St Mary's School (Foxton) - 15/01/2018

School Context

St Mary’s, a small state integrated Catholic school in Foxton, has students in Years 1 to 8. The school roll is 38 students, with 32% identifying as Māori. Children learn in twomixed-age classrooms, Years 1 to 3 and Years 4 to 8. The school values opportunities for students to serve and be a part of their community. The learning environment promotes courage, resilience and social justice.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • religious education and restorative practice

  • progress in relation to strategic goals.

The school has experienced significant change since the August 2014 ERO report. School leadership seeks the perspectives of the community and to involve parents and whānau as valued partners in learning.

Involvement in Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako continues to build learning relationships to support the achievement of students.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school reports that the majority of students achieve in reading and writing.

In mathematics, many achieve well. Girls achieve better than boys in mathematics. To address this disparity, the school has given this area priority in the strategic plan. The principal and staffcontinue to investigate and extend the range of meaningful learning contexts to motivate students, engage them and promote mathematical concepts.

Students with additional needs are closely monitored and learning opportunities provide appropriate support and challenge. The school communicates with whānau and effectively engages with external agencies to coordinate resources and make good progress towards learning goals for students.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to those Māori and other learners whose learning and achievement require acceleration. Processes have been developed to identify, track and monitor their progress. Leaders and teachers work collaboratively, have regular check points and engage in learning conversations to review the progress and achievement of individual children.

Data indicates some learners make noticeable progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The board actively represents and serves the school and educational community. Trustees access appropriate resources to help them in their stewardship responsibilities, centred on student learning and wellbeing.

The school leader and teaching team work collaboratively to improve student achievement. They are reflective and inquire into the data to guide their teaching practice. Learning conversations are focused on students whose progress requires acceleration. Staff have been involved in professional development to support literacy and mathematics learning.

Newly implemented curriculum plans provide useful guidance for teachers. These are underpinned by The New Zealand Curriculum and Catholic values. The addition of career education, te reo Māori and other language learning opportunities, provide a range of authentic learning contexts designed to lift engagement. Digital technology is used to enhance learning, grow independence and allows opportunities for parents to connect with their children’s progress and milestones.

Staff are deepening their knowledge and capacity to support learning outcomes for Māori. The school engages in a range of meaningful contexts with whānau. Te ao Māori and te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are valued and actively supported by teachers and leaders in the curriculum, through kapa haka and pōwhiri.

Students learn in a positive environment. A restorative programme assists them to use appropriate learning behaviour with each other and these values set expectations for all students, teachers and whānau.

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

Further development, to continue building the schools’ capacity to promote equity and excellence in student outcomes, includes:

  • school leaders and trustees improving their understanding of effective internal evaluation to identify what is working well for student’s learning and where improvements are needed; and to measure the impact of school operation

  • continuing to strengthen school targets to focus on those groups of students most at risk and who require their learning to be accelerated; aligning these with class targets and teacher inquiries.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership that strategically supports building teachers’ capacity

  • knowing those students whose learning and achievement need acceleration

  • practices that represent and engage whānau and the community.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening schoolwide targets that focus on those learners most at risk of not achieving

  • building collective capacity to use evaluation, inquiry and knowledge, to sustain and further improve outcomes for learners.

The board and principal agree that a workshop on internal evaluation processes would benefit the school.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

15 January 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

18, Female 20Male

Māori 12

Pākehā 15

Pacific 3

Filipino 8

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

15 January 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2014

Education Review June 2011

Education Review May 2008