St Joseph's School (Waipukurau) - 17/12/2014

Findings

Students enjoy learning in a welcoming, family-like environment. Teachers are developing their use of achievement information to improve learning. Writing has been identified as an area for development. Trustees are improvement focused. Improvement is needed in professional leadership to raise the quality of teaching and learning.

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 an integrated Catholic primary school in Waipukurau, Central Hawke’s Bay. The roll at the time of this ERO review was 91 students in Years 1 to 8.

The special character of the school is reflected in schoolwide values that are integrated into the dayto-day programme and well understood by students.

The Catholic Social Teaching Principles are interwoven and underpin the school curriculum. This is evident in a three-way partnership between the Holy Trinity Parish, family and school.

The students enjoy learning in a welcoming, family-like environment.

Many areas identified in the October 2011 ERO review have yet to be fully addressed. This report contains significant areas requiring review and development, including school leadership.

2 Learning

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

The school is developing its use of achievement information to improve student learning. Teachers are appropriately identifying those students who need additional support and their progress is well monitored. Some moderation of writing assessments has occurred to assist greater consistency in teachers’ judgements about students’ performance. Initial moderation in mathematics has occurred.

The school reports that most students achieve at the National Standard expectations in reading and mathematics. A substantial number are below the expected levels of achievement in writing. This has been identified as an area for development. Māori students and boys are not achieving as well as other groups.

The mid 2014 achievement data reported to trustees did not provide an accurate schoolwide picture of students’ progress and achievement towards the National Standards in reading, writing or mathematics. This data omitted a significant number of students in Years 1 to 3.

Home sample books enable students to share their learning with their families. Students set goals each term and reflect on their progress. Written reports provide clear information about achievement in relation to the National Standards, with useful suggestions for parents to support learning at home.

Students with special education needs who receive funding from the ongoing resourcing scheme are well supported and learn alongside their peers. Processes and systems to identify and monitor students requiring support are not yet established.

A cohesive schoolwide approach to assessment and reporting progress and achievement to the board, led by the principal, is not in place.

ERO recommends that the principal and teachers should:

  • ensure that achievement data reported to the board is valid, reliable and includes all students
  • continue to develop moderation processes in reading, writing and mathematics to support overall teacher judgements about students' learning and to ensure consistency across all classrooms
  • continue to develop and strengthen student ownership of learning
  • strengthen provision for students with special education needs by establishing a register to monitor and report their progress.

3 Curriculum

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

Ongoing, significant curriculum development is needed and this requires the principal to be actively involved.

To date, the school curriculum has been developed by teachers and a cycle of review established. It is clearly linked to the school’s special character and integrates the values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. It provides a useful framework for teachers to plan programmes. Provision for careers education and second language options for Years 7 and 8 are included. Teachers are beginning to consider the use of information and communication technologies to extend students' learning.

Most teachers use appropriate teaching strategies to support and extend student learning. They model strategies, group for instruction and provide students with useful feedback which contributes to their next stage of learning. However not all students get such good quality teaching, as this varies across year levels.

Teachers have participated in recent professional development in mathematics and assessment. This has contributed to the development of a model for them to reflect on and inquire into the effectiveness of their practice to improve student achievement for targeted students.

ERO recommends that trustees, principal and teachers:

  • strengthen curriculum delivery through review and consultation with parents and whānau to ensure it is responsive to the needs and interests of all students
  • continue to develop and deepen teaching as inquiry.

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

There is a commitment to engaging Māori parents and whānau and listening to their ideas and aspirations. Whānau are regularly consulted in relation to the school’s response toKa Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017. Trustees and the principal should further develop the school’s strategic response to this education strategy. Curriculum development and culturally responsive teaching practices are needed to improve outcomes for Māori learners.

Students participate in the Ngati Whai cultural festival. A school haka is an established tradition. This provides leadership opportunities for Māori students.

All teachers have undertaken courses to strengthen their knowledge of te ao Māori. Three teachers have recently enrolled in an introductory te reo Māori course. This is enabling them to further develop their knowledge and understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

For the school to improve, have sustainable practices and be future focused, leadership of the school needs to improve.

Trustees are improvement focused and bring a range of expertise to their roles. They have been involved in targeted training to develop their understanding about governance. A useful handbook has been developed by the board to guide operation and policy review. Trustees are developing their use of self review to support ongoing improvement.

Recent distribution of curriculum leadership roles is providing some momentum for change. Some progress has been made in developing systems and processes to monitor student achievement. The principal must take the lead to strengthen and implement systems for high quality teaching and improved student learning.

The board has suitably focused on addressing areas for review and development identified in the October 2011 ERO report. Trustees have clear next steps to support improvement of leadership. The board should continue to strengthen:

  • systems to support improved professional leadership, teaching and learning
  • the teacher appraisal process to include regular classroom observations, written feedback and next steps, including culturally responsive practices.

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.

In order to improve current practice, trustees and the principal should ensure that procedures associated with:

  • risk assessment and management for education outside the classroom are strengthened
  • in-committee meetings and keeping of minutes are documented and followed.

Recommendation

ERO recommends that the Secretary for Education consider intervention under Part 7A of the Education Act 1989 to improve the principal's capacity to lead necessary curriculum development.

Conclusion

Students enjoy learning in a welcoming, family-like environment. Teachers are developing their use of achievement information to improve learning. Writing has been identified as an area for development. Trustees are improvement focused. Improvement is needed in professional leadership to raise the quality of teaching and learning.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

17 December 2014

About the School

Location

Waipukurau, Central Hawke's Bay

Ministry of Education profile number

2678

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

91

Gender composition

Male 40

Female 51

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Filipino

Other ethnic groups

11

67

9

4

Special Features

State Integrated Catholic school

Review team on site

October 2014

Date of this report

17 December 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2011

June 2006

June 2003