St Joseph's Catholic School (Dargaville)

St Joseph's Catholic School (Dargaville)

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within 12 months of the Education Review Office and St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville) working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website.


St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville) is a state integrated Catholic school catering for students in Years 1 to 8. The school’s stated mission is, ‘Flourish in faith, hope and love while realising all our gifts and talents’. At St Joseph’s Catholic School students strive to ‘Learn, Serve and Live like a S.A.I.N.T.’ The school charism reflects the values of: Service, Appreciation, Integrity, Neighbourly and Taking responsibility.

St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville)’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • building an open to learning organisational culture
  • embedding our shared language of learning
  • growing individual capability to increase collective capacity.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville)’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how effectively ‘Assessment for Learning (AFoL)’ is impacting on student agency, progress and achievement.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is to: 

  • build teachers’ capacity and capability to promote equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners
  • foster a learning environment where students confidently talk about what they are learning and how they know they are learning it.

The school expects to see classrooms focused on learning where students can describe their contribution to the learning process, showing greater ownership of the lesson, as the responsibility for learning shifts from teacher to student.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to evaluate how effective assessment for learning is impacting on student agency, progress and achievement within its curriculum design:

  • The school’s special character values of service, appreciation, integrity, neighbourly and taking responsibility are evident in all aspects of school life and are reflected in the way the school community relates to others.
  • Improvements in school-wide systems and effective internal evaluation processes.
  • The school board, staff and the community are fully involved in school activities and are valued partners in learning.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • developing a school-wide language of learning
  • building a shared responsibility for evaluation at all levels of the school
  • prioritising the further development of the school curriculum to build learner agency
  • a culture of high expectations so that effective teaching and opportunities to learn reflect the school’s values in an ongoing manner.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years. 

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

9 February 2024

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

St Joseph's Catholic School (Dargaville)

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2023 to 2026

As of May 2023, the St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville) Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville), School Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

9 February 2024

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

St Joseph's Catholic School (Dargaville) - 14/06/2019

School Context

St Joseph’s Catholic School, Dargaville is affiliated with the parish community of Catholic Sacred Heart Church. It caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The roll is 97 with 31 students identifying as Māori and 19 students of Pacific heritage. There has been steady roll growth across all year levels over recent years.

The school’s stated mission is ‘Flourish in faith, hope and love while realising all our gifts and talents’. This is underpinned by the school‘s charism of “Whanaungatanga – Making room for all, Wananga – Do your bit, Ako – Listen to God’s call, Manaakitanga – Have an attitude of gratitude, Tangata whenuatanga – Be the change you want to be.”

The school’s 2019 achievement targets focus on accelerating student’s progress in reading, writing and maths across all year levels.

School priorities are to improve student achievement by:

  • engaging students - with students taking ownership of their learning
  • developing effective teaching - with teachers being responsive to student learning and development needs
  • understanding the special character of the school.

These priorities include acknowledgement of Māori as tangata whenua.

The school has a stable leadership team along with three new classroom teachers. The board of trustees has remained stable over recent years.

Leaders regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement in reading, writing, mathematics and other learning areas
  • progress and achievement for students with diverse needs.

Whole school professional learning for 2018 to 2020 is focused on an e-Learning planning framework.

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 working towards equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. The board and school leaders are proud of the significant positive shifts in student achievement in reading in the last three years. Positive shifts can also be seen in student achievement in mathematics.

While most of the students achieve at their expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics, girls continue to achieve more highly than boys.

Leaders and teachers use good assessment approaches to track, monitor and analyse student data. They should now consider increased external moderation as an additional means of continuing to validate the accuracy of school assessments.

School leaders and teachers support learners to meet the school’s valued outcomes. Most learners:

  • are building friendships and relationships, and developing the skills and attitudes that support both tuakana/teina relationships and the school’s charism
  • are respectful of themselves and others, and have a strong sense of the special character of the school.

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

The school is actively implementing strategies to support the acceleration of learning for Māori and other students who need this. Tuakana/teina relationships and culturally responsive strategies have been developed to support students in their learning.

School leaders prioritise raising achievement levels overall, and address disparities in achievement for Māori students and others in reading, writing and mathematics. They have initiated school-wide learning programmes to help address these disparities.

Learning support, interventions and programmes assist those students with additional learning needs. Leaders and teachers work collaboratively to provide individualised support for students who need this.

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?

Parent partnership, school leadership and professional capability building support the school’s progress towards the school achieving excellence and equity.

Leaders and teachers have developed strong learning partnerships with parents and whānau. Teachers work with parents to help them provide relevant learning opportunities, resources and support at home for students. Parents and whānau participate in cultural celebrations and other special occasions incorporated into school programmes to make learning more relevant and authentic for students.

School leaders have developed a culture of relational trust and collaborative support within the school community. They use a variety of communication tools to share events and planning with parents, students and whānau, and they encourage reciprocal interactions with the school community. Teachers have a strong focus on students’ holistic success. Teachers have established a nurturing environment that reflects manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, ako, and mahi tahi.

Leaders and teachers are purposeful in building their professional capability and capacity. Leaders share clear expectations of teachers, students and parents. They are building useful organisational systems to support teachers. Teachers plan collaboratively and share their growing professional knowledge to improve learning outcomes for children. They are responsive towards a bicultural curriculum, the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, and other principles underlying the New Zealand Curriculum.

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

Leaders and teachers should use the school’s good foundations to provide more integrated opportunities for student learning across all aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum. More integrated approaches should provide students with increasingly meaningful learning experiences, and support them to process their learning more intrinsically.

Leaders and teachers should now introduce students to leading their own learning, by being more responsive to students’ needs and interests. Teachers could trial teaching methods that encourage students to discover their best ways of learning, so that they are able to challenge themselves and set personalised learning pathways.

Leaders acknowledge the need to continue to build teachers’ professional capability and collective capacity to support the achievement of equity and excellence. They recognise the importance of taking opportunities for continual development. Leaders should now develop ways to ensure that teachers learn collaboratively through their inquiries. They could also increase leadership opportunities for staff. A more intentional and strategic approach to planning for these outcomes would be beneficial.

School leaders could further promote robust inquiry, knowledge building and evaluation for schoolwide improvement. Increased use of external research, current best practice theory, and collaborative professional learning opportunities should help to further develop in-school evaluation and decision making-processes.

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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of St Joseph’s Catholic School (Dargaville) performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a collaborative community of school, whānau and parents that works together to support children and realise the school’s mission and values
  • leadership that builds relational trust and reflects the aspirations and needs of the community
  • organisational structures that support teachers to develop their professional capability.

Next steps

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

  • leaders and teachers designing and documenting a local curriculum that is responsive to students’ interests and needs
  • leaders and teachers exploring approaches to challenge and extend learning to support all students to reach their potential
  • leaders deepening teacher inquiry practices, and building leadership capacity across the school
  • leaders and teachers using evaluation to deepen understandings of effective practices that support the provision of rich, curriculum-wide outcomes for students.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

14 June 2019

About the school

Ministry of Education profile number1098
School typeFull Primary (Years 1 to 8)
School roll97
Gender compositionBoys 52 Girls 45
Ethnic compositionMāori 
NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)No
Provision of Māori medium educationNo
Review team on siteMarch 2019
Date of this report14 June 2019
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review
Education Review 
Education Review
March 2016 
March 2014 
January 2012