Star of the Sea School (Christchurch) - 11/04/2013

1 Context

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

Students learn in a very positive and inclusive school environment. The culture and values are well embedded and reflect the special character of the school. This includes strong links with the parish.

The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 meant that some areas of school development were interrupted or delayed. School staff provided considerable support for all members of the school community. A consequence of the earthquakes was families leaving the area, and a subsequent reduction of student numbers. The school is considering ways to increase the school roll to pre-earthquake levels.

The school benefits from significant support for learning programmes and resources from parents, the parish and the wider community.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

Teachers, students and parents have high expectations for student learning, achievement and progress. The majority of students are achieving well against the National Standards in reading, mathematics and writing.

Students understand how well they are achieving, and how to further improve their learning.

Senior students have many leadership opportunities and practices. They are well supported to develop skills and confidence in these leadership settings.

Teachers are provided with helpful expectations and guidelines for the use of student achievement information. They make good use of this information to plan programmes that address the learning needs and strengths of individuals, groups and classes.

Parents receive comprehensive and easy to understand reports about student achievement, progress and next learning steps. School-wide student achievement information is regularly reported to the board of trustees. This information helps the board make decisions about planning, and providing resources to better meet the needs of students. Students with special learning needs, including gifted and talented students, are well provided for.

ERO observed many examples of very good teaching. Students are well informed about their learning, and are focused and engaged during lessons. Their ideas and opinions are valued and they willingly help each other. Students make appropriate and effective use of a range of information and communication technologies to support and extend their learning.

Next steps include:

  • clearly defining high student achievement expectations
  • further developing processes to track the progress over time of individuals and groups of students to show how well school learning expectations are met

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning.

The curriculum principles and values align well with the special character of the school and its community. The values are strongly reflected in class programmes and in the relationships of teachers and students with each other. Teachers have an in-depth knowledge of their students and their learning strengths and needs. Students told ERO that they enjoy school, and that they feel well supported in their learning.

Teachers make good use of a wide range of professional development opportunities, including working with other local schools. They work well as a team to plan programmes that successfully promote students’ learning, personal development and wellbeing.

The school curriculum provides a wide range of learning experiences within the school and the wider community environment. This is enhanced by the use of specialist teachers, parents and whānāu to extend the depth and breadth of learning for students.

While the principal and teachers carry out regular reviews of individual learning areas it is not clear how the review findings are used to update and improve curriculum programmes. The next step is to further develop the curriculum self-review cycle to identify what is going well, and any changes that are needed.

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

The school is making good progress in promoting educational success for Māori students. These students achieve at similar levels to other students against the National Standards. Bicultural practices such as mihi, kapa haka and waiata are increasingly becoming well embedded in these programmes and environment. These are well supported by a specialist teacher of Māori.

A next step is the further integration of te reo and tikanga Māori across all curriculum areas.

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 board provides effective governance, and has set the strategic direction for the school. This includes a strong focus on children and family needs, reflecting community wishes, and supporting children’s’ learning. Trustees and the principal have a good understanding of the roles of governance and management, and work well together.

The principal provides positive professional leadership, especially of teaching and learning. This leadership is collaborative and reflective, and has a positive influence on the continuing development of students' learning and the enhancement of an inclusive school culture.

The school has undertaken some useful self review, including consultation with families and staff. However, it is not always obvious what the review findings are, or what next steps they lead to. The principal and trustees now need to develop more consistent ways of carrying out and recording self review, and making effective use of review findings.

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 April 2013

About the School


Sumner, Christchurch

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 36 Girls 36

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā






Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

11 April 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2010

February 2007

August 2003