Opoutere School - 02/06/2016

1 Context

Opoutere School provides education for children from Years 1 to 8. In 2015 a first-time principal took up her role. There have been changes in teaching staff.

Teachers have participated in whole staff and sustained professional development in mathematics as well as writing. In 2014 and 2015 large cohorts of Year 8 children transitioned to secondary school resulting in a decrease in the roll. As identified in the 2013 ERO report there continues to be a need to review and refine teaching and assessment practices to give Māori and all children greater understanding and ownership of the learning process.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to place priority on developing independent and proactive students who give back to society. The values of responsibility, educational ownership, self-awareness, perseverance, environmental awareness, citizenship and thinking (RESPECT) underpin the school's culture.

The school’s 2015 achievement information shows that out of 44 Māori children, 8 in reading, 15 in mathematics and 21 in writing are at risk of not achieving in relation to National Standards. These children are provided with learning programmes that aim to accelerate their learning. From 2014 to 2015 the numbers of Māori children at risk of not achieving at and above in relation to National Standards has increased.

There is a very small number of Pacific children whose achievement is similar to their peers. They receive appropriate targeted support from teachers when required. Making the language, culture and identity of Pacific children more visible and present in the environment and curriculum is necessary to further promote success for these children.

For other children, the school's public achievement information in 2015 shows that out of 76 children there were 8 in reading, 15 in writing and 16 in mathematics who were yet to achieve at expected levels. Overall, in writing and reading there were twice as many boys than girls at risk of not achieving positive educational outcomes. School achievement data from 2012 to 2015 shows that the proportion of students achieving at and above expected levels has remained largely the same.

Trustees, leaders and teachers responded positively to the data showing Māori children and boys requiring support to achieve National Standards in literacy and mathematics. A well-qualified male teacher was appointed to provide tuition in te reo Māori and outdoor education. Students are responding positively to the opportunities for learning in the unique local bush and coastal outdoor environments. The school also benefits from the dedicated support and knowledge of kaumātua with long standing connections in the community. As a result, there is a deeper coverage of local tribal knowledge and history in the curriculum. 

Teachers document the names and numbers of students at risk of not achieving. Appropriate support programmes and teacher aides are in place to provide extra support for these children.

3 Accelerating Achievement

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

The school is responsive to Māori children whose learning and achievement needs accelerating but clearer strategies are required to sustain changes, progress and improvements. School leaders have yet to develop a clear, school-wide definition of accelerated learning and achievement. School data shows that some Māori children whose learning and achievement needs accelerating do make progress. Senior leaders and teachers have identified the need to evaluate the effectiveness of recent initiatives in accelerating learning and achievement for Māori children.

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

The school's responsiveness to other children is the same as for Māori children.

Clear strategies and expectations for teachers to inquire more consistently into the effectiveness of their teaching are needed. These strategies should include planning and deliberate acts of teaching to accelerate the progress of at risk learners. In addition, it is important for the principal and teachers to develop and implement agreed, school-wide practices to accelerate the progress of Māori children who are yet to achieve in relation to National Standards.

The school does not effectively analyse, track and monitor achievement information to show accelerated progress over time for individuals and groups of children yet to achieve National Standards. There is a need to make school-wide targets more specific with the numbers of students requiring support to achieve National Standards in literacy and mathematics. School leaders agreed about the urgent need to develop a target for writing in the school's charter.

There is also a need to review and evaluate specific teaching and learning interventions, and moderation processes to determine how effective these initiatives are in accelerating children's progress.

As identified in the 2013 ERO report, there continues to be a need to align the teachers' and principal's appraisal goals to the targets for priority learners identified in the school's charter, and to continue to promote greater student ownership of the learning process. 

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum requires further development to align with the New Zealand Curriculum and to document how to enact the schools vision and values for equity and excellence. Senior leaders are yet to undertake systematic evaluation to show the outcomes of initiatives and strategies recently introduced to accelerate learning for children who are yet to achieve expected levels.

Positive teaching strategies that reflect the school's vision and values are:

  • some models of culturally responsive practice and regular timetabled opportunities for kapahaka, te reo Māori and tikanga Māori learning
  • inclusive and differentiated opportunities for learning
  • positive and respectful relationships amongst teachers and students
  • integrated use of digital technology.

The school works constructively with external agencies to respond to children with identified needs and has recently appointed a new Special Education Needs Coordinator.

Leaders and teachers should now consider the key principles and outcomes expressed in Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners in evaluating the effectiveness of initiatives and programmes introduced to enhance outcomes for Māori and all children. There is a need to continue to refine processes that teachers use to make valid overall judgements about children's achievement in relation to National Standards. Parents and whānau should be better informed about student learning, and included as partners in the learning process to enrich and accelerate student progress and achievement.

Under the leadership of the new principal there has been open consultation with the community, staff and trustees to review and document the school's charter and update school policies. The school reports this open process has increased partnership and ownership amongst the school's community. A particular strength is the way school trustees access external support and guidance from appropriate agencies.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Trustees and school leaders should now develop effective systems and processes for internal evaluation. This should include:

  • ongoing consultation with the school's community to develop, document, implement and evaluate the Opoutere School curriculum, including shared, agreed and understood school-wide teaching practices aligned with current theory
  • clear alignment of charter goals and targeted students with appraisal goals for leaders and teachers
  • ongoing professional development for leaders and teachers about the effective use of nationally referenced assessment tools 

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three 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.
  • Provision for international students.
  • Provision for students in school hostels. 

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the board in order to bring about the following improvements:

  • school-wide assessment
  • performance management
  • curriculum development and review
  • internal evaluation
  • culturally responsive teaching practices. 

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

2 June 2016 

About the school


Coromandel Peninsula

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)



School roll


Gender composition

Girls    58
Boys    40

Ethnic composition



Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

2 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

April 2013
June 2010
June 2007