St Joseph's Catholic School (Paeroa)

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School Context

St Joseph’s Catholic School is a state-integrated Catholic School located in the township of Paeroa. It caters for students from Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 84 includes 16 students who identify as Māori, and seven who are of Pacific descent.

The roll has grown significantly since the last ERO report in August 2015. The current roll includes a high proportion of students with additional learning needs. The school continues to be led by an experienced principal and there have been some changes to the teaching team. There has been a change to the make-up and structure of the board of trustees with a new chairman elected in 2018 and two new proprietor’s representatives appointed.

The mission statement and values are reflected in the special Catholic character of the school. Its mission states that ‘ St Joseph’s Catholic School is committed to providing caring Catholic environment and developing each child’s full potential grounded in a tradition of excellence whilst equipped to embrace the future.’ 

The school’s strategic aims focus on learning and achievement, special character, and developing a quality learning environment.

The school is a member of the Ohinemuri Community of Learning|Kahui Ako.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 of its students. The 2017 achievement information shows that a large majority of students are achieving at or above national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics. This data also shows that Māori students achieved at similar levels to their Pākehā peers in reading and writing. However, there is significant disparity between Māori and Pākehā in mathematics. A large majority of Pacific students achieved at or above national expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school reports that mid-year analysis of 2018 achievement information indicates improved results in reading, writing and mathematics for all groups of students. This analysis also shows that the level of disparity for Māori in mathematics is reducing.

The progress of students with additional needs is reported to the board. These students make appropriate progress in relation to their individual learning goals.

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

The school is accelerating the progress of some Māori and others who are at risk of not achieving.

The school’s 2017 - 2018 achievement information indicates that approximately half of Māori students at risk of not achieving made accelerated progress in mathematics and writing, and a third in reading. Two thirds of other at-risk learners made accelerated progress in mathematics and lower levels of acceleration were identified in reading and writing.

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?

Leaders provide a supportive learning environment. An emphasis on building trust underpins the strong partnerships for learning and relationships within the school community. Clear school-wide expectations guide teaching and learning practices. Student wellbeing is being prioritised, reflecting the school’s special character. Leaders have responded well to the challenges of a rapidly growing roll and an increase in the numbers of students requiring additional support. Professional learning and development has been prioritised to build teacher capability to support positive student outcomes.

A caring and inclusive culture supports learners. Positive relationships between teachers and students and their whānau are evident and reflect the special character of the school. Teachers know their students and families well and there are established routines that contribute to a culture focused on learning. The school accesses external agencies to support the learning of these students. A wide range of classroom-based interventions is in place to support targeted students. Students are increasingly able to set their own learning goals and identify their next learning steps.

Students benefit from a wide range of learning experiences. Teachers use a variety of teaching strategies and positive guidance to provide meaningful learning opportunities. Aspects of the local curriculum incorporate local iwi history. This continues to be strengthened by the provision of te reo and tikanga Māori in the school to support a growing recognition of the communities bi-cultural heritage. An extensive range of opportunities and experiences supports all learners to fully engage and participate in the life of the school.

The experienced board provides sound governance. Trustees work strategically and collaboratively with the principal. They have a focus on student achievement and base resourcing decisions on information provided to them. The board prioritises improving educational outcomes for students.

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

Aspects of internal evaluation need strengthening. Leaders and teachers need to more effectively:

  • monitor rates of acceleration for all at-risk learners

  • regularly evaluate and report on the effectiveness of teaching programmes, including targeted interventions

  • further refine teaching as inquiry to more sharply focus on all students who are under achieving.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • a collaborative culture of education and care that enables a learner-centred environment

  • a responsive curriculum that engages students in purposeful learning.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening targeted planning to improve rates of progress for students to achieve equity for all groups in the school

  • internal evaluation that better identifies what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

6 December 2018

About the school

Location

Paeroa, Hauraki District

Ministry of Education profile number

1951

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

84

Gender composition

Boys 50 Girls 34

Ethnic composition

Māori 16
Pākehā 46
Asian 8
Pacific 7
Other 7

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

6 December 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review August 2015
Education Review April 2012
Education Review April 2009

Findings

Students experience a small family orientated school in an inclusive learning environment that provides for their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Working in partnership with students’ families is valued. Mutually respectful relationships among teachers, the parish community, students and their families promote a strong sense of belonging by all.

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 Joseph’s Catholic School (Paeroa) is a small family orientated school, located in an attractive rural setting with extensive grounds, in the township of Paeroa. The school offers education with a special Catholic character for students from Years 1 to 8. The current roll is 58 students and the school provides education in three mixed age level classrooms.

The school has a long history in the area, with the school land purchased by the Church from local iwi in 1900. The church had a vision of establishing a school where students are educated in an atmosphere of Catholic faith. The board of trustees, principal and staff have continued this shared commitment to provide a caring Catholic environment that supports children to develop to their full potential.

In consultation with its community the school has established shared values. The school aims to provide an education underpinned by 'Catholic faith, where students develop attitudes of resilience and respect that promotes care, service, compassion and excellence (C.A.R.E)'. These values are interwoven into all parts of the school curriculum and permeate all aspects of school life.

The school continues to benefit from the support of its community and parish. Many families have generational connections and maintain positive relationships with the school and parish. Many of these families generously volunteer their time to support students learning through the school's reading programmes, assisting with sports activities, and supporting school events.

Since the 2012 ERO review there has been a change in principal, staff and board of trustees. The present principal was appointed in May 2013. She is focused on maintaining a collaborative and inclusive team culture where staff strengths are recognised and used in sharing responsibility and leadership within the school.

All teachers have been involved in a wide range of targeted professional development in leadership, assessment, e-learning and literacy. Professional development is resulting in ongoing review and continued improvement to school's practices, systems and curriculum. I-pads and laptops have been purchased for every classroom to provide students with varied tools for learning.

In term four this year the school will be up-grading classrooms, which should reflect modern learning environments. The principal, board and teachers are currently exploring how to best manage the change from traditional classrooms to modern learning environment. Supporting student engagement, progress and achievement remains a priority for the school.

2 Learning

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

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

The principal and board of trustees use achievement information to develop school-wide goals that specifically target identified groups of learners requiring interventions to accelerate their learning. Overall students of all ethnic groups are achieving within an acceptable range linked to national results. The principal keeps the board well informed through regular reporting on the effectiveness of strategies implemented towards meeting school wide achievement goals and targets. School data for 2015 shows these strategies are successfully accelerating the progress of targeted groups and individual students.

Effective review and reporting practices enable the board to be well informed and to make sound judgements about resources needed to support the school in meeting its student achievement goals. Teachers are well supported and have access to ongoing professional development to keep up-to-date with current teaching and learning practices.

Teachers use a good range of assessment practices to make reliable judgements about students learning. They use achievement information to plan for the differentiated learning needs of individual students, and for groups of learners. Students who require additional support in their learning are provided with relevant programmes to accelerate their progress towards meeting the National Standards in literacy and mathematics. Students who require extension in their learning are well catered for through access to programmes within the classroom and in extra curricula activities.

3 Curriculum

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

The school's curriculum successfully promotes and supports student learning and provides them with many meaningful and authentic learning opportunities. Students experience an inclusive learning environment that provides for their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Mutually respectful, trusting and caring relationships among teachers, the parish community, students and their families promotes a strong sense of belonging by all. Students are confident and older students model compassion and support for younger students both in their learning and in the playground. Teachers have high expectations for student learning and behaviour and model the school values in their interactions. Students have opportunities to engage in sporting, cultural and spiritual experiences, as well as educational opportunities outside the classroom.

Teachers have consistent school wide guidelines and expectations for practice. They use an extensive range of effective teaching practices that build on students existing knowledge. Learning occurs often in social contexts. Students have many opportunities to reflect and share their ideas and thinking with their peers. The purpose of learning is known by students along with what they need to do to be successful. They are encouraged by teachers to be self-managing and have many opportunities to assess their own work and provide feedback to their peers against agreed success criteria.

The principal is focused on building teachers’ professional knowledge. This has included participation in whole school professional learning and development. Teachers are developing processes around teaching as inquiry, where they reflect on their own practice to effectively support individual student progress and engagement. Collaborative team planning meetings enable teachers to share strategies and approaches, and regular discussions are leading to a strong reflective culture, focused on outcomes for students. Further developing teaching as inquiry practices is an identified priority for development by the principal and teachers. This is likely to contribute to ongoing school improvement as well as enhancing practices that promote student progress and achievement.

Working in partnership with students’ families is valued and promoted by the school. There are many opportunities for parents to be engaged in their child’s learning. Students set learning goals in literacy, mathematics and social competencies collaboratively with their parents and teachers. Student learning journals are accessible to families and celebrate students learning, progress and achievement. Student achievement reports informs families about their child’s learning in relation to National Standards, their next steps in learning, and how parents can help at home.

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

There are many practices that promote educational success for Māori as Māori. The special Catholic character and religious education practices provide a strong spiritual dimension and embrace positive and respectful relationships. The school can show that Māori students are achieving well and comparable to other groups of learners. The school has appointed a Kaiārahi reo specialist teacher who is responsible for the schools te Reo and tikanga Māori programmes. Students enjoy participating in kapa haka and learning local kawa and waiata.

Values of whakawhānaungatanga and manaakitanga underpin the school culture. Students are supported to be confident and have a strong sense of belonging to the school and parish community. Children are valued for who they are in the context of their whānau and life experiences. The board and school leadership consult with whānau and teachers involve them in setting learning goals for their children.

The principal and board of trustees acknowledge they could include more local history, Māori knowledge and heritage across the curriculum. This should support the school in further promoting Māori culture, language and identity within the school. All students should benefit from learning about local history and places of significance to local iwi.

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 continued support and reciprocal relationships with the parish and school community continues to enhance the quality of education. The board is well lead by the chairperson. Trustees have undertaken training, understand their responsibilities, and bring a range of strengths to their role. They work collegially with the principal and teachers, and share a commitment to equity, social justice and are strong advocates for children and their families.

The principal provides strong educational leadership and is establishing a culture of reflective practice focused on improvements that enhance student engagement, progress and achievement. She leads self-review practices that are informed by evidence, inquiry and research based practices. These practices effectively support school-wide decision making and lead to ongoing improvement of school operations and the quality of education students experience within the school.

Areas for review and development

The board, principal and teachers are currently prioritising exploring effective, best practice and approaches for implementing teaching and learning in a modern learning environment.

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

Students experience a small family orientated school in an inclusive learning environment that provides for their physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs. Working in partnership with students’ families is valued. Mutually respectful relationships among teachers, the parish community, students and their families promote a strong sense of belonging by all.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

26 August 2015

About the School

Location

Paeroa

Ministry of Education profile number

1951

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

58

Gender composition

Boys 39

Girls 19

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori

Pākehā

Indian

Samoan

Niue

Other

9

42

2

2

1

2

Special Features

Catholic Character

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

26 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2012

April 2009

February 2008