St Mary's Catholic School (Putaruru) - 06/09/2016

1 Context

St Mary's Catholic School (Putaruru) is located in Putaruru, and is part of St Patrick's Catholic Parish. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The school has a roll of 181 children including 54 Māori children. The school operates under a combined board of trustees with Bishop Edward Gaines School in Tokoroa. School leadership and staffing have remained the same since the 2012 Education Review. The school continues to participate in relevant professional learning and development with a particular focus on culturally responsive teaching and learning.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children include 'striving for excellence in the Marist tradition and Catholic faith, as lifelong learners today, for tomorrow's world.' Values of manaakitanga, whānaungatanga, kotahitanga, and aroha are part of the school's shared vision for children, families and the community. The school aims to 'nurture the whole child - academic, spiritual, physical and emotional - 'Ko au, ko rātou - myself and others'.

In 2015, approximately 10 children were identified as achieving below expectation in reading, writing and mathematics in relation to National Standards.

Since 2013, the achievement of Māori children has improved. The school’s achievement information shows that in 2015 nearly all Māori children achieved at and above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This information also shows that all Māori children achieved at and above National Standards by the end of Year 8. The school uses a range of systems and processes to accelerate the progress of children at risk of under achieving.

For other children, achievement information shows that in 2015 most achieved at and above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school is able to show that the progress of these children is being accelerated and they are now on track to achieve National Standards expectations by the end of Year 8.

The school has systems in place and uses a wide range of national and class-based assessment tools as well as teachers' ongoing observations and reflections, to make judgements about each students' achievements in relation to National Standards.

Since the last ERO evaluation, teachers have participated in a range of externally and internally facilitated professional development about:

  • a 'Māori Achieving Success as Māori'
  • culturally responsive teaching and learning
  • accelerating children's achievement in literacy and mathematics
  • strengthening parent partnerships in their child's learning
  • the development of an eLearning framework

This school-wide professional learning and development has contributed to a strong commitment and focus on equity and excellence for every child.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

St Mary's Catholic School (Putaruru) is highly effective in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Teachers work effectively in partnership with whānau with the aim of accelerating the progress of their children. Whānau attend assessment meetings held by the school. Leaders effectively communicate with trustees and whānau about Māori children's achievement and progress. This communication allows teachers to plan programmes that address the individual learning needs of each Māori student.

A 'Māori Achieving Success as Māori' action plan acknowledges and values children's language culture and identity. Expected outcomes for Māori children are established and frequently reviewed. Trustees have co-opted Māori representation to promote whānau views and aspirations. School leaders and whānau support the school's cultural 'journey' of integrating the values of the Catholic faith and Māori tikanga. A strong focus for the school is to continue to build responsive cultural capability and contributions of the school community.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has effective systems in place to track the progress of students year by year. School leaders are able to show the accelerated progress of all children in relation to National Standards. Successful initiatives and interventions support children's achievement and progress.

In the junior school, the Mutukaroa Programme effectively engages parents and teachers in their child's learning. This programme is strengthening the parent and school partnership, and parents' understanding of assessment. Relevant resources are made available for each child, and shared with parents, so they can positively engage in their child's learning at home.

Teachers design culturally responsive programmes and Individual Education Plans (IEPs) that promote a student-centred relationship focused on the child's learning. These plans are designed to accelerate progress and achievement specifically in literacy and mathematics. Teachers use innovative practices and strategies, such as blended eLearning, to engage and accelerate children’s learning particularly in the senior school.

Senior leaders provide relevant student achievement and progress information to assist the board to identify initiatives and make appropriate resourcing decisions.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's broad and comprehensive curriculum provides children with a wide range of learning opportunities. It is complimented by meaningful extra and co-curricular activities that engage children in learning. It is timely for leaders to review the curriculum to better align its design and implementation with the school's quality practices.

Leadership effectively promotes positive conditions for equity and excellence. Leaders have established high levels of relational trust at every level of the school community. A culture of high expectations for teaching and learning enables teachers to take risks, try new things, and improve their practice.

High levels of engagement by children, parents/whānau and community, has successfully promoted student-centred relationships within the school. A wide range of communication strategies is used to strengthen this engagement. Collaboration and partnerships also extend beyond the school.

The school has well-developed processes to review and evaluate the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives across the school. The school has regularly gathered relevant information from the community that is used well to make decisions and set priorities for ongoing development. A feature of these reviews is the regular involvement of Māori whānau and the contribution they make to the school community. This involvement has resulted in high levels of student achievement and engagement.

The board is committed to strengthening the school's capacity to enrich and accelerate children's learning pathways. Trustees are effectively resourcing programmes and initiatives throughout the school that are focused on equity and excellence. Trustees receive detailed information about student achievement and scrutinize the work of the school in order to make decisions that improve outcomes for children.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Factors that contribute to the school being very well placed to achieve and sustain equitable outcomes and high levels of student achievement and engagement are:

  • effective professional leadership, relational trust and distributed leadership, which has established good conditions for equity and excellence
  • Māori learners who are actively engaged in their learning and are experiencing success
  • a school culture that enables a collaborative approach in building teacher capability to develop cultural responsiveness and meet each child's identified needs
  • a coherent and rich school curriculum
  • effective partnerships for learning with parents resulting in high levels of Māori children's engagement and achievement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

Leaders at St Mary's Catholic School need to continue to systematically collate and analyse data over time. This should enable trustee's to continue understanding and scrutinising achievement data to make appropriate decisions for accelerating those children at risk of underachieving. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

6 September 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

6 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2012

February 2009

February 2006