St Joseph's School (Temuka) - 28/04/2020

School Context

St Joseph’s School (Temuka) is a Catholic state integrated full primary school. It is situated in Timaru and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. Children learn in two syndicates across six learning areas.

The mission for the school is ‘In God we learn’. The values underpinning teaching and learning were identified by its founder Mary McKillop. These are; making room for all; listening to God’s call; doing your bit and having an attitude in the Catholic faith.

The school’s current strategic goals are to maintain the wellbeing of students and staff, for students to thrive through an engaging learning environment and for all levels of the school to live and grow in the Catholic faith.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement and progress in reading, writing and mathematics

  • wellbeing for success.

St Joseph’s School (Temuka) is governed by a board of trustees and bishop’s representatives. It is an experienced board that uses external expertise to support it to meet its strategic requirements.

Some progress has been made in addressing areas for improvement identified in the April 2015 ERO review.

The school is an active member of the South Canterbury Catholic Kāhui Ako| Community of 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?

St Joseph’s School (Temuka) is effective in achieving excellent and equitable outcomes for most of its students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Over the past three years, school information shows that there is an upward trend in achievement for all students in reading and mathematics.

There is some disparity for girls in relation to boys, in mathematics and reading. Although Māori students are experiencing a lift in achievement in mathematics and reading, there is disparity for Māori students across all learning areas, in relation to their non-Māori peers. The school is using a range of strategies to address this.

Wellbeing survey data shows students and their families feel welcome at school and are respected by their teachers.

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

The school is effectively accelerating learning for a small number of students who need it in reading, writing and mathematics. Those children who are not making accelerated progress are making expected or sufficient progress.

Leaders and teachers express commitment to accelerating the learning of all students who are not making sufficient progress. Systems are being developed to support understanding and define learner progress in terms of sufficient, expected and accelerated.

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?

Students participate and learn in caring and respectful learning partnerships with their teachers and with each other. Senior children have a range of leadership opportunities. There is an established culture of older children supporting younger. A strong focus on wellbeing and educating the whole child is evident. Students understand the purpose of their learning and their successes are celebrated. Parishioners, students, staff and families demonstrate a strong sense of belonging in this learning community.

The school is well resourced to meet the physical and sensory needs of its students. This includes the discovery area and the prayer garden, whose planning and design work, was contributed to by senior students, and their community.

Leaders have implemented effective systems and processes to support the tracking and monitoring of all students’ learning. The curriculum effectively integrates a range of authentic opportunities for learning and independent ways of working. The school’s research-based approach is supporting teachers’ professional learning and programme implementation. This is guided by a good appraisal process that contributes to continuous improvement of teaching and learning.

St Joseph’s vision, values and special character promote a strong sense of school identity. Leaders, trustees and teachers have purposeful relationships with a range of stakeholders including parents, parishioners, external agencies, and through the Kāhui Ako. The school’s Catholic character is strongly reflected in the curriculum and meaningful connections to faith-based education. Leaders and the board prioritise the need for good communication, which results in regular consultation with, and reporting to, the wider community.

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

Leaders and trustees need to further build on the work it has already begun with the school’s Māori community, to develop culturally responsive practices. They should continue to:

  • implement a school-wide approach for developing educational success for Māori as Māori

  • implement strategies to better connect Māori students to their culture and learning

  • establish and embed schoolwide expectations to support teachers to meaningfully integrate progressions of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori into classroom practice.

Leaders and teachers should continue to develop schoolwide understanding and use of internal evaluation to enable them to determine:

  • the impact of the ‘acceleration programmes’ and interventions on outcomes for learning

  • what is needed and how to improve parity, for those learners who need this.

In doing this, the school should be able to clearly identify and monitor its priorities to achieve equity for all learners, over time.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of St Joseph’s School (Temuka)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a strong foundation, embedded in Mary McKillop values and Catholic-based education, that supports a positive and caring school culture
  • a strong connection with its parents, community, Kāhui Ako and external agencies that enhances learner outcomes
  • the clear focus on a ‘holistic’ approach to teaching that is demonstrated by leaders and teachers
  • research-based development of teaching, that supports outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • having a strategic approach to developing educational success for Māori as Māori and implementing practices that will connect Māori students to their culture and learning

  • developing a school-wide approach to internal evaluation to better know what is working and why, and what is not working and why.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

28 April 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53%, Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%

Pākehā 67%

Pacific 8%

Filipino 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

28 April 2020

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review April 2015

Education Review November 2011