St Matthew's School (Marton)

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School Context

St Matthew’s School (Marton) is a Catholic integrated school for students in Years 1 to 8. At the time of this review the roll was 35, comprising of six Māori, seven Pākehā and 22 Pacific children. Over half the student roll come from non-English speaking backgrounds, where predominantly Samoan is spoken.

The school’s mission ‘Christ Centred Education’ is underpinned by the ‘Mercy Values’ of ‘excellence - panekiritanga, compassion – aroha, hospitality - manaakitanga, respect - te tapu o te tangata, service – rato and social justice – tika’. 

The 2018 - 2020 strategic plan prioritises ongoing improvement in student achievement with a focus on student engagement, building teacher and learner efficacy and improving reading in the senior room.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics in relation to the school expectations
  • progress and achievement for target students
  • students with special/additional learning needs including English Language Learners.

During 2018 - 2019 leaders’ and teachers’ professional learning and development focused on developing teacher inquiry and appraisal systems. Leadership and staffing has remained stable.

The school is a member of the South Rangitikei Kāhui Ako. This involvement supports the school’s strategic goals through a focus on mathematics and whānau engagement.

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 improvement focused for all students, and tracking and monitoring systems reflect this emphasis. Trends to 2018 show the majority of students achieve at and above expectation in reading, writing and mathematics. Boys achieve higher than girls in mathematics and there has been a decline in achievement for all groups in writing. Pacific and Pākehā achievement is higher than their Māori peers in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

The school is effective in responding to those children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

Clear systems and processes are in place to identify, respond and monitor progress of students with complex and additional health and/or learning needs. These students are well supported with a wide range of internal and external expertise.

Small numbers of target students are appropriately identified in annual plans and over half of those targeted in 2018 show acceleration in learning. English language learners are well supported and many show acceleration. Data collated by the school shows many children make significant gains in their learning over time.

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?

Establishing and maintaining positive relationships is a focus for the school. Teachers and leaders work collaboratively to promote an affirming and inclusive environment. They focus on schoolwide practices and processes that promote student voice and enable children to learn and achieve at the appropriate level.

Effective teaching practices are evident across the school. There is good use of authentic contexts and resources to engage students in learning, independently and collaboratively. Digital tools and resources are used appropriately to support learning. Children are encouraged to become self-managing and take responsibility for their learning.

The use of a range of appropriate tools to measure achievement, acceleration and progress combined with formative assessment, supports teachers and leaders to remain focused on student achievement and wellbeing.

Professional development is responsive to school needs, aligned to school goals and supported by external expertise.

Trustees bring a variety of strengths and community links. Many have undertaken training to support them in their role. They are actively involved in the school and prioritise equity for all students through resourcing and provision of experiences.

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

The August 2016 ERO report identified several next key steps. Some of these areas have been addressed and others planned for. Some processes have been developed and being implemented with ongoing monitoring for impact on student outcomes. Documentation of the curriculum delivery plan that assists classroom teaching and learning is being updated. This should provide coherence across school practices and support sustainability.

Processes are in place to collect and use the contributions of the school stakeholders. Extending the use of these views should promote enhanced levels of collaboration and strengthen the school’s goals and actions for further improvement.

The school has used the Rongohia Te Hau tool to support teachers to have conversations about cultural responsiveness and the development of te ao Māori within the school. Continuing to inquire into their practices should assist teachers’ and leaders’ understanding in this area.

Leaders and trustees value, and are ensuring that student’s benefit from, participation in the Kāhui Ako. This ongoing involvement should strengthen the school’s processes and practices and further promote learning that makes a positive difference to all students.

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 Matthew’s School (Marton)’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • relationships between leadership and teachers that support and enhance students’ learning and wellbeing
  • identifying individual student’s learning needs and providing support to promote achievement of equitable outcomes
  • teaching practices and learning environments that support student collaboration, participation and engagement.

Next steps

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

  • embedding the curriculum delivery framework that provides enhanced clarity and guidance for teaching and learning and strengthens culturally responsive practices

  • strengthening processes to know what is working well and where to next for improved student outcomes.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to:

  • health and safety

  • attendance

  • curriculum.

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • delegate and seek assistance to develop procedures that outline the specifics to support the school policies that ensure the safety of adults and students
  • provide opportunities for language learning.

Since the on-site stage of the review, school leaders have reviewed and provided evidence to address these concerns:

  • Police vetting

  • attendance NAG 6; Education School Attendance Regulations 1951

  • evacuation drills required at intervals of not more than six months (Regulation 17(g)

  • Education Outside the Classroom guidelines and procedures NAG 5;

  • maintaining the accident register.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

24 May 2019

About the school

Location

Marton

Ministry of Education profile number

2456

School type

Full Primary ( Years 1 - 8)

School roll

35

Gender composition

Male 16, Female 19

Ethnic composition

Māori 6
NZ European/Pākehā 7
Pacific 22

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)

Yes

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

24 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, August 2016
Education Review, October 2014
Education Review, June 2012

Findings

St. Matthew’s School (Marton) has made significant progress since the October 2014 ERO report. A robust review process and effective management and governance systems are in place to promote student wellbeing and learning. Trustees and the principal are continuing to strengthen and embed improvements. Students learn in a family-friendly environment and parents are welcomed.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

St. Matthew’s School (Marton) caters for 39 students in Years 1 to 8. The majority of students are Samoan and English is a second language for half of these students. Trustees and the principal are proactive in welcoming and encouraging parents to participate in school activities. Students learn in a family-friendly environment, supportive of their language, culture and identity.

The new board of trustees, elected in June 2016, is led by an experienced chairperson. The principal contributes to an active school cluster and plans are established for the school to be part of a Community of Learners (COL).

The October 2014 ERO report found many areas of strength related to learning and teaching, the curriculum, student engagement and relationships. However, improvements were needed to strengthen governance, develop a programme for self review and to ensure all health and safety requirements were met. Following the 2014 report, the principal and trustees accessed external support in a purposeful way to implement a programme of positive change. Self review and subsequent action has resulted in more efficient systems for management and governance. The school is better placed to sustain continuous improvement

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The October 2014 ERO report identified the following as key areas for improvement:

  • strengthening governance capability
  • implementing effective self review for improvement
  • completing an appraisal process for the principal
  • developing a process for police vetting staff. 
Progress

The school has successfully addressed the areas for development. Trustees and the principal have developed systems and structures to support sustainable school operation. Significant improvement is evident.

External support and guidance has been sought and used purposefully to assist the board and principal. This approach is to continue as the school moves forward in its review process.

The newly elected board better represents the make-up of the school community. The chairperson is knowledgeable about progress made since 2014 and ways to enact the next steps outlined in the charter’s strategic and annual plans. Student wellbeing is given priority in board decision-making.

A useful handbook provides a reference point for governance practice and induction of new trustees. Training for the new board is planned with awareness and sensitivity towards individual trustees’ needs.

There is a notable improvement in the quality and timeliness of reports provided to the board, by the principal. The impact of resourcing is made clear as is students’ progress and achievement against National Standard expectations and short-term goals. The board acts on the principal’s recommendations for resourcing, following discussion and reflection.

Plans for ongoing review and efficiencies in policy development are clearly stated. New and changed legislative requirements have been addressed. All non-teaching staff are police vetted and there is a system to ensure this continues in a timely way.

A robust, improvement-focused principal appraisal process was completed for 2015, with an update written to June 2016. The principal’s appraiser also has the role of professional mentor and coach. The principal uses this same process to appraise and coach teachers. Teachers have begun a teaching-as-inquiry approach, focused on students whose progress needs accelerating. This is a collaborative process and in the early stages of development.

Self review (internal evaluation) is more robust. The board has worked through a review process with assistance from the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) and is in a sound position to conduct planned, future reviews.

Key next steps

A number of initiatives are newly developed and implemented. The principal and board have identified next steps to sustain progress and move forward in a positive and inclusive way. Next steps include:

  • building stewardship capability of new board members and recognising cultural preferences through the way the board operates
  • further enhancing partnerships with parents and consulting whānau in appropriate ways
  • continuing to use external advice and guidance in a needs-based way
  • further developing and embedding teacher inquiry, with a deliberate focus on the needs of students who are underachieving. 

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is in a sound position to sustain and continue to improve its performance.

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

St. Matthew’s School (Marton) has made significant progress since the October 2014 ERO report. A robust review process and effective management and governance systems are in place to promote student wellbeing and learning. Trustees and the principal are continuing to strengthen and embed improvements. Students learn in a family-friendly environment and parents are welcomed.

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

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

9 August 2016

About the School 

Location

Marton

Ministry of Education profile number

2456

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

39

Gender composition

Male 19, Female 20

Ethnic composition

Māori
Samoan
Pākehā

  8
21
10

Special features

State Integrated Catholic School

Review team on site

June 2016

Date of this report

9 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Supplementary Review

October 2014
June 2012
April 2009