Dear Families,

In this troubling time, when we have been called on as a nation to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, we are inundated with troubling stories.

I would like to take this opportunity to share some great news with our community, as the confirmed report from the Education Review Office has arrived after their visit to us three weeks before the end of the school year last year.

We are extraordinarily proud to let you know that the ERO team gained a deep understanding of our journey and the way we operate to support the growth of the whole child, and identified that Our Lady Star of the Sea’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is STRONG. This is the highest category of operation according to ERO’s new framework for review. Follow this link to see ERO’s full framework.

At the start of 2019, ERO’s evaluation return times were removed from their school reports and replaced with 4 categories, from Needs Developing (the equivalent of a 1 to 2 year return time) to Developing, Well Placed and finally Strong (the equivalent of a 4 to 5 year return time).

Statistically, from the end of 2018 to the end of 2019, only 20% of schools were sitting at the Strong category, with less than half of these (45%) managing to maintain their previous 4-5 year return category. I am proud to tell you that we were one of those schools.


The ERO review identified school conditions that are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning.

First and foremost the school’s special Catholic character was identified. ‘the special Catholic Character underpins the inclusive culture for learning. Agreed values are modelled by leaders and are highly evident in the school community… cultures are celebrated, and diversity is valued. Strong pastoral care systems support students… Reciprocal relationships that are founded on mutual trust and respect support parents to actively engage as partners in their children’s learning’.

School leadership was another enabler of achievement. Collaborative and well-informed leadership is influencing school direction. Leaders set high expectations. They provide opportunities for teachers to build capability… Staff feel well supported both professionally and personally.’ Strong strategic thinking was identified at both leadership and Board of Trustees level.

They identified a number of systems and processes that are well set up and embedded.  Our curriculum review and development process,  how professional development is aligned to curriculum development. They identified that our fabulous teachers have ownership of shifts in approaches to teaching and learning. They also noted that our appraisal system facilitated ongoing teacher improvement. They noted high levels of alignment between the strategic plan and school practices.  They noted that our internal evaluation practices lead to improved outcomes for our learners. They also noted our effective systems and processes to support the wellbeing and learning of international students as part of their review.

The ERO reviewers identified ‘The quality of teaching practice is high’,  stating that our teachers’ collaborative inquiry is reflective and future-focused which leads to improved teacher practice. They could see a range of strategies in use to support student achievement providing challenges and authentic learning opportunities. They saw that our teachers provide opportunities for student leadership. They noted that planning and assessment practices ensured consistency in approaches to teaching. It was pleasing that they noted the well-embedded culture of reflective practice amongst our teaching staff.

The key strengths they identified were:

  • learner-centred environment where relationships and values foster and promote equity and excellence for all students.
  • an empowering leadership model that supports and enables effective leadership of learning.
  • internal evaluation that is learner-focused and priorities continuous school improvement. 

Next steps were discussed with the leadership team and the Board. These included:

  • Curriculum design that enables the school to achieve its agreed vision for the learner. This is linked to our developing Learner Profile.
  • Further empowering our students to lead their own learning.
  • Strengthening our bicultural practices to further deepen our children’s understanding of Aotearoa New Zealand’s society was also identified as a further consideration.

We are hugely proud of the report, but more broadly, we are hugely proud of the amazing community that is Our Lady Star of the Sea School and Parish. The Education Review Office could see that our Special Catholic Character underpinned all that we do. They could see the quality of leadership in the Board of Trustees, the Leadership Team and our skilled Classroom Teachers. They could see the committed parents who work in partnership with the school for the growth of their children, spiritually, socially and academically. They could see our amazing children; articulate, respectful, responsive individuals, working collaboratively, supporting and challenging one another with a strong values base sitting beneath all interactions.

This STRONG review is a testament to all who participate in this amazing learning community. I feel privileged to contribute alongside a skilled, supportive, good-humoured, hard-working team who make Our Lady Star of the Sea a beautiful place to be for our students and for each other. Congratulations to every member of this amazing community – we already knew we had it all going on, and to have an external review team see these elements so strongly is hugely gratifying.

The full report is available by following this link. 1514 Our Lady Star of the Sea School (Howick)

We have put a link to a Mass celebrated by Fr John yesterday on our facebook page. I have also included the link here. Be safe in these trying times. Support each other, be gentle with each other.

Ngā mihi nui

Louise Campbell


Term 1   Monday 3 February to Thursday 9 April  (teacher only day 3 Feb)

Term 2   Tuesday 28 April to Friday 3 July  (ANZAC DAY holiday Monday 27 April)

Term 3    Monday 20 July to Friday 25 September

Term 4    Monday 12 October to Friday 18 December (12 noon)