Ongaonga School - 20/11/2018

School Context

Ongaonga School is a full primary school located west of Waipukurau, in Central Hawkes Bay. At the time of this ERO external evaluation the roll is 104, with nine children identifying as Māori and 12 as Filipino.

The school’s mission is that all children are accepted, extended and encouraged to reach their full potential. As a result of wide consultation, the school has recently adopted TREE values, using the ongaonga tree as a symbol. The values are: ‘Teamwork, Respect, Effort, Empathy”.

Since the December 2015 ERO report, a new principal has been appointed and there have been a number of trustee changes. Most staff are long serving.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics over time and in relation to school targets

  • sporting and cultural success

  • health and safety.

Teachers have participated in a range of professional development, including Central Hawkes Bay (CHB) Literacy. The school is in its first year of the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) programme and the Accelerated Learning in Mathematics (ALiM).

The school is part of the Ruahine Kāhui Ako.

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?

Achievement in reading, writing and mathematics shows consistency over time, with most students achieving at or above school expectations.

A small majority of Māori students achieve at or above the school’s expectations in reading and writing and a larger majority in mathematics.

Overall, reading is the area of highest achievement, especially for girls.

Students with more complex learning needs are appropriately supported through a range of interventions, internal and external, and are integrated into mainstream classes. Students who have English as a second language are suitably supported and achieve well.

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

There is some evidence of students accelerating their learning in reading or mathematics. School leaders report that some target students have made accelerated progress through two key interventions.

The school recognises that there is disparity of achievement for some Māori students and for boys in writing. Leaders are developing strategies to address these areas of disparity.

Most students learning English as a second language make accelerated progress.

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?

Students engage in a comprehensive curriculum. Developing students’ engagement in and ownership of their learning is a focus.

A localised curriculum based on authentic learning contexts is the result of ongoing review and development. Curriculum documentation provides guidance on delivery, contexts for learning and teaching and assessment expectations.

The well-developed cultural curriculum, informed by input from hapū, supports respectful cultural practices across the school. The Māori cultural framework is reflected in the staff commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Teachers are learning te reo Māori and some are using the language in the classroom. The school sees a next step is to use this framework to identify key cultural elements including celebrations, for Filipino and Pākehā cultures. Whole school participation in kapa haka is very strong.

Students are well engaged in positive caring and inclusive learning environments. The school values are evident in respectful, reciprocal relationships. Children participate and learn in authentic contexts in a caring, collaborative learning environment. There is a positive, supportive school tone that encourages independent and interdependent learners. The next step for the school is to conduct a survey to confirm the impression of a happy and settled student community.

Relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community is evident. There is a strong sense of community. Deliberate strategies have been introduced to engage whānau. The school listens and responds well to the results of consultation. Parent and whānau are well-informed about student achievement through the revised reporting format and e-links. The school newsletter provides timely information about activities and celebrates the many successes in social, cultural and sporting events.

Leaders are reflective and have made carefully considered developments in school operation. They have strategically managed identified changes and implemented initiatives to improve teacher practice.

They participate in a considered professional development programme. Teachers are reflective. The appraisal system has been reviewed and teachers’ inquiry into their practice is a newly introduced approach. It requires strengthening to better identify and deliver teacher practice to support improved outcomes for targeted students. A greater focus and deliberate teaching to the needs of priority students is required, including ongoing monitoring of their progress.

Governance is sound. Plans, systems and processes for school operation are well aligned and trustees are committed to supporting positive student outcomes in a safe physical and emotional environment.

The strategic plan builds on identified priorities and the desired outcomes for students identified in the graduate profile. Key questions are used to guide reflection and identify future action. The school recognises that a next step is to evaluate the outcomes of new initiatives.

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

The school should continue to implement strategies and teaching practices to reduce achievement disparities for groups of learners in literacy, mathematics and other valued outcomes.

Trustees, leaders and teachers should continue the development of the internal evaluation process in order to change or affirm practice to support student success.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • an inclusive school culture that promotes learning and wellbeing

  • leadership that capably manages well-considered change

  • clear strategic direction that focuses on student outcomes

  • a positive approach to teaching and learning that is collaborative

  • a growing partnership with parents, whānau, hapū and community that involves them with the school.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening teacher inquiry. This is a newly introduced practice that requires further development to better identify and deliver teacher practice to support improved outcomes for targeted students

  • increasing the focus and deliberate teaching to the needs of priority students, including ongoing monitoring of their progress

  • continuing to strengthen and embed internal evaluation practices

  • completing curriculum and charter consultation, including embedding the key competencies and values.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

20 November 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%

Pākehā 79%

Filipino 12%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

20 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2015

Education Review November 2012

Education Review July 2009