St Pius X Catholic School (Melville) - 26/06/2014


Students respond well to high expectations in a positive and supportive learning environment. They receive good quality education that caters well for individual student learning needs. Teachers make good use of professional development to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

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 Pius X Catholic School (Melville) is located in the Melville suburb of Hamilton. It is an integrated Catholic school that provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. The school’s roll reflects the cultural diversity of its community. The current school roll of 147 students is made up of a diverse range of cultural groups. Māori students are 17% of the roll. For a considerable proportion of students English is an additional language, and most of these students receive specific and appropriate learning support.

The school’s special Catholic character is strongly evident in all aspects of school life. Christian values strongly underpin student learning programmes, school community events and celebrations, and family and community orientated school culture. The school continues to maintain a strong partnership with its families, the local parish and community.

Board membership is now representing Māori, Filipino and Indian families. The chairperson and other key members provide valuable experience and continuity. School leaders have remained the same, and continue to provide sound professional leadership. There have also been few changes in the teaching team. A new multi-purpose hall has significantly enhanced the educational environment for students, parents and teachers, and is well used by the local community.

The school has a positive ERO reporting history. The board and senior leaders have responded positively to the 2011 ERO report. Significant progress has been made in aspects of assessment and teaching practice identified for development in that report. The board, senior leaders and teaching staff have recently begun to plan to develop a stronger Māori dimension in the curriculum.

2 Learning

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

The school has worked hard to improve the quality of assessment systems and practices. School leaders and teaching staff have participated in extensive professional development about the effective use of achievement information. They are committed to developing success for Māori as Māori, and improving the overall achievement of Māori students in relation to National Standards.

Teachers use a wide range of tools, including nationally referenced tests, to identify students’ needs and plan appropriate programmes. School leaders analyse school wide data to determine trends and patterns, identify priority groups of learners and set targets. Achievement information is reported to trustees throughout the year. They use this information to make informed decisions about ongoing resourcing and future curriculum development.

The principal regularly shares and discusses assessment information with teachers. This process allows them to make sound judgements about student progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards. The school’s data for 2012 and 2013 indicates that most students, including Māori and Pacific students, are achieving at and above the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics. These results are comparable with national averages.

Parents are kept well informed through written reports and parent teacher interviews about their children’s progress and achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum continues to support students’ holistic development and is responsive to the diverse learning needs of students and their families. It is closely aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum and the Catholic faith. Teachers focus on nurturing students’ love of God and helping them to become good citizens and lifelong learners.

Literacy and mathematics are priority areas for learning and this is reflected in the professional development undertaken by teachers. Professional learning and development in mathematics and writing is strengthening teaching practice in these areas. Teachers regularly reflect on and inquire into their practice and share teaching strategies to raise student achievement. Teachers use effective strategies to engage students in purposeful learning. Classrooms are well resourced and students confidently use computer technologies as tools for learning.

The principal annually leads a process of curriculum review. Teachers are able to share their views, consider relevant professional readings, and share new ideas. As a result of this review teachers modify the curriculum to reflect best practice and meet the needs of students.

ERO identified the need for school leaders to involve parents and community in the curriculum review process. This would enable parents to share their aspirations for their children’s well being and education, including the incorporation of the languages, cultures and identities of Māori, Pacific and other ethnic groups represented in the school. This is likely to involve parents as partners in their children’s learning. During the review several parents and students expressed a desire for students to have more opportunities to share and learn Māori and other school community languages and cultures.

These developments are likely to focus the school more clearly on achieving its strategic priorities.

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

The strong emphasis placed on whanaungatanga ensures that Māori students have a strong sense of belonging. They know that their language and culture is valued because it is acknowledged in special assemblies, masses and on cultural days. Teachers are starting to use te reo Māori in their classrooms. Students expressed a desire to have more opportunities to share and learn about their language and culture.

The board, senior leaders and teaching staff have recently begun to develop a stronger Māori dimension in the curriculum. They are also aware of the need, to develop and implement a systematic, sequential and sustainable Māori language programme for the whole school. The person responsible has organised external support to assist with the development of a strategic implementation plan.

The Māori representative on the board of trustees is surveying Māori whānau about what they would like the school to provide for their children. Further consultation is planned. It would also be appropriate to plan strategically to:

  • include teaching of local Māori history
  • encourage more consistent use of teaching and learning strategies to support Māori learners
  • strengthen ongoing consultation with Māori whānau, and establish links with local iwi.

These strategies should continue to benefit the learning and achievement of all Māori students.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Aspects that contribute to this are:

  • a strong commitment to improving student learning outcomes
  • well-analysed and evaluative reports on student achievement
  • effective professional and educational leadership
  • effective use of professional learning and development about best teaching practice
  • open communication, and trusting and collaborative relationships
  • high levels of student engagement
  • a safe and inclusive school culture.

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.


Students respond well to high expectations in a positive and supportive learning environment. They receive good quality education that caters well for individual student learning needs. Teachers make good use of professional development to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

26 June 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

South East Asian



Other Asian

Other European








Review team on site

May 2014

Date of this report

26 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

August 2011

August 2009

July 2006