Otonga Road School - 13/12/2019

School Context

Otonga Road School is located in the southern suburbs of Rotorua and caters for students in Years 1 to 6. This large, multicultural school has a roll of 560 students. Māori students make up 19 percent of the school roll. There are an increasing number of students with diverse ethnicities, including students for whom English is a second language. The school also caters for international fee-paying students.

Since the previous ERO review in 2014, an enrolment scheme has been put in place to manage roll growth. The principal continues to provide professional leadership, and there have been some changes to the senior leadership and teaching teams. The board chairperson is an experienced trustee who is new to the leadership role. Most other trustees are new since 2014.

The school vision is to develop learners that are confident, connected and actively involved lifelong learners. This vision is supported by the values of manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga, manawanui and whanaungatanga. Current strategic goals focus on progress for all, including those with special needs and abilities, the development of science, technology and mathematics (STEM), bicultural and multicultural opportunities and ongoing curriculum development.

Since the previous ERO review in 2014 teachers have undertaken a range of professional learning. In 2018 there was school-wide professional development to support learner agency and digital learning. Current professional development has included, initiatives in mathematics, science and writing. There has also been a long-term focus on the development of the school’s local curriculum, ‘Te Kura ō Tihīotonga, The Four Winds’. This development has been supported and informed through work done alongside Ngati Whakaue to co-construct the partnership with the school. Working with iwi initiatives and the Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru Trust has also supported the inclusion of ‘The Great Stories of Te Arawa’ that are now an important part of the school curriculum. A graduate profile has been established to provide shared understandings about students’ learning journeys and expectations.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide 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 achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

School-wide data for 2018 shows that in reading, writing and mathematics more than 80% of all students achieved at or above expected curriculum levels. School data gathered over a longer period shows that these levels have remained consistent. Data about achievement of students with higher learning needs shows that these students make good progress with their individual goals.

Data for 2018 shows that in reading and mathematics Māori students achieved at similar levels to their New Zealand Pākehā peers. However, in writing Māori boys achieved at significantly lower levels than other students. This disparity has been addressed in 2019 with significant gains for these learners during the first three school terms.

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

School data shows effective acceleration for Māori and other students who need this.

The school gathers, analyses and reports termly about accelerated outcomes for all students who are not achieving at expected levels for their age. This data shows that approximately three quarters of these students made accelerated progress in reading and mathematics and just over a third made accelerated progress in writing.

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?

Leadership effectively builds collective capacity to do evaluation and inquiry for sustained improvement. School leaders articulate high expectations for all school stakeholders which are evident across the school. Leaders are highly data literate, which is enabling them to plan school improvements that specifically focus on accelerating learning for all students, especially those whose learning is at risk. Evidence-based decisions about school priorities include careful consideration of achievement information, relevant research and patterns of acceleration across the school. Targeted professional learning for teachers and a well-managed approach to building leadership capability are enhancing the collective capability of teachers and emerging leaders. School leaders have established performance management systems that focus on accountability, supporting teachers to improve their practice and the difference made to student learning.

Achievement information is effectively analysed and used at all levels of the school. Trustees make effective use of achievement data reported by leaders to make deliberate resourcing decisions that support equity across the school. Appropriate assessment tools and thorough moderation processes contribute to reliable teachers’ judgements about student achievement and progress. Teachers use achievement information to plan programmes that focus on accelerating outcomes for all learners and to inquire into their practice. They also make good use of school-wide learning progressions to track progress and acceleration for individuals and groups of learners. These progressions are also used by students to support knowledge of their own learning. Data is also well used to establish the effectiveness of teaching programmes so that practice can be shared, teachers’ learning needs can be addressed and the best use can be made of collective strengths across the school.

Curriculum design, planning and delivery are key drivers of excellence and equity across the school. Teachers have been empowered to continually adapt their practice and grow professionally in a culture of support, reflection and inquiry. They regularly engage in ongoing professional collegial conversations that focus on added value for priority learners and strategies that are effective for these learners. Deliberate decisions about teaching that support the school’s graduate profile learning dispositions are evident in teacher planning and practice. In-time use of digital technology tools are supporting self-directed learning, particularly in the senior school. Use of these tools is also supporting enhanced learning partnerships with parents and whānau. Hands on, contextually relevant learning across the wider curriculum includes a range of rich curriculum and extra curricula opportunities. Teachers have established settled learning environments where risks can be taken, and mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn. The school curriculum is designed well to enable all students to learn and make progress to achieve to their potential.

Relationships are well managed to provide collaborative and inclusive environments across the school. Environments also cater for students with higher learning needs. Warm caring relationships between teachers and students support acceleration, inclusion and increasingly positive outcomes for these students’. Professional, collegial relationships are evident among teaching staff and the leadership team. Student management is based on restorative practices and a strengths-based approach across the school. These practices are enabling students to build confidence as successful learners and contributors. Reporting to parents enables them to be well informed about student achievement and progress and engaged with the school in a partnership in learning. The school actively promotes the inclusion of the diverse cultures and backgrounds of students and families. Well-managed individualised processes support students and families at transition-to-school and at critical points during schooling.

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

Leaders and teachers have undertaken professional learning and have made significant progress in the development of a local curriculum. The continuation of this progress is necessary to ensure ongoing and long-term sustainability of practice and improvement.

3 Other Matters

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there was a small number of international students attending the school.

The school provides a welcoming and inclusive environment for international students. Achievement for these students is closely monitored and there is planned provision to support any students for whom English is a second language (ESOL). This provision includes a specialised teaching space and ongoing contact with the significant number of other students in the school receiving ESOL support.

4 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 Children’s Act 2014.

5 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Otonga Road School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Strong.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success is available on ERO’s website.

6 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership that empowers evaluation and inquiry for school improvement
  • levels of data literacy that inform and enable ongoing internal evaluation
  • local curriculum design and delivery that promote excellence and equity across the school.

Next steps

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

  • extending and embedding the local curriculum to show how teaching and learning are contributing to continually improving valued outcomes for all learners.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

13 December 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52% Females 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 19%
NZ European/Pākehā 51%
Chinese 6%
Indian 6%
Other European 5%
Other Ethnic Groups 13%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2019

Date of this report

13 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review July 2014
Education Review June 2011
Education Review June 2008