Otakiri School - 22/11/2016

1 Context

Otakiri School is located near Edgecumbe and caters for children in Years 1 to 8. The school has a roll of 173 children, 44 of whom are Māori. Children come from surrounding lifestyle properties, farms and nearby townships. The deputy principal has been the acting principal for a significant amount of time prior to the appointment of a new principal in May 2016.

The school is a member of the newly formed Rangitaiki Kawerau Community of Learners, a group of ten schools who will work in collaboration to raise the achievement of children who are underachieving. Three new trustees have recently been appointed to the board of trustees (BoT).

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to be learners forever, leading the future. These outcomes are underpinned by the 'Otakiri Learner' capabilities - having confidence, doing your best and being exemplary citizens.

The school’s achievement information from 2013 to 2015 shows that the majority of children achieved at and above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. In 2015, 30% of Māori children were below National Standards in reading, 35% in writing and 33% in mathematics.

The school is able to show that by the end of Year 8, approximately 80% of children, including Māori, are achieving at and above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers moderate their judgements about children's progress and achievement in relation to National Standards using assessment information from a range of sources. They have participated in professional development and two of the leaders have recently been allocated responsibility in this area. The principal is leading collaborative discussions to enable teachers to make more valid and reliable decisions.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has taken the following actions to improve outcomes for children and accelerate learning and achievement. These include:

  • undertaking targeted professional development in mathematics and writing and in making valid and reliable judgements about children's achievement
  • enhancing partnerships for learning with Ngāti Awa, the local iwi
  • reviewing and developing a Māori implementation plan
  • setting targets to increase the number of children achieving at or above National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school is yet to effectively respond to all Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders and teachers use school-wide achievement data to identify individuals and groups of children who are not achieving at expected levels. Teachers plan for ability groups, including Māori children. They know children's interests, strengths and whānau well. However, student achievement data from 2013 to 2015 shows little change in the numbers of Māori children who are below National Standards. The proportion of boys below National Standards has also remained consistent. Data collected during intervention programmes shows most children made progress, but the improvements have yet to be analysed to show trends over time.

Teachers should now use assessment information on a deeper level in order to make well-informed decisions about the needs of individual children. This should enable them to plan specifically, and teach more deliberately, to accelerate the progress of Māori children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes.

Teachers informally monitor children's progress. They now need to evaluate the impact of teaching strategies in order to review their effectiveness in accelerating Māori student achievement. At the time of this ERO review, the school was not able to show the acceleration of Māori children over an extended time. Planned professional development in the use of their student management system should enable leaders and teachers to use achievement information more effectively.

Leaders have initiated conversations with local hapū and iwi to strengthen the identity, language and culture of Māori children and their whānau. The recently developed Māori implementation plan incorporates a sequential programme for te reo and tikanga Māori, local history and the environment.

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

The school has responded well to some of the other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The SENCO, teachers and experienced teacher aides implement a small range of intervention programmes. Children benefit from this well-organised, focused support in reading and mathematics. The school reports examples of children who have made accelerated progress and achievement in relation to the National Standards.

A next step for leaders is to develop comprehensive, systematic internal evaluation and inquiry into achieving equity and excellence for all children. This should enable leaders and teachers to identify effective strategies and areas for review and development.

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 provides children with a wide range of learning opportunities. It is linked to the school's vision and values. Children are confident, positive about learning, and engage in various extra-curricular activities. They participate and learn in a caring, inclusive environment, where their successes are affirmed and celebrated. All children, including those who need additional support with their learning, benefit from the settled, inclusive and positive culture of the school.

Trustees bring a range of skills and expertise to their stewardship roles. The BoT is representative of the school community, including Māori. They are committed to a shared school direction in working towards raising student achievement. Trustees effectively scrutinise achievement information and use this data to inform strategic decision making. They have identified the need to develop more specific charter targets, to enable ongoing monitoring of progress. Accelerating the progress of children at risk of underachieving remains a priority for the board.

School leaders are developing and using a considered, collaborative and reflective approach to strengthen teachers' capability to accelerate children's learning. The experienced principal is leading teacher professional development with a focus on raising the achievement of targeted children, and inquiring into effective practices that promote equity and excellence. Leaders need to continue the development of a systematic approach to support teachers to make reliable and valid judgements in relation to National Standards.

Teachers use a range of teaching strategies to engage and support children in their learning. The school curriculum encourages the inclusion of culturally responsive and relevant contexts for learning. The leadership team recognises the need to strengthen the involvement of children and their parents in identifying achievement, determining next steps for learning and monitoring progress. This should lead to increased levels of ownership by parents and children, greater understanding of specific learning needs, and allow teachers, children and parents to work together to make a difference.

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
  • need approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • need to ensure the school is well placed to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it.

School leaders, trustees and staff are committed to achieving equitable outcomes for Māori and other children. Leaders, teachers and trustees have begun to work on identified priorities, including strengthening evaluation practice, to build their capability to meet each child's identified needs, and accelerate achievement. Planned, effective processes that include these priorities should lead to a reduction in the disparity between Māori and other children, and promote better achievement outcomes for all.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop more targeted planning 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 planning 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

7 Recommendations

ERO recommends that the principal and BoT continue to develop and embed initiatives to build:

  • teacher capability to accelerate individual children's achievement
  • a comprehensive and systematic approach to achieving equity and excellence for all learners.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

22 November 2016

About the school


Edgecumbe, Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 50% Boys 50%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

22 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

January 2014

February 2011

January 2010