St Theresa's School (Plimmerton) - 08/06/2016

1 Context

St Theresa's School in Plimmerton is a Years 1 to 6 state integrated primary school. At the time of this review 174 students were on the roll, with 17% identifying as Māori and 10% Pacific.

A new principal started at the beginning of 2016.

The school's special Catholic character is valued and supported through close links with the Plimmerton parish and wider Catholic community.

In 2015, the school library was relocated and upgraded to a learning hub to support the school’s aspirations for more effective learning and teaching.

2 Equity and excellence

The school's vision for students 'to live, learn and love with Jesus, being the best we can be' is closely aligned to their Catholic character. There is a strong focus on developing autonomous learners who experience success within the St Theresa's community of learners. To reinforce this, students set goals and inquire into their own learning. This is supported by deliberate, planned strategies schoolwide to develop students’ thinking, resilience, self-confidence and inquiry.

The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of students achieve well. Over the past three years, Māori student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has exceeded the national targets of 85% of students achieving at or above in relation to the National Standards. Pacific learners have achieved these targets in reading and are close to attaining them in writing and mathematics. Māori and Pacific students are well supported in learning and the development of their leadership skills.

Since the January 2013 ERO evaluation, the school has continued to sustain high levels of achievement through knowing students well and effectively targeting those at risk of underachievement. The school has funded further professional development to increase teacher effectiveness and raise achievement in mathematics.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is highly effective in responding to Māori students’ learning needs. Teachers know individual students well. They maintain a high level of communication with whānau to share information about students’ needs and endeavour to work together to support student success.

The school’s inclusive curriculum enables Māori students to participate, succeed and extend their learning. Expertise from within the local community is used well to support and promote opportunities for Māori students to be successful in learning about their culture and language. The school has a cultural responsiveness plan and is continuing to develop its focus on all Māori learners. Leaders have identified that a next step is to revisit Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners in greater depth and to review and further develop their strategies for inclusiveness.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Other students at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes are appropriately identified, plans put in place and their progress monitored and evaluated. In 2015, in response to a cohort of students whose learning and achievement required acceleration, the board provided funding for an extra classroom to reduce class sizes to support learning relationships and give students additional attention. This support is continuing in 2016.

Individual education plans are developed for students with high needs and for any student with a specific learning need, a short term education plan is developed in partnership with parents.

A part-time teacher and teacher aides work with students with specific learning needs.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

The board of trustees represents and effectively serves the school community in its stewardship role. Trustees demonstrate a good level of understanding of governance and management. They work collaboratively and use effective systems to regularly monitor and evaluate their effectiveness and performance.

School leaders have professional development support in coaching to build skills as leaders and to develop teachers' strengths. Involving others in leadership supports ownership of decision-making and promotes consistency across school priorities and initiatives. There is shared responsibility for promoting positive outcomes for all students, with emphasis on the ongoing development of teacher capability.

Staff are highly reflective and critically examine the impact of their teaching initiatives on outcomes for students. Leaders recognise a need to build deliberate processes to evaluate the impact of innovations in teaching, learning and curriculum design. Next steps are for: internal evaluation to be focused, aligned to sharper, more specific student achievement targets; and for school curriculum documentation to be revised to reflect the good practice evident in the school.

Partnership with parents is well developed. Communication from teachers and leaders keeps families well informed about student learning, school activities and events.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children who need their learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Students overall are achieving highly. Teachers are aware of the need to maintain improvements.

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

6 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 the following:

  • Board administration.

  • Curriculum.

  • Management of health, safety and welfare.

  • Personnel management.

  • 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.

  • Processes for appointing staff.

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions.

  • Attendance.

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that, to continue their improvement focus, the board and leaders use deliberate strategies and processes to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching, particularly for those students whose learning and progress need acceleration. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

8 June 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 51 %, Male 49 %

Ethnic composition




Other Ethnic Groups





Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

8 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2013

November 2009

December 2006