St John the Evangelist Catholic School

We maintain a regular review programme to evaluate and report on the education and care of young people in schools.

We are in the process of shifting from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

There may be delays between reviews for some schools and kura due to Covid-19 and while we transition to our new way of reviewing.

Read more about our new processes and why we changed the way we review schools and kura.

Find out which schools have upcoming reviews.

Education institution number:
1491
School type:
Full Primary
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
196
Telephone:
Address:

14B Otara Road, Otara, Auckland

View on map

School Context

St John the Evangelist Catholic School (Otara) is a state integrated school for girls from Years 1 to 8 and boys from Years 1 to 6. The school shares a large site with the St John the Evangelist Parish, Te Whaiora Marae, Kohanga Reo, and the St John the Evangelist Preschool. Children from the parish of St Peter Chanel, Clover Park also attend the school. The school roll of approximately 250 students includes three percent Māori and 97 percent with Pacific heritages, with the largest group being Samoan. A significant number of children are bilingual.

The school is well supported by its community. Families are committed to the school, with many second and third generations now attending.

The recently elected board includes some new and existing trustees continuing from the previous board. A new chairperson is to be appointed. The school is led by an experienced principal and deputy principal. New team leaders have been appointed from within the staff.

The school’s vision statement, “Children to live life to the fullest”, underpins the school’s strategic direction. The school’s mission statement is “Live, learn and love together, through nurturing a lifelong love of learning central to the spiritual, emotional, social and academic success of students”.

The school has a focus on developing students’ social intelligence, social competence and self-management to enable greater collaboration. Children are keen to learn and have aspirations to achieve. They show pride in their cultural identity and home languages.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • progress and achievement in relation to targets in reading, writing and mathematics
  • provision for children with additional learning needs
  • students’ engagement and wellbeing for success.

Leaders and teachers have participated in a wide range of professional learning and development (PLD). This includes wellbeing, collaborative practice, connected curriculum, literacy and numeracy learning progressions, and innovative learning environments.

The board of trustees is continuing to work with the Catholic Diocese of Auckland to resolve a longstanding property issue that constrains the board in providing an effective learning environment for its community.

The school is part of the South Auckland Catholic Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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?

Leaders and teachers are focused on achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. School data show that since 2016:

  • a large majority of students achieve at or above curriculum levels in reading
  • the majority of learners achieve at or above in writing
  • mathematics continues to be an area for development and shows a decline in achievement levels over time
  • some students make accelerated progress over time.

Leaders and teachers have established deliberate strategies for addressing a significant disparity between girls’ and boys’ achievement. While progress has been made to bring about parity in reading, disparity remains a challenge in writing and mathematics.

Teaching teams have begun to collaborate to share data about student achievement and learning. This collaboration is helping to strengthen teaching practices and develop student agency. Teachers identify and target students who need additional support to accelerate their progress and achievement.

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

The school has developed practices to accelerate learning for Māori and other students who need this.

A large majority of Māori students achieve at or above curriculum levels in reading, and the majority in writing. Achievement in mathematics continues to be an area for development. Separate data for Pacific learners show that a large majority achieve at or above expected curriculum levels in reading. Pacific learners’ achievement in writing and mathematics also continues to be an area for development.

Student progress and achievement is closely monitored and discussed at team meetings. Teachers modify learning programmes and appropriate support is provided where required, to continuously meet the needs of all students. This close tracking and monitoring is impacting positively on students’ progress.

There is strong provision for learners with English as an additional language. For children not achieving expected curriculum levels, additional support programmes are introduced to increase their skills in vocabulary, comprehension and oral language. They are well supported to access the curriculum and participate in the school culture.

Children with additional learning needs are integrated as part of the school’s inclusive practice. They make good progress in relation to their individual learning goals. Effective support is helping these children engage in their learning.

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?

The school’s strategic goals prioritise the special Catholic character, aim to provide a safe modern learning environment, and have a focus on wellbeing of students and teachers. Additional goals include engagement with the community, developing in-school leadership and building the capability and capacity of staff to deliver effective mathematics and literacy programmes.

A strategic approach to building leaders’ and teachers’ collective capacity is beginning to have a positive impact in the development of a responsive curriculum. The school’s special Catholic character drives curriculum design and is central to learning programmes.

Students learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive environment. They experience a culturally responsive curriculum that affirms their language, culture and identity. Leaders and teachers are committed to providing equitable opportunities for learning and this is impacting positively on student outcomes.

The longstanding commitment from the parish and whānau is a sound foundation for the ongoing development of the school.

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

The board has identified the need to evaluate its effectiveness. The new board would benefit from an induction programme that includes how trustees can meet their statutory responsibilities effectively.

Future training for the board could include exploring the New Zealand School Trustee Association document Hautū: Māori Cultural Responsiveness Self Review tool for Board of Trustees. This would help the board undertake an evaluation of the school’s responsibility for, and effectiveness in, promoting greater success for Māori learners.

The board and school leaders have identified the need for greater whānau/aiga and community engagement. This strengthened partnership should include working with whānau Māori and fono Pacific to refresh the school’s Education Plan. Leaders and teachers should continue to seek parents’ aspirations for their children’s education in order to strengthen relationships with whānau/aiga.

Leaders recognise that engaging parents in learning-centred partnerships is critical for accelerating student progress. Leaders and teachers are developing schoolwide plans about how this will be implemented, particularly for learners most at risk of not achieving.

The school is in the early stages of reviewing curriculum design and developing a broad, responsive, local curriculum. This development should ensure sufficient coverage of all learning areas, particularly science and the arts. Identifying opportunities to build on all children’s talents and skills is likely to strengthen curriculum development.

The newly appointed leadership team is building a staff culture of professional collaboration. There are high trust relationships amongst staff that support teacher efficacy, flexibility and risk taking. Leaders and teachers would benefit from:

  • continuing to develop and embed new initiatives around ‘teaching as inquiry’ and collaborative tracking and monitoring of children’s progress
  • further promoting children’s ability to direct, shape and have choice in their learning
  • accessing external PLD in mathematics to complement developing teaching practices
  • further developing internal evaluation capacity, focused on sustaining positive learning outcomes for all children
  • reviewing classroom structures for learners that support equitable opportunities for learning
  • continuing the development of a culturally responsive curriculum that reflects the unique community context and history of this school.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of St John the Evangelist Catholic School’s 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:

  • the strong commitment of the parish, families and whānau to ongoing school development
  • a collaborative approach to leadership that is impacting positively on student outcomes
  • opportunities that leaders and teachers have to develop their capacity and capability
  • the caring and collaborative environment that responds to students’ needs and promotes their learning success.

Next steps

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

  • leaders building stronger relationships with whānau and families that respond to students’ learning needs, promote their wellbeing and support their learning success
  • evaluation and inquiry processes that will help the board, leaders and teachers to identify what makes the most difference for learners, and to better analyse the impact on learner outcomes
  • evaluation at board level, to ensure that the school is meeting all statutory requirements.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that policies and procedures are up to date and that:

  • consultation with the community about the health curriculum is strengthened
  • appraisal processes meet Teaching Council requirements
  • annual reporting requirements to the Ministry of Education are met
  • improved financial systems and processes are consistently implemented
  • accurate records are kept when the public is excluded from board meetings.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

2 September 2019

About the school

Location

Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1491

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

247

Gender composition

Girls 59% Boys 41%

Ethnic composition

Māori 3%
Samoan 75%
Tongan 16%
Cook Island Māori 5%
other ethnic groups 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

2 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015
Education Review March 2013
Education Review October 2009

Findings

School personnel and systems support student wellbeing, and students make very good progress in literacy and mathematics. The curriculum supports students to feel confident in their cultures. School leaders are reviewing the curriculum to increase student opportunities to develop their thinking and to take greater ownership of their 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 John the Evangelist Catholic School (Otara) is a state integrated school for girls from Years 1 to 8 and boys from Years 1 to 6. Most students are of Samoan heritage and a significant number are bilingual. There are plans to rebuild the school on land adjacent to the current site.

The values and beliefs of the Catholic Church are central to the school’s special character and are integrated into the curriculum and the culture of the school. The school continues to maintain close links with local Catholic parishes and Catholic secondary schools.

The board is led by an experienced chairperson and several board members work in education-related occupations. Trustees and many of the staff share the cultures of the students who attend the school.

There have been significant staff changes, with four teachers appointed in the last year. Several of the staff that left had held leadership roles. Most of the leadership roles are currently held by the principal and deputy principal.

The 2013 ERO report commented positively on student achievement and the school’s commitment to supporting student welfare. It also acknowledged the progress being made to provide an effective school curriculum. ERO recommended changes to help teachers to respond better to students’ interests and capabilities, and to improve school governance and management. Progress has been made in these areas.

2 Learning

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

Students continue to achieve well in literacy and mathematics in relation to the National Standards. The percentage of students achieving at or above the National Standards in reading and writing is higher than national averages. Junior students who come to school with limited English language skills usually catch up during their first three years of school.

The school has improved its processes for gathering and using student achievement information. A new computer management system better enables teachers and school leaders to track student progress. Teachers are continuing to develop processes to ensure that judgements about students’ learning are reliable.

Trustees and school leaders make good use of achievement information to make strategic decisions about resourcing the school. They set and monitor achievement targets. The board employs teacher aides and funds appropriate professional learning for teachers in areas of the curriculum where achievement needs strengthening.

Reports to parents are clear and include assessments in relation to the key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. Senior leaders are now considering how they can gather and evaluate information about student learning in areas of the curriculum other than literacy and mathematics.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum promotes student learning effectively, especially in literacy and mathematics. Teachers emphasise developing students’ oral language, acknowledging that this is important to help children in their reading and writing.

Teachers know the students and their families well. They ensure that classrooms are settled learning environments. Where appropriate, support is provided to ensure that children’s physical and emotional needs are addressed so that they are ready to learn.

Children who speak other languages at home are supported within the classroom to learn English. Some teachers are able to speak with children in their home languages.

Junior class teachers design programmes for students based closely on what they know about each child’s learning. They have high expectations that all students will learn and students often make accelerated progress in mathematics, reading and writing during their first years at school.

The school’s partnership with parents is being strengthened. Some well-targeted programmes are helping parents to understand how they can help with children’s literacy and numeracy learning at home. One programme provides parents with strategies to make reading with their children an enjoyable and worthwhile activity. Parents of junior students have opportunities to discuss their children’s current learning levels, and ways to help them meet their learning goals.

The curriculum supports students to feel confident in their cultures. Religious education is integrated into curriculum areas as well as being taught specifically. Students have opportunities to learn about Māori and Pacific cultures and to participate in cultural performances.

The school recognises that continued development of the curriculum could include:

  • encouraging students’ thinking by promoting learning through inquiry
  • making effective use of information and communication technologies to support learning
  • expanding students’ management and ownership of their learning
  • helping students make decisions about their education beyond primary school.

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

Approximately five percent of the school role identify as Māori. As a group, Māori students are achieving well in literacy and mathematics.

The curriculum is increasingly able to support Māori students to achieve success as Māori. Students are provided with meaningful opportunities to experience their language and culture within the daily operation of the school. Aspects of tikanga Māori are well integrated into the life of the school. Te reo Māori resources are being used to support learning and teaching programmes. A teacher with strengths in this area has recently been employed.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well led and well governed. The board plans strategically using evidence including student achievement information to make decisions. Trustees are interested in gathering more input from whānau/aiga. They could now consider writing strategic goals in a way that clearly describes what they hope to achieve within set timeframes. Staff could then prepare action plans to guide the achievement of these goals.

School leaders understand the purpose of and processes for reviewing the school’s performance. The principal keeps the board well informed. School leaders monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of school operations and identify strategic directions. They sometimes use examples of best practice as a way of measuring progress.

School leaders know the staff well and provide effective professional leadership. The school management structure has been adapted to cater for the new staffing. The principal is considering how to build leadership skills across the staff.

Performance management systems are well designed to support teachers’ professional learning and to ensure the principal and teachers meet the Practising Teacher Criteria. The appraisal system is robust, based on evidence, and encourages teachers to reflect on their practice. Professional development is relevant to teaching and learning and is having a positive impact on student learning.

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.

Conclusion

School personnel and systems support student wellbeing, and students make very good progress in literacy and mathematics. The curriculum supports students to feel confident in their cultures. School leaders are reviewing the curriculum to increase student opportunities to develop their thinking and to take greater ownership of their learning.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

9 December 2015

School Statistics

Location

Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number

1491

School type

State Integrated Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

246

Gender composition

Girls 60% Boys 40%

Ethnic composition

Māori

Samoan

Tongan

Cook Island Māori

other ethnicities

5%

81%

8%

5%

1%

Special Features

Social Worker in Schools (SWIS)

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

9 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

March 2013

October 2009

August 2006