St Joseph's School (Waipukurau) - 10/07/2017

Findings

The school has been working with the Ministry of Education and ERO since December 2014. The principal is establishing a basis for sustainable practice by strengthening the quality and consistency of school operation and building community relationships. Continuing to focus on improving overall student achievement is a key next step.

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

1 Background and Context

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

St Joseph’s School is a state integrated Catholic primary school in Waipukurau, Central Hawkes Bay. At the time of this ERO evaluation, the roll is 80 students and nine are Māori.

The December 2014 ERO report identified concerns relating to student achievement, the curriculum and leadership. In March 2015, the Ministry of Education (MoE) instructed the board of trustees to prepare an action plan to address these concerns.

The board worked with an MoE Student Achievement Function (SAF) practitioner to develop the plan. A change team was established to lead implementation. The board reported regularly to the MoE on progress towards meeting the goals. During this time, ERO evaluated the school’s progress.

During 2015 and 2016, there were changes of leaders and teaching staff. The school had acting principals until a permanent appointment was made in Term 4, 2016. A new deputy principal was appointed at the start of 2017.

In Term 2, 2017 the school has reached a time of stability of leadership and staffing.

2 Review and Development

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

Priorities identified for review and development

In December 2014, the following priorities were identified, to:

  • improve student achievement
  • develop the curriculum, including culturally responsive teaching practices
  • improve school leadership, including the appraisal process
  • develop the use of self review to support ongoing improvement.

Good progress has been made in relation to all of these priorities. 

Progress

Student achievement:

At the end of 2016, approximately half of the students were achieving at and above in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. At this time, it was identified that the achievement of some boys and some Māori students was of concern.

In 2017, there are achievement targets for improving achievement in writing. Those students who are at risk of not achieving have been identified and specific teaching strategies implemented to support their learning. The progress of these learners is tracked and regularly discussed. Teachers’ inquiries are focused on how they will use specific strategies to make a positive impact on students’ learning. The inquiry process has become an integral part of teaching and learning at the school.

A cohesive, school-wide approach to assessment is now in place. Teachers follow a clear assessment schedule and the board receives regular student achievement reports. The dependability of achievement information has improved. Teachers moderate their judgements about students’ achievement in writing across the school and with other schools. Regular whole-staff discussions focus on developing shared understanding of the literacy progressions and judgements about student achievement and progress.

Documented systems to support provision for students with additional learning needs require further development. A systematic process for recording their needs, interventions and progress has been established in the past. However, changes of personnel overseeing this area have had an impact on current practice.

Curriculum:

Although development of the curriculum has occurred since the 2014 ERO report, a shared understanding by current staff and updating of documentation are required. The principal has begun to review the curriculum. This review should include consultation with staff, parents and whānau to ensure it reflects the needs and interests of all students and is culturally responsive.

The teacher appraisal process has been strengthened. The principal is also leading a focus on teachers working closely together to increase the consistency of teaching practice across the school.

A clear learning focus, well-established behaviour management strategies and positive interactions between students and with teachers are evident in classrooms. Students are keen to talk about their learning.

Leadership:

The new principal has brought a sense of stability to the school. He is strengthening the consistency of school operation and leading the development of a shared sense of purpose. Building relationships with the school community is emphasised.

The board has guided the school through a period of major change. Now that staffing is settled, it is timely for trustees to refocus on the policy framework. Areas for development relating to two policies identified in the December 2014 ERO report and four policies identified during this evaluation have been actioned. The MoE has offered continued support to the board of trustees to strengthen governance procedures. ERO's evaluation affirms this direction.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is well placed to continue to improve and review its performance. The principal is establishing a basis for sustainable practice. He has led a well-structured evaluation of writing that is learner focused and emphasises the importance of improving student outcomes. School leadership is building on a foundation of established values, a positive school climate and relationships.

Key next steps

The school should now:

  • continue to focus on improving overall student achievement
  • further develop the curriculum
  • strengthen board processes, including policy development.

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. 

Conclusion

The school has been working with the Ministry of Education and ERO since December 2014. The principal is establishing a basis for sustainable practice by strengthening the quality and consistency of school operation and building community relationships. Continuing to focus on improving overall student achievement is a key next step.

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

10 July 2017

About the School

Location

Waipukurau

Ministry of Education profile number

2678

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

80

Gender composition

Female 44, Male 36

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Filipino
British/Irish

9
59
10
2

Special Features

State Integrated Catholic School

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

10 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
October 2011
June 2006