Otonga Road School - 28/07/2014


Otonga Road School provides high-quality, inclusive education in a learning focused environment. Good systems are in place to promote student safety and wellbeing, and there are close and supportive relationships between students and staff. Students achieve very well, and targeted programmes cater for those achieving below expected levels.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Otonga Road School, located in the southern suburbs of Rotorua, caters for students in Years 1 to 6. This large, multicultural school has a roll of 571 students, drawn from the Otonga community and greater Rotorua area. Māori students make up 25 percent of the school roll. There are an increasing number of diverse ethnicities, including students for whom English is a second language. The school caters for international fee paying students, and two were enrolled at the time of the ERO review.

Since ERO’s last review in June 2011, school leadership and staffing have remained constant resulting in strong continuity in teaching and learning. There has been significant teacher learning and development in writing and the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). Teachers are currently focused on the teaching of mathematics and promoting success for Māori students. The school continues to provide high-quality, inclusive education in a learning focused environment.

Three new board of trustees members have been elected and a new Māori whānau trustee has been co-opted to the board. The school is well supported by an active parent group (Otonga Road School Support Group).

The school has established and sustained a programme for preschool children and their families, designed to promote positive transition to school. Five year olds entering the school are supported by older students and assigned a Year 3 buddy. Transitions across the school and onto Year 7 are carefully planned and based on students’ needs, abilities and interest. More recent innovations include the introduction of gifted and talented cluster classes for identified students in the middle and senior school, and e-learning classes in the senior school and some at other levels.

2 Learning

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

The school makes very effective use of achievement information to make positive changes to students learning, progress and achievement.

Teachers use a range of appropriate assessment tools, including observations of student learning, to make judgements about student progress and achievement in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers and school leaders are continuing to explore assessment tools to further enhance their understanding about student progress and learning.

The school reports that in 2012 and 2013 students achieved very well in relation to National Standards. School data shows that Māori achievement is slightly below that of other students in the school, but well above Māori students nationally. The school’s data also shows that girls and boys achieve at similar levels. Students also enjoy success in sporting, cultural, performing and visual arts.

Teachers make effective use of assessment information to group students for instruction and to establish target groups. They carefully monitor student progress, especially priority learners. ERO observed very high levels of student engagement, interest and motivation in classrooms. Teachers also use assessment information to report to parents about their children’s progress and achievement, set goals and provide ideas about how they can support their learning at home.

Teachers consistently make the purpose of learning explicit to students. Those students interviewed by ERO could talk confidently about their learning, progress and achievement. Teachers are continuing to consider ‘best’ ways to provide students with feedback about their learning and next steps.

The board makes effective use of data to establish strategic goals, set annual achievement targets and make appropriate decisions about resourcing. Ongoing refinement to the management of student achievement information would enable the senior leadership team (SLT) to show and report accelerated progress of students who have been achieving below expected levels school-wide.

A senior leader uses collated and analysed data well to make decisions about classroom placements and programmes to address the needs of students requiring additional support with their learning. They also use data effectively to plan, review and adapt interventions for students with high and complex learning needs.

3 Curriculum

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

The Otonga Road School curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It reflects the values, principles and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum. The school’s broad curriculum strongly emphasises literacy, mathematics and future focused learning. Teaching and learning in the school closely reflects the school’s mission statement 'Whaia te taumata mo ngā tamariki he uru i roto ngā tau kei mua' (building strong foundations for our children’s future).

Other features of the curriculum that successfully contribute to student learning are:

  • learning programmes and initiatives designed to cater for individual students needs, abilities and interests
  • many opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills
  • settled, well-resourced and purposeful learning environments
  • the effective integration of ICT throughout learning programmes
  • strong, caring and nurturing relationships between teachers and students
  • teachers with high expectations for student engagement, progress and success.

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

The school has made significant progress in including Māori language, culture and perspectives within the school environment, protocols, curriculum design, and classroom programmes. Māori whānau demonstrate strong pride in their identity, background, traditions and whānau connections. Māori students interviewed by ERO spoke confidently about their culture, learning, progress and achievement.

The school has surveyed Māori students and whānau and used the findings to plan initiatives designed to promote Māori success as Māori. The board has developed strategic goals, annual aims and targets to raise Māori student achievement and levels of engagement with Māori whānau and iwi.

School-wide professional development about Tātaiako (cultural competencies required for teachers of Māori learners) has resulted in clear and shared expectations about teacher practice, the use of resources, and the inclusion of relevant contexts for learning.

The school has well-defined plans for continuing to build teacher confidence and capability in relation to the competencies and desired outcomes outlined in Tātaiako.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The following factors contribute to school being very well placed to sustain and improve its performance:

  • a sound understanding and application of self review as continuous cycles of development and improvement at all levels
  • high-quality governance from knowledgeable and skilled trustees
  • high levels of parent engagement and consultation
  • strategic alignment between the school vision, charter goals, annual targets, and teaching and learning programmes
  • the effective approach to engagement with whānau and raising the achievement levels of Māori students
  • a highly inclusive school culture that celebrates and values diversity, including a strategic focus on inclusive practices
  • effective, visionary leadership from the principal that is well supported by senior leadership in the school
  • a planned and strategic approach to building teacher capability, and growing the learning culture.

ERO and the school agree that the next step for the leadership and teachers is to continue to enhance teachers’ practice and professional learning through inquiry, based on student achievement information.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989.

At the time of this ERO review there were two international students attending the school. The school has effective systems in place to provide pastoral care and education of international students. English as a second language programmes are provided where necessary. The teacher with responsibility for international students in cooperation with classroom teachers, closely monitors students' achievement and wellbeing, and undertakes comprehensive induction for students and their families.

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.


Otonga Road School provides high-quality, inclusive education in a learning focused environment. Good systems are in place to promote student safety and wellbeing, and there are close and supportive relationships between students and staff. Students achieve very well, and targeted programmes cater for those achieving below expected levels.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

28 July 2014

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 53%

Girls 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Other European



South East Asian


Other Ethnicity

Other Asian










Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

28 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2011

June 2008

June 2005