Opawa School - 11/04/2014

1 Context

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

Ōpāwa School in eastern Christchurch provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. Student and family wellbeing is a prime focus of the school and evident in the high level of support provided. Relationships between students, staff and parents are respectful and caring.

The school is recognised as the centre of the community. The board and staff effectively engage with the diverse cultures of parents, whānau and the community.

The Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 continue to have an impact on the emotional and social wellbeing of students, staff and parents. The school provides ongoing pastoral support and assistance to students and families from within its own resources. This includes a high level of collaboration with external support agencies.

The board and senior managers have addressed the recommendations made in the 2010 ERO report.

The use of student achievement information, consistent behaviour management practices and the quality of teaching has improved. There are some areas that ERO and the school have identified that could be further improved.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school makes good use of student achievement data to identify the learning needs of students, track the progress of students, and to plan programmes of learning that will motivate and challenge them.

Many students are achieving at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Māori students are achieving well in mathematics. Pacific student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is consistently higher than all students nationally. Student achievement in writing is improving as a result of targeted professional development for teachers.

Programmes of learning for priority learners are well organised and managed. There are clear procedures in place to identify these students and the nature of the support required. Targeted assistance often includes external advisers and additional teaching. The provision of professional development for teachers to better support these students in class is helping to improve students’ learning.

Students with high needs make good progress towards meeting their goals. They have regular opportunities to learn alongside their peers. Parents are actively involved in the planning and the learning programme.

The school has a range of effective ways for reporting student progress and achievement to parents. Celebrations of learning, parent evenings and goal setting with students are good examples of the strategies used by the school to increase the active participation of parents in children’s learning.

Area for review and development

The school identified, and ERO agrees, that deeper analysis of achievement information is an area for improvement. This will enable senior leaders to:

  • identify achievement patterns and trends over time, for the school and for groups of students
  • monitor the effectiveness of teaching and learning outcomes for students.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum is central to learning and is well understood by all. It has been developed in consultation with parents, students, staff and the community. Students have a good understanding of the school vision and how this helps them to develop skills and values for learning.

The school’s values and competencies are key elements of the daily learning programme. They are used by students in their interactions and relationships with peers, teachers and in their learning.

Teachers provide constructive feedback and praise, and acknowledge students' positive behaviour. The school has introduced a variety of effective approaches to build and maintain a student-centred learning environment. Students feel safe and supported to learn. They are encouraged to manage their own learning and to become confident learners.

Students are provided with a wide range of learning opportunities within, and outside the school environment. Teachers set clear expectations and use effective ways to engage students. Teachers frequently encourage students to make choices about their learning.

A variety of opportunities for senior students to develop leadership skills has contributed to the increased retention of numbers of Years 7 and 8 students. Senior students ably lead the school council and many other school events.

The principal and teachers recognise that te reo and tikanga Māori are an important part of learning for all students. An established specialist teacher position has provided access for all students and teachers to te reo and tikanga Māori. Teachers are provided with ongoing effective professional development. Many staff have successfully undertaken external te reo development to build their language skills.

Areas for review and development

ERO has identified, and the senior managers agree, that these next steps will contribute to improved teaching practice and positive outcomes for students. These steps include:

  • strengthening teachers' evaluation of the way they teach and the impact on students' learning
  • seeking parents’ aspirations for students and identifying contexts within the school’s curriculum that reflect Pacific Island identity, language and culture
  • teachers increasing the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in classrooms.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Parents and whānau of Māori students are well supported and encouraged to be meaningfully involved in the school. The whānau committee is a positive avenue for whānau to contribute to the school's strategic direction and the school’s curriculum as the Treaty partner. The variety of ways the school values and performs essential elements of Māori protocols reflects the genuine commitment the school has to biculturalism and the identity of Māori students.

Māori students and whānau aspirations for the language and culture are well respected by the board, principal and staff. Matariki, cultural events in the community and kapa haka are all contributing to building Māori students’ confidence in their language, identity and culture.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The board has built meaningful and durable relationships with parents, whānau and the community.

Self review is becoming well established. The school and board have an ongoing cycle of self review that clearly identifies priorities for improvement. The school’s vision, values and strategic direction are clearly understood and agreed to by parents and whānau as part of the board’s own self review. There are clear links between the strategic goals and the annual priorities.

The principal provides useful reports to the board that are aligned to the annual and strategic goals. Trustees make appropriate decisions to allocate resources based on reports and other information to meet identified priorities and need.

The principal and senior managers are providing strong leadership and have high expectations for quality teaching and learning. Teachers have many opportunities to take up leadership roles, and research based investigations within teams.

Area for review and development

The school’s leaders acknowledge, and ERO agrees that management systems require further development. This includes leaders providing a stronger process that recognises effective teaching and learning practices.

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
  • processes for appointing staff
  • 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 three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

11 April 2014

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

NZ European/Pākehā




Other ethnicities






Review team on site

February 2014

Date of this report

11 April 2014

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

April 2011

April 2007

August 2004