Ngongotaha School - 10/04/2012

1 Context

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

Ngongotaha School is located in Ngongotaha Village, a short distance from Rotorua. It has a roll of 327 students in Years 1 to 6, approximately two thirds of whom are identified as of Māori descent. The school is located in large, well-maintained grounds that include a well-equipped library/ information centre, whare and new astroturf court area. These facilities, along with a wide range of high-quality resources and equipment, are well used by students and teachers to enhance teaching and learning opportunities. The environment is planned to enable students to be productively engaged in cooperative, independent and supervised play, challenge their physical skills and have fun.

The school has successfully established an inclusive culture where there are high expectations for learning and behaviour. The environment is welcoming and students engage with teachers and adults in a polite and respectful manner. Student behaviour is managed positively and effectively. Students and whānau place a high value on sports, and a school-based sports facilitator provides additional support for students to develop sporting skills and attitudes.

The school enjoys strong links and partnerships with local marae, with which many staff and students have close connections. Three rumaki classes provide a high-quality Māori language total immersion learning programme for 42 students. Students in these rooms demonstrate a strong sense of belonging, experience success as Māori and add a valuable dimension to a school-wide environment that affirms and celebrates te reo me ona tikanga Māori. The partnership with Ngati Whakaue iwi is strengthened through an iwi-funded initiative that is providing targeted support for students requiring assistance with literacy and mathematical learning.

Students with additional learning needs have these needs comprehensively addressed through a range of targeted interventions, support from teacher aides, and the involvement of external experts, to provide the best possible outcomes for students and families.

Useful links have been established with local early education providers and a useful transition-to-school programme is in place.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Achievement information is gathered and analysed by the school using a range of appropriate nationally referenced assessment tools. This information shows that many students enter school with low levels of literacy and numeracy. Data gathered after one year indicates accelerated progress, by which time patterns of student achievement are consistent with national expectations. Additional data gathered as students move through the school shows that they continue to make good progress in literacy and mathematics.

School leaders use achievement information to set meaningful targets to raise student achievement. Trustees receive extensive information about student achievement, including trends and patterns over time. With this data, they are able to determine overall programme effectiveness, make appropriate resourcing decisions and monitor achievement targets throughout the year.

Teachers have worked hard to make overall teacher judgements about each student’s achievement in relation to the relevant National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. They have made these judgements using a combination of nationally referenced tests and ongoing observations of student learning behaviour. Data collated by the school shows that a sizeable majority of students is achieving at and above National Standards.

Students and teachers enjoy mutually respectful relationships. Classrooms are settled and students appreciate the high levels of care and commitment to their well-being that is shown by teachers, teacher aides and school leaders.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to continually revisit and refine data management strategies, particularly assessment practices for the moderation of student writing samples. This refinement is likely to provide management and teachers with more useful school-wide data and further build on teachers’ professional learning.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

The school has established strong links with the local community and Māori families. A whānau group meets regularly to discuss educational and community events and reinforce the close ties that families have with the school. Teachers from the rumaki classes and the principal are included in this group, which confidently supports the achievement and engagement of Māori students. Trustees, school leaders, staff and school whānau value the strong and vibrant Māori dimension that this community partnership entails.

The school successfully promotes Māori student engagement with learning, along with a wide range of academic, sporting and cultural opportunities. Assessment information gathered by the school shows that while Māori girls achieve as well as, in some cases better than, other groups of students in the school, the achievement of Māori boys continues to present a challenge.

Inclusive classroom and playground environments, and the additional sporting and cultural opportunities, contribute to a school where Māori students are proud, successful and valued members of the school community.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It was developed following widespread consultation and recent review. This development has resulted in a redesigned document that includes:

  • strong reflection of the uniqueness of the school
  • a focus on an inclusive Māori dimension
  • an holistic approach to teaching and learning
  • the intention to provide authentic, contextually relevant learning experiences for students
  • an integrated school-wide approach based on Taonga (treasure)
  • a broad curriculum with a focus on reading, writing and mathematics
  • teacher and student use of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance learning
  • school-wide use of a framework that enables staff to set and share learning criteria, which students are able to monitor.

Teachers use achievement information to plan to meet the learning needs of individual students. A wide range of effective instructional strategies is used throughout the school to invite students’ interests, challenge their thinking and extend their knowledge and understanding. Teachers know students and their families well and, as a result, are able to provide additional support for individuals when needs are identified.

In classrooms, teacher aides work alongside teachers to address the needs of students with moderate and severe learning needs. The inclusion of these students as valued learners is a feature of the school. Programmes for these students are carefully prepared with additional support and oversight from relevant educational sector experts.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

A culture of reflection and review, using a range of formal and informal review mechanisms, has contributed to the establishment of a school that is responsive to the needs of its community, and committed to providing the best possible educational outcomes for students.

Highly effective professional leadership by the principal is ensuring clear direction, a sense of stability and purpose for the school. She is highly regarded by staff and families and maintains a high profile amongst students in the playground and classrooms.

Trustees bring extensive background knowledge about the school and local community. They are focused on improving outcomes for students. Close links with the Ngongotaha community, historical links with the school and the focus on continual improvement, put the school in a strong position to sustain and 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
  • 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.

Makere Smith National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

10 April 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)



School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori

NZ European/Pākehā


Other European







Special Features

Level One Māori Immersion Classes 3

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

10 April 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2008

August 2005

June 2002