St Teresa's School (Riccarton) - 11/12/2012

1 Context

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

The principal with the support of the board, staff and the parish community strongly promote the school’s Catholic character. This is particularly evident in the responsive and caring relationships that exist throughout the school. Students come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. The way students cultures are recognised and celebrated enriches the learning of all students.

The school’s roll continues to increase steadily. This growth has created issues around the number of indoor teaching spaces available for learning activities. This situation has been partly alleviated by the recently built school library.

The board, school leaders and staff have been particularly responsive to the needs of others arising from the Canterbury earthquakes. They have accommodated other schools, the Royal Commission of Inquiry and a local business within the school grounds.

The school has made significant progress in addressing the recommendations from the 2008 ERO report. This progress is most evident in improvements to the quality of teaching, in the provisions for students who do not have English as their first language and the inclusion and promotion of bicultural perspectives in the school’s curriculum.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of student achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers use a variety of ways that help to successfully engage students. They provide activities that take into account students’ interests, and expose them to a variety of new experiences. They interact with students in ways that help to motivate them and often make learning fun. Year 8 students, in particular, have good opportunities to develop leadership skills and contribute to decision making.

The principal and teachers make effective use of achievement information to set clear targets for accelerating student progress. They develop focused plans to support students to achieve these targets and monitor closely the progress and achievement of all students, including Māori and Pacific. Teachers provide useful, targeted, additional learning support for selected students. These students made very good progress in written language in 2012 as a result of this extra support and focused teaching.

The principal and teachers use a suitable range of practices to help them to assess and report student progress and achievement accurately, including their achievement against the National Standards. These practices include:

  • informative student learning journals that include samples of work that have been assessed by the students, often their peers and also their teachers
  • consistent assessment practices that include the moderation of teachers’ judgements about students’ literacy and mathematics achievement
  • the three-way conferences between parents, teachers and students that provide good opportunities for discussion and goal setting.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effectively promoting and supporting students' learning. This is increasingly evident as teachers apply the knowledge and skills gained from ongoing professional development.

The school’s curriculum is well designed and results in students receiving a balanced and suitably varied range of learning experiences. There are clear expectations for student learning and helpful guidelines for teachers. The integration of activities contributes to making learning meaningful. The school’s special character is successfully promoted. A range of recent initiatives is helping to improve learning opportunities for students in literacy, physical education and te reo and tikanga Māori.

Teachers consistently use many effective teaching practices. They create positive class environments and foster supportive relationships that maintain a strong focus on learning. Teachers’ planning is well-targeted and activities are purposeful. Teachers give appropriate emphasis to fostering students’ ability to become independent, life-long learners. Teachers regularly reflect on the effectiveness of their programmes and practices and make ongoing adjustments to these.

Area for review and development

Parts of the school’s curriculum guidelines could be improved. As the curriculum continues to be reviewed, more consideration needs to be given to clarifying what counts as high quality teaching as teachers' understanding of this increases through ongoing professional development.

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

The principal and staff are developing confidence, understanding and knowledge in the use of te reo Māori to promote the language, identity and culture of Māori students to succeed as Māori. Other school wide initiatives are also helping to ensure that these aspects are embedded in the school’s curriculum. They include professional development, regular hui with parents, a well supported kapa haka group and planning for and implementation of te reo Māori in all classrooms.

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.

The principal provides strong professional leadership that is promoting ongoing school improvement. Leadership and management practices foster a high level of teamwork and trust amongst staff. There is a growing use of staff strengths to improve the quality of teaching and class programmes. Staff have good opportunities for professional development and to receive feedback about their teaching. Teachers regularly reflect on their practice. There is a range of suitable provisions for ongoing curriculum self review.

A strong partnership exists between the board, the principal and staff. The board practices that promote good governance include:

  • the informative reports the principal presents to support decision making
  • the leadership and support provided by the chairperson and the current efforts to update the strategic goals
  • trustees' responsiveness to requests for additional staff and resources to improve student learning
  • the good provisions for updating board policies, reviewing the school’s special character and appraising the principal’s performance.

Area for review and development

Refinements to self-review practices could improve the quality and usefulness of self review. For example:

  • further clarifying the purpose of each review to better focus investigations
  • in some instances, better success criteria/indicators could be used for evaluating the effectiveness of programmes and practices
  • better analysis of survey results and more critical analysis of review findings would increase their usefulness for decision making.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. No international students were enrolled at the time of this ERO review.

The principal has met the annual review requirements and this has been acknowledged formally by the Ministry of Education.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Graham Randell National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 December 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 56%; Boys 44%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā










Latin American
















Special Features

Integrated Catholic School

Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

11 December 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2008

March 2005

May 2002