Oakura School - 14/05/2019

School Context

Oakura School caters for Years 1 to 8 students in a small coastal village southwest of New Plymouth. The roll of 344 includes 41 students who identify as Māori.

The school’s vision ‘Learn to think and learn to care in a learning community which prepares students for a successful future’, together with its values of pono - honesty, whakaaro pai - respect, manawanui - perseverance underpin all aspects of school operations.

Key strategic goals include developing a Learning to Care culture; empowering students to their personal best; supporting students to be active learners; developing global citizens strengthening connections between school and community.

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

  • literacy and numeracy (including initiatives or interventions)
  • achievement in the wider curriculum
  • wellbeing.

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 successfully promotes excellent outcomes for most students in reading, writing and mathematics. There is some variation between year groups but overall there has been a consistent pattern over time. With minor differences, boys and girls have achieved at similar levels.

Data for 2018 shows improved levels of achievement for most students. There has been some previous disparity for Māori students, however this has been reduced significantly in 2018. Māori student achievement is now similar to their peers in the school.

Students with additional learning needs are very well supported to participate, progress and achieve in relation to appropriately developed Individual Education Plans.

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

School data over time shows that Māori student achievement has been accelerated in reading, writing and mathematics. Most students identified as targets and priority learners at the start of 2018 made accelerated progress over the year in aspects of literacy and mathematics.

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?

Purposeful, settled and attractive environments promote learning. Senior leaders and teachers have high expectations for children to succeed. Relationships among students and with teachers are positive and respectful. This promotes students’ wellbeing and belonging. Children are highly engaged in, and talk knowledgeably about, their learning. Their voice is valued.

Teachers use a variety of useful school-based and standardised assessment tools. Appropriate assessment, moderation processes and systems are in place to promote the reliability of teachers’ judgements about children’s progress and achievement. Staff use achievement information well to plan learning programmes and meet children’s individual learning needs. Personalised plans that include specific learning goals are developed for each priority student. These are shared with parents and whānau. Progress is regularly monitored, tracked and reported.

Student engagement is well promoted by the broad curriculum. The school’s vision, history and values are clearly evident in the programme. There are many opportunities for students to participate and celebrate success in academic, sporting, artistic, cultural and leadership activities. Digital technology is extensively accessed to support learning. Ongoing review has developed and embedded the school’s Learner Profile, appropriately aligned to the principles and competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum.

There is a strong emphasis on growing children’s awareness and management of their own learning. Their input is valued by staff and informs teaching programmes and the choice of activities offered. Teachers are increasingly personalising learning for children.

Trustees and school leaders work in a cohesive, systematic way to effectively establish a culture of ongoing improvement. They recognise and use the knowledge and skills of teachers to lead aspects of the curriculum. Extensive professional development is focused on introducing new methodologies, developing culturally responsive practice and growing teachers’ capability. The appraisal process is meaningful and manageable. It effectively supports teacher development and improving outcomes for students.

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

School leaders have made sound progress with the implementation of bicultural perspectives and promoting Māori success as Māori. ERO affirms the school’s ongoing focus and work to enhance and embed te ao Māori throughout the curriculum.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Oakura School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

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:

  • the positive and respectful learning environment that supports students’ engagement and learning
  • the broad curriculum that provides opportunities for students to participate in a wide range of activities
  • high expectations and a collaborative approach by trustees, leaders and teachers that promotes improved outcomes for students.

Next steps

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

  • growing children’s awareness and management of their own learning
  • enhancing and embedding te ao Māori throughout the curriculum to strengthen Māori learners to gain success as Māori.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

14 May 2019

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 53%, Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

Māori 12%
NZ European/Pākehā 81%
Other European 4%
Other ethnic groups 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

14 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2015
Education Review January 2011