St Joseph's School (Timaru)

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Summary

The school has 200 students, and the roll is increasingly culturally diverse. A small number of children identify as Māori or Pacific. The Catholic character is strongly evident.

Since the 2013 ERO review, the school has continued to have high levels of achievement in reading, writing and mathematics against the National Standards. Leaders and teachers have been involved in Ministry of Education (MOE) initiatives to further improve teaching and learning in written language and mathematics.

The principal is the Lead Principal for the South Canterbury Catholic School’s Kāhui Ako |Community of Learning.

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

School leaders and teachers effectively respond to those Māori and other children who need extra support to succeed in their learning. Conditions in the school effectively support children to achieve well. There are very good systems and practices to identify and address in-school disparities.

School leaders are improvement focused, and continuing to adapt and refine teaching and learning practices. They and trustees prioritise lifting the achievement of children who are at risk with their learning.

This review identified several areas where practices need to be improved. These related to setting and reporting on targets to lift achievement, improving internal evaluation and some curriculum guidelines.

At the time of this review, most children achieve very well against the National Standards.

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

Equity and excellence

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

The school effectively responds to those Māori and other children who need extra support to succeed in their learning.

Overall, children achieve very well against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In each area, a large group achieved above expected levels, especially in reading.

The school has successfully addressed in-school disparities in achievement. In 2016, almost all Year 2 children below in reading, and half of the children in a mathematics group, made accelerated progress and most reached the National Standards. At the end of 2016, the school had some disparity in achievement between groups.

Other school priorities are its Catholic character and for children to develop dispositions necessary to be successful life-long learners. The school constantly reviews and can show that its Catholic character is well embedded. It is yet to formally evaluate how well its other priorities are realised.

Teachers use a wide range of assessment information to make well-informed decisions about children’s progress and achievement. Senior leaders ensure sound moderation practices within the school.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

School conditions effectively support children to achieve well and effectively identify and address in-school disparities.

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Children benefit from a broad and responsive curriculum, underpinned by the Catholic charism and Mercy values. This includes authentic contexts for learning, valuing of Māori perspectives and other cultures. There is a strong focus on developing the skills and mindset necessary for life-long learning. Children have a good understanding of their progress, achievement and next learning steps.

Senior leaders and teachers closely track each child’s progress and achievement. Children at risk with their learning are quickly identified. Their ongoing progress is closely monitored. Leaders and teachers work closely with parents to inform them as to how they can best support their children’s learning.

School leaders provide strong pedagogical leadership and have well-considered ideas and initiatives to prepare children to be lifelong learners and well-rounded citizens. There is a good alignment between the school’s vision, annual plans and other school systems and practices. Teachers regularly inquire into and adapt their teaching to better meet the needs of at risk learners.

Trustees show strong commitment to their stewardship role, and prioritise children’s learning and wellbeing. They and school leaders frequently seek and respond to parents’ and children’s ideas and perspectives relevant to school decisions.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

School leaders continue to improve school conditions to support equitable outcomes for all children. Some school systems need strengthening to achieve this.

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

Some school processes need to be improved. Whilst school leaders have high expectations for teaching and learning and a clear vision as to what kind of learner they want, these expectations would be better sustained by being clearly documented in the school’s curriculum. Internal evaluation of these and other areas needs strengthening. 

The quality of targets to lift achievement and frequency of reporting to the board about these need improving. Reports to the board need to be more evaluative.

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
  • 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.

Going forward

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

Children are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • improve the quality and frequency of reporting to the board about progress towards the National Standards and targets to lift achievement
  • continue to deepen understanding of effective internal evaluation
  • ensure best practice about teaching expectations, and desired approaches to learning, are clearly stated in the school’s curriculum document.

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

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

8 September 2017

About the school 

Location

Timaru

Ministry of Education profile number

3533

School type

Full primary

School roll

200

Gender composition

Boys: 47% Girls: 53%

Ethnic composition

Māori: 6%
Pākehā: 76%
Pacific: 1%
Other: 17%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

June 2017

Date of this report

8 September 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2013
Education Review October 2009
Education Review September 2006

 

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

The special Catholic character, with an emphasis on caring, respectful and inclusive relationships, is strongly evident in the school.

Teachers and school leaders work closely with parents. Parents’ views are often sought and acted on. Parents help in many ways, such as in classes, with sports and education beyond the classroom.

The school has high levels of student achievement. More than 85% of students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

School leaders and teachers have made very good progress in addressing the recommendations in the October 2009 ERO report. Information and communication technology (ICT) is now widely used to support learning. Learning support has been extended and aspects of self review have been improved. There is a school-wide commitment to ongoing improvement.

The new school hall is well used as an additional learning area. It enables the whole school to come together for special events and activities. Classrooms are well resourced and students’ work is attractively displayed. However, the board noted, and ERO agreed, that some buildings need upgrading.

2 Learning

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

The school is highly effective in the way it uses achievement information to support its students.

Areas of strength

Teachers know their students well as individuals and as learners. They gather a wide range of assessment information to make well-informed judgements about students’ learning in reading, writing and mathematics. Students who are not making expected progress are well supported by classroom teachers and experienced teacher aides.

Students work with their teachers to set meaningful learning goals and next steps. These are regularly reviewed. Students have frequent opportunities to assess their own and their peers’ work against helpful indicators. Students who spoke with ERO could talk confidently about how well they were achieving and progressing.

Parents are very well informed about their children’s progress, achievement and next steps. Reports include helpful ideas about how they could support their children’s learning.

School-wide achievement information is well analysed. Trustees and senior leaders use this information well when making decisions about setting student achievement targets and allocating resources.

3 Curriculum

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

St Joseph’s students benefit from a well designed curriculum that provides a broad range of well-planned learning experiences.

Areas of strength

The Catholic character, with its focus on service and leadership, is central to the school’s curriculum. Curriculum strengths include:

  • students' wide use of ICT to support their learning
  • a strong focus on helping students understand and take responsibility for how they learn
  • developing the leadership skills of senior students
  • the meaningful integration of Māori concepts and values.

The school has well-developed guidelines to support teaching and learning. ERO observed many examples of very good to high-quality teaching. Teachers regularly reflect on and discuss how to better meet their students’ interests and needs. Most students learn in settled classrooms where teachers use a range of effective ways to improve students’ learning.

Area for review and development

The next step is to extend self review to look more deeply at:

  • how well each learning area is resourced, covered and taught
  • different aspects of teaching and learning to identify and build on best teaching practices within the school
  • how well learning support and extension opportunities meet the needs of identified students.

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

Māori students are very well supported in their learning and in their identity as Māori.

Areas of strength

The principal regularly talks with Māori students and their parents to gather their views. These views are valued and acted on. Māori students spoke very positively about this, their teachers and their school. They are making good progress in their learning over time.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.

Areas of strength

School leaders and trustees provide a clear and well-informed future direction for the school. The easy-to-follow strategic and annual plans have been appropriately developed in consultation with parents and staff. These are well understood and used at all levels. There is strong alignment between these, other school documents, and what happens in the school.

The board is very well informed about student progress and achievement and school operations. Trustees are knowledgeable and have a very good understanding of their governance roles.

The principal is a strong professional leader. She is well supported by an able senior leadership team. Together, they recognise and use other teachers’ strengths and encourage the development of leadership skills in improving student learning outcomes.

The school has very good processes to build teachers’ capability. This includes a useful appraisal process, well-planned professional learning, and encouraging the regular sharing of practices and ideas.

Area for review and development

The school has many very effective self-review practices. To ensure that these continue and strengthen, ERO recommends that the school develops guidelines to inform their self-review.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services

Southern Region

24 May 2013

About the School

Location

Timaru, South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number

3533

School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll

177

Gender composition

Girls 53%

Boys 47%

Ethnic composition

New Zealand European/Pākehā

Māori

Pacific

Asian

British/Irish

Other Ethnicities

86%

4%

1%

3%

3%

3%

Review team on site

April 2013

Date of this report

24 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

September 2006

September 2003