Oamaru North School - 09/05/2019

School Context

Oamaru North School is an urban school that provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. There are 71 students on the roll, 46% of whom identify as Tongan. Students learn in two syndicates, each one spread across three classrooms.

Since the December 2015 ERO review:

  • the school’s roll has decreased
  • there have been leadership and other staff changes
  • there has been limited progress in areas identified for improvement in the 2015 ERO report.

In 2017 the Ministry of Education (MoE) appointed a Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) to support school improvement. This concluded at the end of 2018. In 2019 the MoE appointed a specialist adviser to support the board and principal to bring about positive change for the school.

The vision for Oamaru North School states that ‘through our influence, example and persistent efforts we aim to help our students to show respect and sensitivity to themselves and others, work with school community as active participants, be literate and numerate and actively seek out new skills and knowledge’.

This vision is underpinned by their STAR values which are to ‘Show respect, Take responsibility, Achieve excellence, and Remember fairness’.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • achievement in other learning areas of the New Zealand Curriculum.

Oamaru North School is part the Waitaki Ara Kāhui Ako | Community of Learning (CoL).

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?

Oamaru North School is yet to achieve equity and excellence for all its students. School-wide end of 2018 information showed that NZ European/Pākehā students were not achieving as well as their peers in writing and mathematics. This information for boys shows a similar pattern for reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders and teachers are yet to effectively address this disparity.

Greater proportions of Māori students than their peers, are achieving the school’s expectations in mathematics and writing. Overall, Pacific learners are achieving better than their peers in reading, writing and mathematics.

The school, however, can show between 2016 and 2018, that approximately three quarters of students overall are achieving at the levels expected by the school in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs achieve in relation to the goals set for them.

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

The school has been unable to show sufficient acceleration of learning for those students who need it. Of the students identified in 2018 whose learning needed to be accelerated, information provided to ERO shows that a third made accelerated progress in writing and reading.  

In 2019, the principal and teachers have identified students whose learning needs acceleration and strategies to achieve this. These strategies now need to be fully implemented, sustained and evaluated.

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?

Oamaru North School is developing a responsive curriculum. It has moved to a ‘modern learning environment’, and leaders and teachers are using this to work towards providing students with sufficient opportunities to learn. The use of digital devices and ICT resources is increasing the digital fluency of students. Students learn in an environment where they are known by their teachers. They have respectful relationships with them.

Specific learning support is in place for some students. Those students who are English language learners, or need additional support, are provided with a range of well-coordinated programmes. Teachers work with competent and experienced teacher aides to best support students.

The board and principal have identified the school’s current priorities for improvement in the strategic plan. These should form a useful ongoing platform to evaluate progress against.

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

The board, principal and teachers need to work collaboratively and establish effective communication lines at all levels of the school. This should generate consistency of school-wide best practice, clarity of systems and processes, purposeful reporting, and a stronger team culture. Improved communication will support and strengthen reciprocal learning-centred relationships between the school and home.

To achieve positive outcomes for students, the board, principal and teachers need to develop authentic relationships and learning-based partnerships with parents, whānau and families. This can be done through regular and thoughtful consultation, using approaches that recognise, respect and value the school community. This information, carefully analysed with corresponding action plans, will empower the principal and teachers to have a deeper understanding of their students’ lives, respond to students’ strengths and interests, identity and culture, and better meet their learning and wellbeing needs.

The board, principal and teachers need to strengthen the rigour of internal evaluation. This is to ensure sustainability and consistency of effective practices, and know what future developments should be embedded. This can be achieved by establishing a shared understanding of internal evaluation, and the development and use of a framework appropriate to the school. Collective capacity to carry out and use evaluation will indicate what is effective for students’ learning. The school will then be better placed to know how well initiatives and interventions are working, and how to effectively use in-school resources such as teacher aides.

The board needs to strengthen the alignment of its strategic and annual goals to achievement targets and related actions, appraisal and classroom programmes. This will ensure stronger links to the school’s vision, values, priorities and direction. Regular monitoring, sharing of information and consistent use of analysed data and reports from teachers to the principal, and the principal to the board, will support this.

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 Oamaru North School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in the:

  • ongoing development of the school’s curriculum that is responsive to learners’ needs
  • range of learning support available that is increasing students’ opportunities to learn.

Next steps

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

  • building authentic learner-centred relationships with students’ parents, whānau, families and school community to better meet their students’ needs
  • the use of effective internal evaluation to know the impact and effectiveness of initiatives, interventions and priorities for decision making
  • improving communication at all levels of the school to build a stronger team culture and strengthen home-school partnerships
  • aligning the school’s strategic and annual plans with policies, systems and processes, to ensure stronger accountability, monitoring and reporting.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to stand-downs and suspensions of students.

The board must ensure all procedures and practices relating to the stand-down/suspension/exclusion and/or expulsion of any student are implemented in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Education Act, the Education Stand-down, Suspensions, Exclusions, and Expulsion Rules 1999, and guidance issued by the Ministry of Education [ss 13-18 Education Act 1989].

In order to address this, the board of trustees must ensure that all stand-downs and suspensions at Oamaru North School, in accordance with Ministry of Education guidelines, are formalised, reported on, and include evidence of:

  • the incident to ensure all relevant information is recorded
  • notification to parents or caregivers and discussions
  • all meetings, action planning and relevant reporting.

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education continue to provide specialist support to the school under Part 78K of the Education Act 1989, in order to bring about the needed improvements identified in this report.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

9 May 2019

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys            40

Girls             31

Ethnic composition

Māori                                  7

NZ European/Pākehā          27

Pacific                               33

Other ethnicities                  4

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Review team on site

March 2019

Date of this report

9 May 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review         December 2015

Education Review         December 2012