Opoutere School - 26/04/2013

1 Context

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

Opoutere School serves a diverse and committed school community. The increasing number of families, particularly Māori families, has further strengthened the school’s focus on inclusive cultural practices and developing positive partnerships with whānau and families. The small six-classroom, full primary school has a growing roll of 133 of whom 56 identify as Māori.

Since the 2010 ERO review, the school has reviewed its vision and values for student learning. The school and community has identified a set of core values that describe the way staff, parents and students work together in order to pursue the school’s vision of ‘RESPECT’.

Underpinning this vision is the school’s strong focus on providing students with a broad and holistic education. Dedicated staff are committed to developing meaningful relationships with students and providing them with positive learning experiences. Teachers have been involved in a sustained programme of professional development to increase their knowledge and understanding about the teaching of writing and mathematics.

The composition of the senior leadership team has remained stable since the last ERO review. Strong professional leadership by the principal and deputy principal has led to a positive culture for learning and improved levels of student achievement.

The board is effective and understands its governance role. Trustees monitor school operations and ensure that teachers and students have the necessary support and resources. The board chairperson operates in a collegial way with trustees and the principal. Together with senior leaders and staff, they are establishing an inclusive learning community which is focused on providing meaningful outcomes for students.

2 Learning

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

The school is making good use of achievement data to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement.

The school has an open-door policy that encourages parents to be involved in their child’s learning. Report evenings include children sharing and discussing their learning and achievements with their parents. Detailed mid-year and end-of-year reports provide parents with good information about how they can support their child’s next learning steps.

Senior leaders analyse school-wide data well to identify trends and patterns in achievement and to inform decisions about professional learning and development for teachers. Student achievement information is used by the board to assist decision making and to identify annual targets to raise student achievement. Where necessary, resources are carefully allocated to support students who need additional learning support.

Teachers are making good use of student achievement to diagnose students' learning needs and to plan and implement appropriate learning programmes to support and extend children's learning.

School-wide achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics shows that the vast majority of students are achieving at or above the National Standards. The data also shows that Māori students overall are performing at levels lower than their non-Māori peers. While many Māori students are achieving well, senior leaders acknowledge that there is a need for the school to do more to improve the achievement of Māori students.

The school should now consider making greater use of student achievement information by aligning teachers’ and the principal’s appraisal goals to the targeted groups of priority learners identified in the annual plan.

3 Curriculum

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

The school provides a holistic curriculum that effectively promotes and supports student learning. Examples of the schools approach to curriculum implementation include:

  • the successful promotion of environmental education and financial literacy particularly for senior students
  • authentic learning experiences through the use of local places of interest
  • the integration of essential learning areas through the use of an inquiry approach
  • students active participation in sports, art and cultural events and activities
  • a range of student leadership opportunities.

In classrooms, teachers use a range of effective strategies to support student learning. Classes are well managed and focused on learning. Students have a good attitude, are keen to learn and take pride in their work. In classrooms, ERO observed supportive and affirming relationships among teachers and students. Classroom planning is thorough, as is the assessment of student work. A next step for teachers is to ensure students are provided with more balanced and systematic coverage of the whole of the mathematics curriculum

Since the 2010 ERO report, teachers have developed their teaching practices that focus on students taking ownership of their learning. Some students could speak about this and their goals very well. To support all students' confidence levels, teachers should continue to develop assessment processes and practices that help students become self-managing learners.

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

The school promotes success for its Māori students. The principal is responsive to Māori students needs and has provided leadership in this area. There are good examples of Māori perspectives within the curriculum. These include marae visits, matariki celebrations and school and community hangi. The introduction of a te reo Māori programme in all classrooms where teachers are taking greater responsibility is a positive development for the school.

Teachers use Māori reciprocal learning relationships such as tuakana/teina to further enhance learning. There are greater levels of participation in kapa haka and pōwhiri, and increasing engagement of whānau. Māori representation on the board is strong. A next step for senior leaders is to deepen the coverage of local tribal knowledge and history and to make this more visible in the curriculum.

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 because:

  • there is regular review of the curriculum and professional practice that contributes to ongoing improvement
  • school governance is effectively undertaken by a team of committed trustees
  • there is an inclusive school culture and strong community support for the school
  • school leaders provide clear direction and are focused on improving learning outcomes

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.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

26 April 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%

Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā






Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

26 April 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2010

June 2007

April 2004