Opiki School - 02/11/2016

1 Context

Opiki School is located in rural Horowhenua and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The current school roll is 130 and 23% identify as Māori. A shared understanding of the ‘Bridge to Life’ attitudes and values is well reflected in the daily life of the school. Families are very involved in the school which is a focal point of the local community.

School leaders, staff and trustees have worked systematically to develop the areas identified for strengthening in the October 2013 ERO report.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are articulated and outlined in the school's mission statement 'inspiring students to be the best they can be' and the motto 'learn by doing'. The school values are encompassed in the 'Bridge to Life' metaphor: respect, communication, life-long learning, contribution and self-worth.

The school’s achievement information shows that since the previous ERO report and up to midyear 2016, over 80% of Māori students achieve at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The data also shows that the school has achieved equity of outcomes for Māori and other students.

The school has explicit processes and guidelines that effectively support teachers to make consistent overall assessment judgements about students' progress and achievement. Teachers and school leaders work collaboratively in their teams and school wide to moderate judgements in reading, writing and mathematics. Moderation of writing within the local cluster and with neighbouring schools continues.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has:

  • built individual expertise, and grown the collective capability of staff
  • continued to enhance self-guided learning pedagogy; 'the way we teach and learn at Opiki School'
  • implemented a range of interventions specific to students' identified learning needs, with a focus on accelerating progress
  • worked collaboratively, using the school values, to build confidence, motivate and engage students in their learning
  • refined consultation and reporting processes.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school effectively identifies Māori students whose learning needs acceleration using thorough assessment processes. It sets appropriate annual targets.

Most Māori students achieve at or above expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Mid 2016 data shows that many students have made accelerated progress, particularly in writing, since the beginning of the year.

Teachers know their students well. Through inquiring into the impact of their practice, teachers deliberately adapt programmes and approaches to successfully accelerate learning for these students.

Teachers collaborate, model, share practice and inquire into data to identify next learning. A relentless focus on student progress, particularly for those identified as target students, is evident.

Students are self-guided, curious and problem-solving learners. They work capably at challenging tasks. Teachers are collectively responsible for the learning and wellbeing of all students. The school has high expectations of teachers and students.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school effectively identifies other students whose learning need acceleration using similar thorough assessment processes and setting appropriate annual targets.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices effectively enact the vision, values, goals and targets to successfully achieve equity and promote excellence.

The board actively represents and governs the school, appropriately giving priority to student learning and wellbeing. Trustees are well-informed about student achievement and are improvement focused. They are knowledgeable about the school's curriculum, future direction and conditions for sustainability. The board is committed to building ongoing staff capability.

School leaders capably and collaboratively drive improvement goals and targets. All staff have opportunities and are encouraged to take on leadership roles, using their strengths and interests.

Strongly aligned vision, valued outcomes, strategic and annual plans are enacted through the curriculum. Clearly articulated guidelines ensure a shared understanding of agreed expectations.

Student leaders across the school have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. They are involved in determining learning contexts and support the maintenance of the positive school culture. Student opinion is regularly sought and acted upon. Student success is fostered and celebrated. Positive, respectful relationships are highly evident.

The school's strong emphasis on personalised learning empowers students. Selfguided learning is embedded across the school. Students are given explicit instruction in strategies that enable them to take control of their learning. They are given multiple opportunities to consolidate learning, respond to feedback and purposefully apply this to new learning. Community consultation has identified that further clarification of this approach is a next step.

Māori students are highly regarded as leaders and role models in the school. To consolidate culturally responsive practices, school leaders have identified and have plans in place to further:

  • strengthen consultation with whānau
  • use local expertise, knowledge and skills
  • build teacher confidence in the use of te reo and their understanding of te ao Māori.

Parents and whānau are engaged with the school in reciprocal learning-centred relationships. All work together with students to identify strengths, learning needs and set goals for next learning steps. This supports parents to constructively contribute to their children's learning.

A clear plan enables students and their families to successfully transition to school. The junior school programme incorporates elements of Te Whāriki, theearly childhood curriculum, to support discovery and inquiry-based learning.

Robust, improvement focused appraisal and performance management processes support teachers to reflectively evaluate the effectiveness of their practice in accelerating student learning. Continuing to ensure that all underachieving students are making accelerated progress is an ongoing focus.

School leaders have established effective practices that promote evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building. Systematic evidence-based evaluation informs ongoing improvements and change to enhance teaching and learning.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

School leaders and trustees establish clear and consistent expectations that support teaching and learning. Effective teaching scaffolds student learning through adaptations and well-planned use of instructional approaches and strategies for individuals and groups of learners.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014

7 Recommendation

Ongoing evaluation of the impact of changes and improvements continue to inform development and strategic direction. Sustaining practices that achieve equity and promote excellence should remain a constant focus. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

2 November 2016 

About the school


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 53%, Male 47%

Ethnic composition



Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

2 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2013

September 2010

May 2007