St Joseph's School (Pukekohe) - 26/06/2012

1 Context

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

St Joseph’s School is located in Pukekohe and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school roll of 387 includes 66 Pacific students and 46 Māori students. The school’s special Catholic character supports a nurturing, holistic approach to education. The school is characterised by stable leadership and has a history of positive ERO reviews. High expectations for achievement and standards for behaviour are expected and evident throughout the school.

Since the last ERO review the school has experienced roll growth which has resulted in two new classrooms being placed on the school site. The administration block has been remodelled and two new team leaders have been employed. Recommendations from the last ERO review about formative assessment have been addressed through school-wide professional development. The school is well supported by the local parish and wider Catholic community.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Teachers use a range of standardised tests and observations of students learning behaviour to make overall teacher judgements (OTJ’s) about student achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school reports that this data shows a significant majority of students were achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of 2011. Those students achieving below or well below are identified and provided with programmes targeted to address their learning needs. Progress and achievement data guides teacher planning for groups and individual students.

The board of trustees is receiving comprehensive, clear and accurate reports about student achievement in relation to National Standards. Analysis of student achievement data identifies achievement patterns and trends for the school and for groups of students, including Māori and Pacific. Parents are receiving written reports about their children’s progress and achievement against National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The Pasifika roll continues to grow and student achievement data shows that Pacific students are generally not achieving as well as non-Pacific students. Staff have undertaken professional development around cultural awareness of Pacific students. At the end of 2011, an action plan was developed for targeting the achievement of Pacific students in reading, writing and mathematics.

ERO and the school have identified that there is a need to continue to develop greater consistency in the use of teaching strategies that build students’ capacity as independent, self-motivated learners.

3 Curriculum

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

After consultation with their community the school developed the St Joseph’s School curriculum, including values and curriculum goals, and aligned these with The New Zealand Curriculum. The school’s learning principles of 'Leadership, Foundation, Environment, Education, Faith and Trinity' promote traditional values and a focus on student achievement and success.

The school’s curriculum is:

  • well defined, with a broad and integrated coverage of subject areas
  • linked closely to the principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • reflective of the special Catholic character
  • focused on literacy and mathematics
  • reflective of the Treaty of Waitangi
  • clear about expectations for assessment, planning and self review.

Teachers work well as a team, have high expectations for learning and behaviour, and maintain positive, respectful relationships with students. Effective teaching strategies promote students’ thinking, inquiry and engagement. Priority in the school day is given to religious education, literacy and numeracy, and physical fitness. Additional staffing resources are allocated to support students at risk with their learning and those requiring extension. These special programmes are targeted to address the needs of priority learners, and regularly reviewed to ensure that best use is made of school resources.

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

The school has played a leadership role in Te Huarahi, an initiative involving local schools, and aimed at having 100% of Māori students achieving age-appropriate expectations by 2015. Other goals include access to early childhood education, whānau education, celebrating success, building authentic relationships and strengthening Treaty of Waitangi knowledge and commitment.

There is a range of school initiatives to celebrate Māori student achievement and success. These include a kapa haka group, a Māori parent who advises the board of trustees on Māori issues, a whānau hui each term and professional development for staff, including the Mauri Ora programme and Treaty of Waitangi training.

Achievement information for Māori students is analysed, reported to trustees and shows that a significant majority of Māori students is achieving at and above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Pastoral care practices reflect both the priority given to Māori and the special Catholic character, including aroha manaakitanga and respecting the mana of all. The school and ERO are aware that strengthening the Māori and Pacific dimension in classroom environments will enhance students sense of belonging.

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. Key indicators include:

  • the experienced principal, who provides strong, focused professional leadership. She is well supported by a knowledgeable and committed leadership team, who work with teachers to develop and use effective teaching practices that enhance achievement outcomes for students
  • effective governance, led by an experienced chairperson, and well-informed trustees. The board makes appropriate decisions to allocate resources based on assessment information and is focused on improving student outcomes.
  • a collaborate, strategic and highly effective approach to self review, including careful consideration of student achievement information by the board, principal and teachers to improve student engagement, progress and achievement
  • the development of a comprehensive charter and strategic goals that provide clear direction and measurable targets to improve student achievement
  • various strategies used to seek community views, and making parents feel welcome in the school.

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
  • 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 four-to-five years.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

26 June 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51% Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori




South East Asian

Other European










Review team on site

May 2012

Date of this report

26 June 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2009

January 2006

August 2002