Opiki School - 01/10/2013

1 Context

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

Opiki School is located in rural Horowhenua and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. A shared understanding of the ‘Bridge to Life’ attitudes and values is well reflected in the daily life of the school. Student success is fostered and celebrated. Positive, respectful relationships are highly evident. Families are very involved in the school which is a focal point of the local community.

During 2012 and 2013, teachers have been involved in professional learning and development (PLD) about inquiring into their practice to meet students’ specific learning needs. An external facilitator has assisted senior staff with the leadership of this PLD.

School leaders and staff have worked systematically to develop the areas identified for strengthening in the 2010 ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The principal leads the school’s focus on using student achievement information effectively. He collates and analyses schoolwide data and promotes teachers’ reflection and discussion about suitable teaching strategies to meet specific needs. Teachers confidently inquire into their practice and share their expertise with each other to better meet the needs of underachieving students.

Student achievement reports to the board include well-analysed data and recommendations for future action. The school's end-of-2012 data showed that approximately three quarters of students were achieving at or above the reading, writing and mathematics National Standards. Information about the achievement of groups of students is collated. Māori student achievement is similar to that of their peers. Continuing to strengthen the moderation of teachers' overall assessment judgements, especially in reading and mathematics' is a useful next step identified by the school. ERO’s evaluation supports this direction.

Schoolwide achievement targets are evidence-based and specific. They focus on those students whose achievement should be accelerated to meet or exceed the National Standards. Teachers develop action plans for these students and track their ongoing progress. Accelerated progress is evident for specific groups of students, particularly in mathematics. Students have demonstrated good levels of progress in the first year of school. A transition to school programme is well established.

Students who require additional support or extension are well provided for. Links with specialist agencies are established and assistance is provided. In addition, learning needs of students new to the school are quickly identified and responded to.

Teachers effectively use data to identify students’ achievement levels and monitor their ongoing progress. They use assessment for learning to grow students’ self-assessment capability. Further development is needed to increase consistency of teachers’ use of data in planning specific strategies to meet the differentiated needs of students, and in evaluating the effectiveness of their action plans.

While end-of-year reports to parents clearly document each student’s achievement in relation to National Standards, this information should be stated more clearly in mid-year written reports.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum actively promotes and supports student learning. Students are engaged and make good use of appropriate resources to solve problems independently.

The ‘Bridge to Life’ vision statement of the school curriculum incorporates students ‘being the best they can be’. Specific attitudes and values are well articulated by trustees, staff, students and whānau.

Students have a broad range of opportunities to learn inside and outside the classroom. The school curriculum is clearly linked to The New Zealand Curriculum. Students and their families have input into curriculum planning. Curriculum documents give clear guidance for teaching. A focus on New Zealand’s dual heritage and Te Tiriti o Waitangi is clearly evident.

E-learning effectively supports students' learning. In senior classrooms, students receive online feedback about their work from their peers and whānau. Students use a wide range of information and communication technologies in multiple ways to extend their learning. Thinking skills are emphasised.

Teacher and student relationships are positive. Teachers use real life experiences to make learning purposeful. A sense of fun is present and students’ enjoyment of learning is evident. Students are encouraged to try new things and test their ideas. A focus on cooperative learning enables them to support each other and their learning.

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

A recent focused inquiry into how Opiki School promotes success for Māori students, as Māori, has resulted in several initiatives. These have strengthened relationships with whānau and had a significant impact on overall Māori achievement. They include:

  • hui to enable whānau to contribute their views
  • increased student leadership opportunities
  • building links with iwi and Te Rangimarie Marae
  • teachers tutoring a newly established kapa haka group
  • increased te ao Māori in the curriculum.

Staff are using Ka Hikitia, Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and other relevant resources to pursue a considered approach to the development of their cultural competencies. ERO’s evaluation supports plans to strengthen teachers’ confidence and competence in the use of te reo Māori.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The newly elected board of trustees is keen to undertake professional development to support the governance role. The board is well informed and provided with regular, well-analysed student achievement reports. Trustees and the Home-and-School group support student learning by providing relevant resources.

The principal leads the development and maintenance of a strong team culture. Teachers work together collegially, with emphasis on students’ wellbeing and learning.

Curriculum leadership is shared and teachers’ strengths are recognised and valued. These are used to promote school development. External PLD facilitators build capacity and assist senior staff with their leadership. PLD is well aligned with strategic goals and teacher appraisal.

Self review is evident in policy review and use of student achievement information. However, the evaluative aspect of curriculum and strategic self review should be strengthened, with increased focus on outcomes for students. Teacher and principal appraisal should be strengthened by increasing the rigour of evaluative feedback to foster ongoing development of teaching and learning.

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.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

1 October 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 57%, Female 43%

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

1 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2010

May 2007

June 2004