to Māori students and their whānau; and strengthening leadership capacity to sustain and improve the school’s performance.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

St Joseph’s School is a small, Catholic, semi-rural school in the South Taranaki town of Patea. It caters for 15 Year 1 to 6 students and 11 identify as Māori. The school offers learning programmes that are linked to The New Zealand Curriculum, as well as religious education reflecting the special character of the school.

Since the December 2012 ERO report, the school has experienced further staff changes with a new principal who commenced at the beginning of 2013. In 2015, the board gained two new co-opted members and one new proprietor’s representative.

2 Learning

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

The school needs to further develop an understanding of how to effectively use achievement information to promote student progress and achievement.

Teachers and leaders use a range of assessment tools to identify how well students are achieving. They also use this information to determine learning needs and support targeted students. The school reported that most students achieved at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics in 2014.

Staff identify students at risk of poor educational outcomes and they set specific targets to help accelerate these students’ progress and achievement. 

To enhance the use of student achievement information, staff should:

  • strengthen tracking and monitoring of targeted students
  • analyse achievement data in depth to identify what strategies are making the biggest difference to student learning
  • use student achievement data to inform teacher planning
  • use achievement data to inform strategic decision making
  • develop teaching as inquiry to strengthen evidence-based evaluation and to enable teachers to measure the impact of their practice on student learning
  • share achievement data with each student to enable to them to identify their strengths and next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum promotes learning for most students. There is a documented framework linked to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) to guide teaching and assessment. It explains the expectations for effective teaching and learning as well as clearly expressing the school’s vision, values and special character.

Students experience positive and respectful relationships with their teachers. There is a strong focus on developing relationship with families, whānau and the community. Students have a range of learning opportunities.

The principal recognises the need to review and update the school’s curriculum to be more responsive to student needs. Aspects of the curriculum have been reviewed and developed. Through ongoing review school leaders should include:

  • the principles of the NZC
  • students’ strengths, culture, language and identity
  • response to individual needs, including challenge and extension for the more able learners
  • current best practice
  • the needs of the community.

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

The school is developing success for Māori as Māori. The board has developed clear expectations in the school’s charter in relation to how the school promotes te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

Te reo Māori is integrated into everyday classroom practices. A te reo Māori programme helps students to develop their understanding of the language. Weekly kapa haka classes have been developed to provide opportunities for students and staff to build their cultural knowledge and language capability.

The school has developed good relationships with parents and whānau. A key next step is for leaders to develop learning partnerships with parents and whānau. This should help the school to identify whānau aspirations for their children, as well as what success looks like for their tamariki. 

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school needs to develop its capacity to sustain and improve its performance.

Trustees are committed to improving outcomes for all students. They actively support staff and set specific goals and targets focused on raising student achievement. Continuing to access training and development should help trustees to strengthen their roles and responsibilities as a board.

The appraisal system in the school urgently needs strengthening to:

  • promote regular professional conversations, support and development
  • set goals that are linked to the school strategic priorities as well as focusing on improved outcomes for students
  • monitor progress towards goals
  • identify next steps for improvement.

Leaders should strengthen their capacity to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching and the curriculum. An effective evidence-based evaluation process should enable leaders to:

  • improve decision making and target setting
  • measure the impact of strategies, programmes and initiatives on improving outcomes
  • establish areas for improvement.

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 

The board of trustees needs to ensure that:

  • suitable human resource management practices are implemented, including police vetting of non-teaching positions. [section 77A State Sector Act]

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that trustees seek assistance from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) to support their stewardship.

Conclusion

Students experience positive and respectful relationships with their teachers. Trustees are committed to improving outcomes for all students. Next steps include: improving the use of student information; strengthening the curriculum; responding to Māori students and their whānau; and strengthening leadership capacity to sustain and improve the school’s performance.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

21 January 2016

About the School 

Location

Patea

Ministry of Education profile number

2452

School type

Contributing (Year 1 to 6)

School roll

15

Gender composition

Male 11, Female 4

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Asian

11

3

1

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

21 January 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

May 2011

December 2007