Otamarakau School - 26/09/2013

1 Context

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

The long-established Otamarakau School is located 26 km from Te Puke in the Western Bay of Plenty. The school provides good quality education for 58 Years 1 to 8 students, 25 of whom are Māori.

Considerable community pride is reflected in the school’s well-maintained, attractive presentation. Since the 2010 ERO review there has been one new staffing appointment and, just prior to the review, three new trustees have been elected to the board.

The charter outlines the school’s vision of looking to the future and states shared beliefs that every student has unique qualities and skills to be nurtured. The core value of respect for self and others is evident throughout the school’s positive climate for learning. The school tone is enhanced by the caring relationships among staff, students and their families.

Teachers continue to strengthen their professional practice through sustained involvement in professional learning and development programmes.

Students benefit from the considerable time and ongoing support provided by parents. An active parent-teachers’ association enables the school to provide extra resourcing that supports student learning experiences.

2 Learning

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

Teachers use a range of standardised assessment tools to gather achievement information in reading, writing and mathematics. The 2012 assessment data shows that in mathematics and reading a high majority of students were achieving at or above National Standards. While achievement in writing is not as high, the overall achievement is comparable to national expectations for this area of learning. There is no significant difference between the achievements of Māori students compared with non Māori. However, boys are not achieving as highly as girls.

Achievement data is used to identify students who require extra support, develop school-wide achievement targets, and to focus professional learning and development for teachers in areas that require extra focus.

Parents receive two written reports per year outlining student progress against National Standards. Parents report that these are clear and easy to understand. Parents also have opportunities to talk with teachers about student progress via teacher and child-led interviews.

ERO and school leaders agree that raising student achievement is likely to be enhanced by developing more specific targets for students that have been identified as ‘at risk’ of not achieving. It would also be beneficial to strengthen information provided to the board about intervention programmes for ‘at-risk’ students so that trustees can more readily evaluate the effectiveness of these programmes.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. This is evidenced as follows:

  • The curriculum is responsive to the local context
  • There is an appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics
  • A wide range of extra-curricular opportunities and leadership opportunities enhances student learning.

Effective teaching at Otamarakau School is characterised by:

  • a positive climate resulting from warm, caring relationships among teachers and students
  • well-organised, functional classrooms
  • high-quality resources to support teaching and learning
  • teaching that is responsive to student learning needs and programmes delivered through ability grouping approaches
  • effective student management strategies.

Staff are supportive of one another, share a collegial approach to professional learning and utilise each other’s strengths to benefit student learning.

ERO and the principal agree that the next step is to raise school-wide consistency in undertaking an analytical approach to identifying and recording student learning needs. It is further agreed that staff should continue to develop strategies that facilitate students taking greater responsibility for their own learning.

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

Māori students are well supported and provided with a range of opportunities to succeed as Māori.

Since the last ERO review the school has taken positive steps towards promoting success for its Māori students. These developments include:

  • increasing the number of adult role models within the school
  • developing a relationship with the local marae
  • providing students with opportunities to participate in aspects of te ao Māori e.g. kapa haka
  • increasing Māori content in teaching and learning programmes, both formally and incidentally, and promoting the visibility and use of te reo Māori in the school environment.

In order to strengthen the school’s continuing focus on providing a meaningful Māori dimension, the next steps should be the development of structured and sequential approaches to Māori language and local history programmes.

4 Sustainable Performance

How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The quality of current operations and planned development places the school in a sound position to sustain and improve its performance. ERO’s confidence about the school’s sustainability is based on the following aspects:

  • The teaching team and principal are strongly focused on raising student achievement.
  • Students are actively engaged in their learning and are progressing and achieving well.
  • Teachers demonstrate a variety of good professional practice.
  • Appropriate steps are taken to provide a safe physical and emotional environment.
  • The school enjoys strong parental support.
  • Trustees are undertaking relevant training, keep themselves well informed about school developments, and continue to provide support for programme resourcing.

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.

There is a need for the board to develop and sign off the principal’s performance agreement for 2013. This document could then be used as a basis for the principal’s appraisal that should provide the principal and trustees with feedback about how well the 2013 charter goals have been met.

[s 77C State Sector Act 1988: NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement]

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 September 2013

About the School


Western Bay of Plenty

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 35

Girls 23

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


South East Asian






Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

26 September 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

November 2010

November 2007

August 2004