St Mary's School (Milton) - 27/08/2015

Findings

Students experience a well-rounded education based on Catholic, values. They achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics. They learn in safe, well-resourced, attractive environments. They benefit from the positive relationships between adults and students. School leaders have established strong working relationships with the local parish priest and parent and wider community.

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

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

St Mary’s School in Milton provides an education designed to develop the whole child based on Catholic values. Students have many opportunities to develop as individuals and as valued members of their community. They benefit from the strong connections between the school and the local parish and community.

Students learn in a safe, inclusive, caring, family-oriented environment. Their learning and wellbeing are nurtured through the school’s strong pastoral support and relationship with the parish priest. Positive and supportive relationships are evident across the school and with the school community.

Students benefit from the attractive, well-resourced environments for learning and physical play. Their experiences and successes are widely acknowledged and celebrated.

Since the last ERO review in 2012, three teachers have been appointed. Teachers have continued to build on the priorities identified in the ERO report. There has been a strengthened focus for using digital technologies in teaching and learning, and for communicating with parents and the community.

2 Learning

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

Overall, students achieve very highly in reading and very well in writing and mathematics, in relation to the National Standards.

Students with lower than expected levels of achievement receive effective in and out-of-class support, including flexible grouping across classes. Teachers and the principal know the students well as learners and as individuals. Each student’s learning and progress in literacy and mathematics is closely monitored. 

Achievement information is well used to set targets to raise levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics across the school and for identified groups of students at risk of not achieving the expected levels.

Teachers use assessment information well to guide them when they plan and to involve students in their learning. They have maintained an ongoing development of assessment practices to ensure consistency and reliability in their judgements, particularly for writing and mathematics.

To strengthen the evaluation of what is working well and what needs to be improved:

  • staff meeting records should reflect the outcome of discussions teachers have had in meeting the school goals and development priorities, including discussions about the effectiveness of support for students identified for close monitoring and particular support
  • interim reports to the board should show how well students identified for close monitoring and particular support are progressing in their achievement and how well the teaching plans are supporting this progress.

3 Curriculum

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

Students experience rich learning contexts that build confidence and competence and help develop the Christian values identified in the school’s vision for learning.

Teachers place a strong emphasis on teaching literacy and mathematics. They have adopted specialist programmes for teaching literacy that provide for consistency across classrooms and involve students and parents in the learning.

Teachers use a variety of useful strategies to involve students in their learning. These include:

  • providing specific feedback to students and identifying their next steps for learning
  • providing meaningful opportunities to apply core learning through well-integrated inquiry approaches
  • students working cooperatively and setting and reviewing goals for learning
  • using IT to engage and broaden learning for students and involve parents in their child’s learning.

Teachers receive good support for developing their teaching practices. They are provided detailed guidelines for teaching and learning. The principal leads effective reviews of the school’s curriculum.

Teachers should extend the ways that they use student opinion to guide their programme planning and evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning.

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

Overall, Māori students achieve highly. A teacher with fluency in te reo and tikanga Māori provides expert support for teachers’ and students’ learning.

Staff and trustees value Māori language and culture. This is evident throughout school planning and programmes and in the increased wider opportunities for learning, such as visits to marae.

All students are involved in learning and preparing waiata and other items to perform at the local school celebration, Polyfest. Teachers integrate tikanga Māori into their programmes. They show a desire to increase their own competence in using te reo.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school has a strong working relationship with the local parish priest. This helps meet the school community’s vision and beliefs for Catholic education.

The school’s charter, and the strategic and annual plans are well aligned and linked to curriculum delivery. The views of parents are sought on an annual basis and are used to guide the direction for the school.

The principal has high expectations for all students to achieve highly. This is supported by individual action plans to help maintain teachers’ focus for improvement.

Teachers consistently seek ways to improve teaching and learning. The new teaching team is building in confidence. It is timely for the principal and teachers to establish and consolidate how they may work together to achieve the school’s vision.

Trustees are kept well-informed about students’ achievements, particularly for literacy and numeracy, and the range of programmes and experiences provided. School leaders should now:

  • align regular reporting to the board with the annual plan and goals
  • refine the strategic plan to show key priorities and how these will be developed over time
  • include the practising teacher criteria in teacher and principal appraisal.

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.

Conclusion

Students experience a well-rounded education based on Catholic, values. They achieve highly in reading, writing and mathematics. They learn in safe, well-resourced, attractive environments. They benefit from the positive relationships between adults and students. School leaders have established strong working relationships with the local parish priest and parent and wider community.

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

Chris Rowe
Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

27 August 2015

School Statistics

Location

Milton

Ministry of Education profile number

3831

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

84

Gender composition

Girls:      43
Boys:     41

Ethnic composition

NZ European Pākehā

Māori

Other

64
16
  4

Review team on site

July 2015

Date of this report

27 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

April 2012
May 2009
February 2006