St Mary's School (Hastings) - 15/12/2016

1 Context

St Mary’s School (Hastings) is a Catholic, state integrated school for students in Years 1 to 8. Fourteen percent of the students identify as Māori and ten percent as Pacific. The majority of board members are new to their roles in mid-2016.

Students are from Hastings' suburbs and neighbouring areas. An increasing number of students are from Asia and Pacific nations and have English as their second language.  

Since the January 2014 ERO report, teachers have been involved in several Ministry of Education professional learning and development (PLD) programmes, particularly for accelerated learning in literacy and mathematics.

St Mary’s School has joined the Hastings West Community of Learning (CoL). The school has a positive reporting history with ERO.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to live by the Catholic Gospel values of Respect, Responsibility and Reconciliation.

The school values recognise the importance of tikanga and te reo Māori which are integrated into many aspects of the curriculum. Cultural diversity and inclusion are promoted and celebrated.

A shared belief is that all students are supported to be successful learners so that they will continue to learn beyond school. Positive relationships are important across the school community.

The school's achievement information shows that from 2014 to 2016, student achievement is tracking towards the national target for 85% of students to be achieving at or above the National Standards. Many students achieved at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics in 2015. 

Māori students’ achievement has improved from 2013 to 2016. In 2015, they achieved above their peers in the school in writing and reading, but below in mathematics. The school is yet to raise the achievement of Pacific students to that of their peers in all three learning areas.

Teachers use a robust moderation process to support the consistency of their assessment judgements about students' achievement. 

Since the previous ERO review trustees and leaders have:

  • given high priority to accelerating achievement of groups of senior students, predominantly boys, who need improved progress in reading, writing and mathematics.
  • focused on improving achievement of Pacific students across all areas
  • set strategic priorities, plans and resourcing to address students' learning needs.
  • undertaken schoolwide PLD on responsive teaching and learning strategies
  • improved analysis of student assessment information and inquiry into the impact of teaching practices on student progress
  • established student achievement data boards which are well used for regular tracking and monitoring of target students against expectations and sharing progress with leaders and the board.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school has responded very effectively to Māori learners whose achievement needs to be accelerated. This has resulted in increased numbers of these targeted Māori learners achieving at expected levels.

Teachers are committed to supporting all learners to be successful. They demonstrate high expectations for all, researched-based teaching strategies, inclusive values and practices, and increasing opportunities for purposeful communications with whānau.

Leaders use consultative processes to gather the perspectives and priorities of students, whānau and staff to inform strategies and actions. Leaders support teachers to refine and embed practices over time to improve learning opportunities for all students.

ERO affirms the school's comprehensive review and development processes and changed practices to reduce disparity of achievement, especially in mathematics.

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

Teachers and their leaders know well those students whose learning needs acceleration. They use a range of information to inform teaching programmes and interventions. In 2016, a significant number of learners made accelerated progress, with some now achieving at expected levels for their age.

Students with additional learning needs are well identified and provided with differentiated programmes and resources to cater for needs. The school makes good use of partnerships with external agencies to support students.

School data shows some English language learners are making good progress in their language learning through in-class instruction and additional programmes. As a result, some are achieving at expected levels in relation to National Standards.

The school has accelerated the achievement of some targeted Pacific students. Trustees and leaders identify that additional inquiry and resourcing are needed to achieve equity for Pacific students. A change team has been established to collect further information and consult with the community to inform planning and strategies to address this challenge.

The school should further develop systems and assessment processes for evaluating the effectiveness of learning support programmes and resourcing for students with additional needs. This should assist trustees to make evidence-based 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?

Trustees are improvement-focused, involved in training for their roles and responsibilities, and representative of a diverse community. They are well informed during the year through regular, comprehensive information about student progress in relation to school priorities and annual targets.

The school has good systems for regular policy review and development. Increased scrutiny of student achievement data should strengthen the board's evaluation of the impact of its resourcing decisions on improving rates of progress.

Leadership is highly effective and provides sound systems and high expectations for ongoing improvement. School leaders relentlessly pursue strategies that focus on all students being successful learners and accelerating the achievement of those at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Leaders champion ongoing staff learning and knowledge building through inquiry, research, review and provision of a wide range of PLD. They set high expectations for teaching practice and support and coach teachers as emerging leaders.

The school continues to build reciprocal and learner-centred relationships with parents and whānau. Families have a range of opportunities to contribute to their child's learning through formal and informal interactions. Parents’ views and perspectives are well considered and are used to inform planning and priorities for students.

Transitions for students into and beyond the school are well planned and responsive to individuals.

The St Mary’s School curriculum is broad and responsive to students’ lives and family aspirations. It provides opportunities for students to make good progress as successful learners. Well-managed learning environments support participation, engagement and inclusion. Programmes are regularly modified in response to learners' needs. Learner-led inquiry and use of digital technology promote high levels of engagement.

Teachers' and leaders' capability and collective capacity are continually developing to respond to school priorities, individual needs and charter expectations. They are involved in coaching, teacher inquiry and robust appraisal aligned to improving outcomes for students. Further refinement of appraisal goals so that they specifically relate to valued student outcomes should increase the focus on those students whose progress needs to be accelerated. 

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

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.

Leaders and teachers have used a range of effective strategies and tools to support the ongoing improvement in student achievement across the school. Further development of internal evaluation processes should strengthen trustees' and leaders' planning and resourcing decisions.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three 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

ERO and leaders agree that strengthening appraisal goal setting and further development of evaluation knowledge and processes should help sustain school improvement initiatives. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

15 December 2016

About the school 

Location

Hastings

Ministry of Education profile number

2681

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

257

Gender composition

Female 55%, Male 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Asian
Other ethnic groups

14%
64%
10%
  9%
  3%

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

15 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2014
December 2010
December 2007