St Patrick's Catholic School (Taumarunui)

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School Context

St Patrick’s Catholic School is located in Taumarunui. Of the 35 students from Years 1 to 8, 15 identify as Māori.

The school vision for students is ‘to show faithfulness, be more responsible and to become lifelong learners’.

The valued outcomes for students are underpinned by: ‘thankfulness; participation and contribution; honesty; listening to God’s call’.

Leaders and teachers reported to the board in 2019, school wide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

Since the November 2016 ERO report, the school roll has declined. The school has undergone significant changes to staffing during 2019, including all new teachers and a newly appointed board chair. At the beginning of 2020 an acting principal was contracted until June 2020.

The school has recently begun participating in the Taumarunui 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?

Trustees and school leaders were not able to provide sufficient, over time information to know how well they are achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students. Some steps have been taken since ERO’s evaluation to retrieve 2018 and 2017 achievement information, to show student progress and achievement over time.

The principal is supporting trustees and staff to fully understand how well the school achieves equity and excellence for all students. Improved tracking, monitoring and reporting of student achievement have been recently established. These processes are in the early stages of being introduced.

School provided data for the end of 2019, shows a small majority of students achieve at or above expectation in reading and writing. Māori students are achieving better than their peers in reading. Less than half of the students meet expectations in mathematics.

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

The school is working toward effectively accelerating the learning of all those students who need this.

The principal has recently introduced systems and processes focused on accelerating the progress and achievement of those Māori and other students who require 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?

Parents, whānau and community are welcome and encouraged to be involved in school activities. The acting principal and staff promote a constructive and respectful tone in classrooms and around the school. The implementation of a positive behaviour programme enables the school’s special character and expectations to be evident in practice.

Students with additional learning needs have appropriate access to internal and external support. Those with individual education plans have goals identified that specifically promote learning and engagement. Additional personnel resourcing supports these children’s participation and learning at school. Classroom conditions support an inclusive environment for learners.

The acting principal and school personnel demonstrate a collaborative approach to improvements required. Teachers promote equity of opportunity for children through a wide range of relevant contexts and experiences.

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

Organisational conditions for the school need further development. These include:

  • revising the school’s vision with the commitment to Māori whānau that informs strategic direction and contributes to curriculum priorities and aspirations

  • strengthening governance practices that effectively provide stewardship to the school; clearly defining roles and responsibilities and increasing reporting to the board in achievement, progress and wellbeing

  • embedding clear expectations, shared understanding and use of assessment information that guide practices for raising achievement

  • strengthening evaluation, inquiry and appraisal processes to better understand the impact of actions and practices undertaken to achieve equity and excellence.

Since the onsite phase of the evaluation the principal is working with staff to develop, document and strengthen the following areas:

  • the localised curriculum to realise the shared aspirations for student success

  • moderation, teaching and learning, student voice, monitoring and reporting

  • reporting to parents so they have a better understanding of curriculum achievement levels and have clear next steps to help their child at home.

A learning pathways process has been recently introduced to show children’s progress in relation to reading writing and mathematics.

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 Patrick’s Catholic School (Taumarunui)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • collaborative relationships between leaders, teachers, whānau and community that support and enhance students’ learning opportunities and wellbeing
  • conditions that are inclusive of all learners.

Next steps

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

  • clearly identifying, monitoring, and responding to all students at risk of not achieving school expectations in reading, writing and mathematics
  • meaningfully engaging the community to contribute to documenting and effectively implementing a curriculum that enacts the school’s vision for student success
  • strengthening information provided to trustees to better inform their governance practice and decision making
  • building evaluation inquiry practice to better understand how well the school achieves equity and excellence for all students.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • consultation with the school’s Māori community

  • provision of career education for years 7 and 8

  • health curriculum delivery

  • 10 year property plan.

In order to address these, the board of trustees must:

  • in consultation with the school’s Māori community, develop and make known to the school’s community, policies, plans and targets for improving the achievement of Māori students

  • comply with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once every two years, after consultation with the school community

  • prepare and review a 10-year property plan covering maintenance and capital property requirements in accordance with Ministry of Education guidelines

  • provide appropriate career education and guidance for all Years 7 and above review policies on a regular basis so that they are up to date and ensure these are easily accessible to parents and whānau.

[National Administration Guideline 1(e), 1(f)], 2(b), [Section 60B Education Act 1989]

Since the onsite stage of the evaluation the school has provided evidence that they have:

  • developed and implemented a policy on managing challenging behaviour and using restraint, that is consistent with the Ministry of Education guidelines on the use of physical restraint, and in compliance with the 2017 Rules.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • assessment, analysis and monitoring practices
  • developing understanding and use of internal evaluation for improvement
  • trustees’ understanding of their roles, responsibilities and legislative obligations, including the provision of children and adults’ safety and wellbeing.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

15 July 2020

About the school

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

1 Context

St Patrick’s Catholic School is a state integrated, full primary school in Taumarunui. At the time of this ERO review the school roll was 73 students and 34 identify as Māori.

The special Catholic character is encompassed in all aspects of school life. The school maintains close links to the Parish of the Immaculate Conception, Taumarunui, which recently celebrated its centenary. Involvement of parents, whānau and the wider community at school, is valued by trustees, leaders and teachers.

Many changes to staffing have occurred since the January 2014 ERO report, including several principal appointments. The new principal began at the school at the beginning of 2016.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are for them to be faithful, responsible and life-long learners.

The school’s achievement information shows that around 70% of students achieve in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Data from 2015 shows disparity of achievement for Māori and boys when compared to other groups. About half of the Māori students achieve at or above in relation to the National Standards.

Teacher judgements are increasingly dependable and based on an appropriate range of tools and evidence. Assessment tools and data gathering processes have been revised and improved. External and internal moderation of teacher judgements has occurred with the support of the Resource Teacher of Literacy, to ensure greater consistency. The principal monitors and provides feedback to staff about the accuracy of assessments and analysis.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has focused on:

  • building a collaborative team
  • reviewing the school curriculum and charter
  • introducing an appraisal system. 

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school responds to all students whose learning and achievement need acceleration with an individualised approach that focuses on addressing their specific learning needs. However, this approach has yet to effectively reduce the disparity of achievement between Māori and other students.

Leaders and teachers:

  • identify students who are at risk of underachieving and monitor their progress throughout the year
  • meet to discuss student progress, share next teaching steps and work collaboratively to meet their ongoing needs.
  • collate information about students who require additional support to enable their needs to be considered
  • support students, including English Language Learners, using a personalised digital literacy development programme.

Teacher aides work alongside teachers to provide additional in class support.

Student wellbeing is given high priority. The school has strengthened their communication to work with a range of outside agencies to support students and their families.

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

The school needs to develop a deliberate and more sharply focused approach to recognising and effectively responding to the needs of priority learners. This approach should be supported by an internal review process that shows what is working well, what is not working and the changes that need to be made for improvement.

Annual targets currently focus on raising student achievement in areas identified through analysis of school achievement information. However, these targets should more specifically focus on the students who require accelerated achievement with a continued focus on equity and excellence for all learners.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

Changes to school leadership have impacted on the board's ability to effectively and systematically evaluate how effectively the school’s curriculum, and strategic and annual planning has promoted equity and excellence for all learners. 

Trustees work collaboratively and share roles and responsibilities. Much work has been done to support school operation and build capacity since the previous review. Policies have been updated and a principal appraisal process has been put in place. The board should continue to build its governance capacity through external support. Trustees recognise that further formal consultation with parents and whānau is required to guide school direction.

The principal has established a culture of care, trust and respect. A revised leadership structure has improved communication and provided a vehicle to drive future direction. The principal has begun to implement processes to strengthen professional learning and collaborative activity to improve teaching. He is receiving and responding appropriately to guidance through the revised appraisal process. There has been significant prioritising and action planning to improve the cohesion between charter development, strategic planning and appraisal.

Parents, whānau and the community are highly supportive and actively involved in school activities. Positive relationships have been established and the school draws on resources from the community to enhance learning opportunities and student wellbeing. Parents and whānau receive useful information and have meaningful opportunities to support their child’s learning.

Students experience a curriculum that aligns to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) through an integrated approach to curriculum delivery. The school’s special character and vision are made visible. Students' confidence in their language, culture and identities are actively promoted. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident and embraced through the school’s curriculum.

Teachers work collaboratively to plan, design learning tasks and activities, assess and evaluate. They demonstrate sound understanding of NZC expectations and progressions for learning. A next step is to identify and consistently implement agreed effective teaching practices, particularly those that impact positively on outcomes for target students.

Students learn in a supportive environment. They work well with their peers demonstrating the competencies and shared values of the school and community. In classrooms:

  • high levels of engagement and participation are evident
  • respectful, learning-centred relationships and students' contributions are valued
  • students work collaboratively, with a clear focus on developing self-management skills and independence
  • organisation and differentiation of tasks supports purposeful teaching and learning in multi-level classrooms.

The new appraisal system implemented in 2016 requires further development, including:

  • more regular, focused observations of practice using agreed indicators
  • developing understandings of appropriate and sufficient evidence to demonstrate that each of the Practicing Teacher Criteria are met annually
  • aligning professional development opportunities and guidance to appraisal goals and teaching as inquiry.

School leaders are in the early stages of building knowledge and processes for learner focused evaluation. There is a need to further develop evidence-based decision making processes. 

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

The next steps for the school are to:

  • maintain a focus on improvement by continuing to use eternal support to raise student outcomes
  • in consultation with the community, develop and document a curriculum statement, including guidelines for effective teaching
  • develop systematic internal evaluation and reporting of progress towards goals and targets.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s planning and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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.

To meet requirements the board must:

  • ensure the professional leaders of the school appraise staff in teaching positions based on the Practising Teacher Criteria established and maintained by the Education Council for the issue and renewal of practising certificates.
    [Section 31, Education Act 1989]

To improve practice, trustees should continue to refine processes and systems for the systematic review of policies and procedures to ensure all legislative requirements are met in a timely manner.

7 Recommendation

Leadership should continue to:

  • build capability for internal evaluation, including teacher inquiry, to better inform and support ongoing change, improvement and sustainability
  • establish clear expectations for teaching and learning in a cohesive curriculum plan.

Joyce Gebbie Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 January 2017

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 42, Male 31

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

17 January 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

January 2014

September 2011

September 2008