St Matthew's School (Marton) - 09/08/2016

Findings

St. Matthew’s School (Marton) has made significant progress since the October 2014 ERO report. A robust review process and effective management and governance systems are in place to promote student wellbeing and learning. Trustees and the principal are continuing to strengthen and embed improvements. Students learn in a family-friendly environment and parents are welcomed.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

St. Matthew’s School (Marton) caters for 39 students in Years 1 to 8. The majority of students are Samoan and English is a second language for half of these students. Trustees and the principal are proactive in welcoming and encouraging parents to participate in school activities. Students learn in a family-friendly environment, supportive of their language, culture and identity.

The new board of trustees, elected in June 2016, is led by an experienced chairperson. The principal contributes to an active school cluster and plans are established for the school to be part of a Community of Learners (COL).

The October 2014 ERO report found many areas of strength related to learning and teaching, the curriculum, student engagement and relationships. However, improvements were needed to strengthen governance, develop a programme for self review and to ensure all health and safety requirements were met. Following the 2014 report, the principal and trustees accessed external support in a purposeful way to implement a programme of positive change. Self review and subsequent action has resulted in more efficient systems for management and governance. The school is better placed to sustain continuous improvement

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The October 2014 ERO report identified the following as key areas for improvement:

  • strengthening governance capability
  • implementing effective self review for improvement
  • completing an appraisal process for the principal
  • developing a process for police vetting staff. 

Progress

The school has successfully addressed the areas for development. Trustees and the principal have developed systems and structures to support sustainable school operation. Significant improvement is evident.

External support and guidance has been sought and used purposefully to assist the board and principal. This approach is to continue as the school moves forward in its review process.

The newly elected board better represents the make-up of the school community. The chairperson is knowledgeable about progress made since 2014 and ways to enact the next steps outlined in the charter’s strategic and annual plans. Student wellbeing is given priority in board decision-making.

A useful handbook provides a reference point for governance practice and induction of new trustees. Training for the new board is planned with awareness and sensitivity towards individual trustees’ needs.

There is a notable improvement in the quality and timeliness of reports provided to the board, by the principal. The impact of resourcing is made clear as is students’ progress and achievement against National Standard expectations and short-term goals. The board acts on the principal’s recommendations for resourcing, following discussion and reflection.

Plans for ongoing review and efficiencies in policy development are clearly stated. New and changed legislative requirements have been addressed. All non-teaching staff are police vetted and there is a system to ensure this continues in a timely way.

A robust, improvement-focused principal appraisal process was completed for 2015, with an update written to June 2016. The principal’s appraiser also has the role of professional mentor and coach. The principal uses this same process to appraise and coach teachers. Teachers have begun a teaching-as-inquiry approach, focused on students whose progress needs accelerating. This is a collaborative process and in the early stages of development.

Self review (internal evaluation) is more robust. The board has worked through a review process with assistance from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) and is in a sound position to conduct planned, future reviews.

Key next steps

A number of initiatives are newly developed and implemented. The principal and board have identified next steps to sustain progress and move forward in a positive and inclusive way. Next steps include:

  • building stewardship capability of new board members and recognising cultural preferences through the way the board operates
  • further enhancing partnerships with parents and consulting whānau in appropriate ways
  • continuing to use external advice and guidance in a needs-based way
  • further developing and embedding teacher inquiry, with a deliberate focus on the needs of students who are underachieving. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is in a sound position to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

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

St. Matthew’s School (Marton) has made significant progress since the October 2014 ERO report. A robust review process and effective management and governance systems are in place to promote student wellbeing and learning. Trustees and the principal are continuing to strengthen and embed improvements. Students learn in a family-friendly environment and parents are welcomed.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Marton

Ministry of Education profile number

2456

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

39

Gender composition

Male 19, Female 20

Ethnic composition

Māori
Samoan
Pākehā

  8
21
10

Special features

State Integrated Catholic School

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

9 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

October 2014
June 2012
April 2009