St Mary's School (Hokitika) - 19/02/2018

School Context

St Mary’s School (Hokitika) is a year 1 to 8 Catholic integrated primary school with a roll of 167 students. The school vision states that students will be independent young people learning for life and living the Catholic faith. The vision is underpinned by the school’s virtues, the New Zealand curriculum and key competencies.

The school aims and goals focus on accelerating the progress of students who are low achieving, supporting the education of Māori and students with learning needs, improving the bicultural curriculum and enhancing the outdoor areas.

The school has been in a Ministry of Education project to accelerate literacy learning. All staff have also been involved in professional development to support mathematics teaching.

The school is part of the Westland Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL). The principal is the lead principal of the CoL.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement in relation to school targets

  • progress for students with high learning needs.

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?

Reports to the board over the last four years show that most students achieve at or above school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. Over this period of time there has been a steady increase in the proportion of students achieving well in reading and writing. Mathematics achievement has remained steady at 80%. There are high levels of achievement for Pacific and Asian students.

In 2017, there has been a noticeable lift in the proportions of Māori students and boys achieving expectations in reading and writing, and for boys in mathematics. The school has sustained or improved the 2016 achievement levels through to the end of 2017 for all year level groups.

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

The school is very effectively responding to those Māori and other students whose learning needs acceleration.

Reports for 2017 show improved rates of progress for targeted students. All Māori students whose learning was targeted made accelerated progress in reading and writing. There were lower numbers of Māori learners whose progress was accelerated in mathematics. For other targeted students approximately half made accelerated progress in mathematics and writing and two thirds in reading.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

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

The school has a number of processes and practices that are effective in enabling the achievement of equity and excellence. The school is committed to working together with parents, children and staff to achieve meaningful connections in relation to students’ learning.

Effective teaching strategies are used as part of the responsive curriculum to connect with students’ lives. The school has a deliberate focus on linking the students’ abilities, needs, and interests with learning tasks and teaching activities.

School leaders and teachers have effectively built their own, and collective, capability to improve outcomes for student achievement. Teachers have an increased awareness of the impact their teaching is having. There is a greater use of effective teaching strategies in literacy and mathematics. School targets and the allocation of resources are aligned to meet student needs and achieve school goals.

There is strong professional leadership at St Mary’s school. The leadership has a focus on lifting the achievement levels of all learners, particularly low achievers. Distributive leadership is being built across the school. Teachers are supported by the leadership through a robust appraisal process and targeted professional learning development opportunities. Teacher and student views are used to help evaluate and monitor the impact of professional development learning.

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

The board and leaders need to:

  • refine strategic planning so that it becomes a more useful process for evaluating the effectiveness of the school’s goals and aims in achieving equity and excellence

  • further develop school-wide planning to meet the school’s aim to provide an effective bicultural curriculum

  • clarify and evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s valued outcomes.

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:

  • a curriculum based on effective practices that are deliberately responsive to students’ abilities, needs and interests

  • the increasing teacher capacity and capability to know about the impacts of their teaching

  • leadership that focuses on lifting student achievement and supporting professional inquiry.

Next steps

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

  • identifying clearer valued outcomes, strategic goals and plans to effectively evaluate outcomes for all learners

  • monitoring and evaluating the impact of planning to achieve equity and excellence for all learners.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 February 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 17%
Pākehā 72% 
Pacific 2%
Asian 9%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

19 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review October 2014
Education Review July 2011
Education Review May 2008