Otamatea Christian School - 08/05/2013

1 Background

The Chief Review Officer has a statutory duty to report on the performance of private schools throughout New Zealand.

ERO reviews of private schools are significantly different in process and more limited in scope and reporting than those for state and state-integrated schools, focusing as they do on the Criteria for Registration set out in section 35C of the Education Act.

Section 35I of the Education Act 1989 requires the Education Review Office (ERO) to review private schools and to report to the Ministry of Education on whether each school continues to meet the criteria for registration. The schools are privately owned and the legislative requirements are significantly different to those for state and state-integrated schools. Private schools are not required to follow the National Education Goals or National Administration Guidelines.

What does apply in place of the legislation imposed upon state schools by the Education Act is the contract between the persons paying for the tuition of the child at the school – the parents – and the school authority. Those are matters between the parent and the school’s governing body. More information about ERO reviews of private schools can be found on ERO’s website.

The criteria for registration are that the school —

  1.  has premises that are suitable, as described in section 35D; and
  2.  usually provides tuition for 9 or more students who are of or over the age of 5 years but are under the age of 16 years;
  3.  has staffing that is suitable to the age range and level of its students, the curriculum taught at the school, and the size of the school;
  4.  has equipment that is suitable for the curriculum being delivered or to be delivered at the school;
  5.  has a curriculum for teaching, learning, and assessment and makes details of the curriculum and its programme for delivery available for parents;
  6.  has suitable tuition standards, as described in section 35F;
  7.  has managers who are fit and proper persons (as described in section 35G) to be managers of a private school.

2 Criteria for Registration

Otamatea Christian School is a small co-educational school established by the Maungaturoto Congregational Church on church land. The school is managed by a board of governors, made up of church members. The school is regarded as an integral part of the church’s ministry. It provides education for students from Years 1 to 13. The school roll has grown over the past three years.

Since the 2009 ERO review, the school has continued to provide suitable premises, staffing, equipment, curriculum and standard of tuition. The curriculum aligns with the school’s philosophy of seeking to affirm Christian values as part of a Christian world view. There is clear evidence of the philosophy in curriculum implementation, planning and assessment.

The school continues to follows the Accelerated Christian Education (A.C.E.) philosophy and programmes for Years 1 to 13. This sequential learning and assessment programme is complemented by a broader curriculum that includes opportunities for students to engage in appropriate Christian conferences as part of learning. The afternoon programmes for Years I to 10 extend students through skills based and group learning.

Students are able to achieve qualifications widely accepted by tertiary organisations. They are well supported to consider their career pathways before they leave school.

Students attending the school are focused, diligent and proud of their achievements. They enjoy the calm, respectful attention they receive from adults and the open relationships developed within the school.

Premises for learning are suitable. The open-plan learning centre continues to be well used as a learning space, and for school assemblies. The junior class operates in an attractive space upstairs in the building. Afternoon programmes take place in the adjoining prefabricated buildings which have been modified and made warmer. Teaching spaces are attractive, with displays of student work and art. Outdoor playing spaces have also been improved and made more attractive for students.

Strengthening understanding and use of te reo Māori across the school has been an appropriate priority for the principal, and forms part of the current strategic planning process.

Parents strongly support the work of the school. They are well informed about the programme and about the school’s expectations for their children’s continued learning at home. Regular reporting through newsletters and twice yearly formal reports keeps parents informed of school events. Many parents volunteer their time to help in the programmes. Active fundraising by parents helps to ensure that equipment in the school is suitable.

The school employs two registered teachers, the principal and one other. The principal takes appropriate steps to ensure that the teacher aides and monitors of students are trained and police vetted.

The school’s managers have attested that they comply with the provisions of section 35G in respect to their being fit and proper persons to manage the school. Board members fulfil roles in school maintenance, health and safety monitoring and school finances.

3 Other Statutory Obligations

There are good systems in place for the school’s managing body to be assured that its other statutory obligations are met.

4 Conclusion

On the basis of the information obtained during the review, ERO considers that Otamatea Christian School meets the criteria for registration as a private school set out in the Education Act 1989.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

8 May 2013

About the School


Maungaturoto, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Composite (Years 1 to 15)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 25 Boys 16

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā








Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

8 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Private School Review

Private School Review

Private School Review

October 2009

August 2006

August 2003