Otaua School - 28/02/2019

School Context

Otaua School is located in a rural township near Waiuku and caters for students in Years 1 to 8. The current roll of 180 includes 17 students who identify as Māori. The school motto ‘learn by doing’ is supported by the vision, ‘for students to be self-assured, connected, actively involved, life-long learners’. To support this vision, the school charter documents the values of fairness, trustworthiness, responsibility and citizenship.

Since the previous ERO review in 2015, the principal and deputy principal continue in their roles and some teachers are new to the school. The board chairperson is new to his leadership role and there have been minimal changes to the trustee team. During 2017 and 2018 teachers have had sustained, externally facilitated professional learning about writing and digital fluency.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is working towards equitable outcomes for all its students.

Achievement information gathered by the school shows the following trends in achievement over the last four years:

  • most students achieve at expected levels in reading, the majority in writing and mathematics

  • achievement for the small number of Māori students has fluctuated in reading, remained stable in writing and increased significantly in mathematics

  • girls’ achievement in reading and mathematics has significantly improved

  • girls consistently achieve at significantly higher levels than boys in reading and writing, and to lesser extent in mathematics.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school is effectively accelerating progress for Māori and other students whose learning is at risk.

Data gathered by the school in reading, writing and mathematics shows effective acceleration for Māori and other at-risk learners. Data for Māori shows the majority of learners made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics. Data for all at-risk learners shows that approximately three quarters of these learners made accelerated progress in reading, and over half in writing and mathematics.

The school is not yet systematically collating and reporting about rates and trajectories of accelerated learning for all students whose learning is at risk.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Trustees are providing effective governance, maintaining a focus on the school’s core business of teaching and learning. They scrutinise student achievement data to make evidence-based decisions about resourcing and school priorities. They work closely with school leaders to promote high expectations across the school. The board actively represents the school community and are fully involved in school events and ongoing developments to support teaching and learning.

Parents, whānau and the wider community are well engaged with the school in reciprocal partnerships focused learning and wellbeing. Parents and whānau are well informed about student achievement and progress. They are welcome in the school as respected and valued partners, and fully involved in school events and activities. Collaboration with local and wider community agencies and initiatives enriches authentic integrated learning opportunities across the curriculum. The school and community work together to plan positive transitions into and beyond the school.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to support student progress and acceleration. They consistently make the purpose of learning explicit for students and provide students with ongoing feedback about their learning. Teachers’ practice shows evidence of sustained, externally facilitated professional learning and development. Established cycles of professional inquiry are enabling teachers to make evidence-based decisions about improving their effectiveness. Teachers and students are making good use of computer technology to share learning and keep parents informed about student achievement.

Systems to identify, support and include students with specific needs are effective and inclusive. Communication with parents and whānau is responsive. Appropriate programmes and interventions are in place to support these student to make progress and address barriers to learning. Continual professional sharing of information and ideas about the best way to support children with identified needs is also contributing to positive outcomes for these students.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The current review of the local curriculum needs to include strengthening of programmes and initiatives to support te ao Māori. Aspects for consideration are:

  • the increased integration of aspects of tikanga and local Māori history
  • culturally responsive teaching and learning across the school
  • the implementation of a sequential programme of instruction in te reo Māori.

School annual planning and reporting processes need to include a stronger focus on accelerating progress for all at-risk learners. Aspects for leaders to consider are:

  • targets that include all students whose progress needs accelerating
  • ongoing reporting to trustees about the pace and trajectory of acceleration for those learners
  • ongoing evaluation of programme effectiveness.

The refinement and further development of school-wide learning progressions is needed to support recent and current teacher professional learning. This is necessary to:

  • support increasingly focused teacher planning in core curriculum areas

  • inform teacher assessment of student progress over time

  • support students’ knowledge of their own learning, progress and next steps.

3 Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board 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

  • finance

  • 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 and certification

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students

  • attendance

  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • governance processes that contribute to excellence and equitable outcomes

  • partnerships and connections that enable community engagement and a collaborative environment

  • professional learning that supports effective teaching practice and improved outcomes for students

  • support systems that contribute to positive outcomes for students with identified needs.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • the development and implementation of a local curriculum to ensure teaching programmes reflect New Zealand’s bicultural partnership

  • learning progressions to support teaching, learning and student knowledge their progress

  • annual planning, reporting and internal review processes to reflect an ongoing focus on accelerating learning for those Māori, boys and other students who need this.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

28 February 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 64% Girls 36%

Ethnic composition

Māori 9%
Pākehā 90%
Other 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

28 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review June2012