St Michael's Catholic School (Rotorua) - 26/10/2018

School Context

St Michael’s Catholic School (Rotorua) is a contributing primary school in the Western Heights suburb of Rotorua. The principal has recently been appointed to the school. The long-serving deputy principal was the acting principal in terms one and two of this year. The school motto is ‘Striving for Excellence’ and Catholic values underpin all aspects of learning and school organisation. Strategic goals identified in the 2018 charter are striving for excellence, unique skills and passions are celebrated, and independent, confident learners are nurtured. Staffing is stable. However, there has been some changes to board membership since the last review.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

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

The school is achieving positive learning outcomes for most of its students. Data reported by the school shows most students achieve at or above national curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. School-wide achievement data over time shows an upward trend in achievement in reading and mathematics. However, there is significant and ongoing disparity for Māori students in reading, writing and mathematics. In reading and mathematics, boys are generally achieving at higher levels than girls, whose overall achievement has declined in recent years.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is unable to show accelerated progress for Māori and other identified at-risk learners. Leaders are yet to analyse and use achievement data to identify rates of expected and accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

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

Teachers purposefully engage students in meaningful contexts for learning. There has been a strong professional learning and development focus placed on raising achievement for boys, that has lead to improved learning outcomes for these students. Mixed-ability and instructional grouping is providing support and challenge for at-risk learners. Teaching practice is contributing to positive learning outcomes for students.

A supportive and caring culture for learning is evident. The special Catholic character underpins positive relationships and pastoral care throughout the school. Relationships are respectful and inclusive. Students with additional learning needs are well supported by teachers and teacher aides. Productive working environments contribute to students being actively engaged in discussions about their learning. Parents are well informed about their children’s learning. Teachers know students and their families very well and their wellbeing and sense of belonging are affirmed.

The board is strongly focused on raising student achievement. Trustees use achievement information reported to make appropriate and relevant resourcing decisions. They are informed about the achievement of targeted students through reports shared by senior leaders. Programmes and initiatives for students needing additional support with their learning lead to improved learning outcomes, particularly in mathematics and for boys.

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

Leadership for learning needs to be strengthened. Principal and senior leaders need to prioritise:

  • curriculum review and development, including consultation with the community and parents
  • the development of shared and agreed expectations about teaching and learning
  • reviewing and strengthening key aspects of the appraisal process for all teaching staff.

The management and use of school-wide achievement information needs strengthening to:

  • identify and target groups of at-risk learners, particularly Māori

  • monitor and show rates of progress (expected and accelerated)

  • inform planning and teaching leading to deliberate practices to raise achievement.

Strengthening these systems and practices should lead to more coherent, systematic internal evaluation and improved outcomes for all students.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to consultation with Māori.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure that the Māori community is consulted about plans and targets to raise achievement for Māori students.
    [National Administration Guideline 1(v)]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a positive culture for education that promotes students’ identity and nurtures wellbeing

  • informed resourcing provision at governance level that supports continuous improvement in learning and teaching.

Next steps

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

  • leadership of learning with a strong focus on developing clear and agreed expectations for teaching and learning

  • strengthening targeted achievement, particularly for Māori learners who are underachieving

  • implementation of a robust appraisal process that contributes to consistently high levels of teaching practice
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

26 October 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori 41%
Pākehā 45%
Pasifika 4%
Asian 5%
Other 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2018

Date of this report

26 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review March 2015
Education Review May 2012
Education Review July 2009