Opoho School - 15/10/2019

School Context

Opoho School provides education for students from Years 1 to 6 with a roll of 171 students. The school is located in a northern suburb of Dunedin.

The school states that its vision is for students to 'Develop as confident life-long learners and be at the heart of the community'. The school values learners who are kind, responsible and working to be the best they can be.

The current strategic goals are to:

  • implement collaborative learning and co-teaching in the new senior classes

  • complete the inquiry into teaching and learning in science and embed practices across Years 1-6

  • develop a plan for the digital technology curriculum

  • identify and target support for all learners not achieving expected levels in literacy and mathematics

  • maintain high quality teaching and learning while implementing researched assessment tools to determine learning progress.

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

  • engagement and wellbeing
  • achievement across the New Zealand Curriculum, particularly in literacy and mathematics
  • the progress and achievement of priority learners.

Since the 2015 ERO review, 2 assistant principals have been appointed.

In February 2019 a new building was completed, providing a modern, flexible learning space for the senior students. The school is a green-gold level Enviroschool.

Teachers have been involved in the Ministry of Education funded programmes supporting positive behaviour for learning, and science professional development.

The school belongs to the Ōtepoti ki te Raki, North Dunedin Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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?

The school is achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for most of its students. Learning information shows most students are achieving at or above the curriculum expectations. Over time, achievement in reading and writing has improved, and mathematics has remained consistently high. Almost all Māori students achieve highly in reading and mathematics.

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

The school is effectively accelerating the progress of many students who need extra support to succeed. School progress and achievement information shows high levels of acceleration in a range of targeted programmes and interventions.

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 participate and learn in a positive, caring and inclusive learning community. The school culture embraces and celebrates diversity for the benefit of all. Teachers know and respond to the students’ and their families’ strengths, needs, interests and aspirations. Relationships are built with parents and whānau that focus on students’ learning, particularly for those students who need extra support to succeed.

Transitions into and through school are carefully managed. Students benefit from the way teachers work collaboratively and collegially to share high, clear and equitable expectations for their learners’ achievement and wellbeing. Teachers’ support for students’ emotional and social development forms the foundation for learning.

Students learn through a coherent curriculum that builds on their curiosity about the world around them and beyond. The breadth and depth of the New Zealand Curriculum is meaningfully taught through local contexts, teacher strengths and students’ interests. It is enriched by the engagement of local people and places and is supported by the use of external agencies and resources.

Students identify as kaitiaki of their environment. Learning about sustainable practices is interwoven throughout their curriculum. Māori perspectives are valued and integrated across all learning areas and within school life. The student is at the centre of curriculum design. Active engagement is encouraged and students develop understandings of themselves as learners. Students who need extra help to succeed are identified early and targeted programmes are provided to support them and accelerate their learning.

The board, principal and teachers make effective use of learning information to inform resourcing decisions and to provide equitable opportunities for learning. The board is well informed about all aspects of school operations. The board’s core focus is on student wellbeing and achievement. The evaluation, inquiry and knowledge-building processes are purposeful and focus on specific areas for improvement.

The effective professional leadership team has established a compelling vision for equity and excellence at this school. Their priority and improvement goals are grounded in analysis of learning information and current educational research. They support agreed strategies for improvement with a coherent approach to organisational change and building leader and teacher capability. This means that all students have the opportunity to experience high quality learning activities.

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

The next step is for the leaders and teachers to document the philosophies, practices and approaches that have created the culture of learning outcomes for success so that these can be sustained and continually improved for the ongoing benefit of students.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to theEducation (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016(the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were three international students attending the school.

International students and their families are well supported as they join the school, through the enrolment and welcome process. Students are provided with appropriate levels of learning support to foster their language skills. Their academic and pastoral progress is monitored by teachers and leaders.

4 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Opoho School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

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

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • positive, collaborative, caring relationships at all levels that support students’ wellbeing and learning
  • the coherent, authentic curriculum that draws on students’ interests and identities, and parents’ aspirations
  • the boards’, leaders’ and teachers’ knowledge of, and responses to, individual needs that lead to excellent and equitable outcomes
  • the effective leadership team that builds shared understandings, across the learning community, of expectations for high quality teaching and learning.

Next step

For sustained improvement and future learner success, a priority for further development is for the leaders and teachers to evaluate and record what works best in their successful learning culture so that this can be sustained and continually improved.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

15 October 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55%, Girls 45%

Ethnic composition

Māori and Pacific 15%

Pākehā 77%

Asian 8%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

September 2019

Date of this report

15 October 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review May 2015

Education Review September 2010

Education Review July 2007