Otorohanga School - 21/05/2019

School Context

Otorohanga School provides education for students in Years 1 to 8 from the Otorohanga township and surrounding areas. The school roll has grown since the previous ERO review in 2015 and now includes 53 students, 35 of whom identify as Māori. The principal continues in her role and there have been minor changes to the teaching team. There have been significant changes to the board of trustees including a new chairperson who took up the role in 2018. The school has responded positively to the areas for improvement identified in the 2015 report.

The school vision is Ko koe ki tena, Ko au ki tenei, Kīwai o te kete, ‘You hold that handle and I’ll hold this handle and together we’ll carry the kete’, is supported by the goal for ‘children to belong to a team which respects, supports and shares their learning’. This vision is underpinned by the values of aroha, rongomaiwhiti, noho haepapa, mahitahi and kotahitanga. The vision and values were reviewed during 2017 to support school direction and priorities. The school charter includes targets to accelerate student outcomes in mathematics, literacy and aspects of wellbeing.

During 2018, teacher professional development has focused on student wellbeing, positive behaviour for learning (PB4L) and mathematics. In addition, teachers engaged in He Papa Tikanga.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics
  • student wellbeing
  • student fitness.

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 outcomes for all of its students.

School data shows that in 2018 most Māori achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics, and the majority in writing. Māori achieved at slightly lower rates than other students in the school in reading, writing and mathematics. Girls outperformed boys in reading and writing but achieved at similar levels in mathematics. Data gathered over the last three years shows improved outcomes school wide in reading, writing and mathematics.

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

The school is able to show acceleration for some Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need this.

School data about rates of progress and acceleration for 2018 shows:

  • effective acceleration for all target students, including Māori, in writing and mathematics and some acceleration in reading
  • similar patterns of acceleration for Māori and non-Māori in reading and writing
  • Māori enjoying higher rates of acceleration in mathematics than their non-Māori peers
  • similar patterns of acceleration for girls and boys in writing and mathematics
  • overall girls’ rates of acceleration were higher than boys in reading.

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?

Student achievement information is used effectively across the school. Teachers use achievement information to plan responsive teaching programmes and closely monitor each student’s progress. Teachers and leaders make use of achievement information to inquire into their practice and build capability. The principal reports schoolwide achievement information to trustees which enables them to set, monitor and report on targets that are focused on accelerating progress for identified groups of learners. Achievement data is also well used by leaders and trustees to establish professional learning and curriculum development priorities.

Parents are increasingly engaging in effective partnerships and relationships that are focused on learning. Communication strategies enable parents to be well informed about student learning, successes and celebrations. Parents of target learners are encouraged to engage in ongoing communications with teachers specifically to establish a partnership in accelerating outcomes for these students.

Performance management systems and practices are effective in building teacher capability to accelerate progress for at-risk learners. Teachers’ practice is regularly observed. The feedback they receive enables them to reflect on, and plan to improve, outcomes for learners. The appraisal system is personalised for teachers and is strongly supported by ‘teaching as inquiry’ processes. Systems for the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates are robust and well aligned with both the Teaching Council requirements and school priorities.

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

There is the need to further progress the development and implementation of the Otorohanga School local curriculum. This development needs to:

  • show the curriculum is supporting the board’s current strategic priority about Māori students enjoying educational success as Māori
  • include the implementation of the existing planned approach to teaching and learning about te reo and tikanga Māori across the school
  • provide additional detail about the school’s inquiry learning model.

There is the need to implement the new assessment schedule that includes additional assessment tools. This is necessary to add reliability to judgements about student achievement, progress and acceleration across the New Zealand Curriculum, and is also likely to support teacher planning and curriculum review.

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 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Otorohanga School performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • the management and use of achievement information that provides a sound basis for planning, review and decision making

  • relationships with whānau that promote a partnership for learning and wellbeing

  • performance management systems that build teachers’ capability to improve outcomes for all students.

Next steps

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

  • local curriculum development to ensure it meets the board’s expectations about Māori students enjoying educational success as Māori

  • ensuring assessment tools and strategies provide a sound basis for monitoring progress and acceleration across the New Zealand Curriculum.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

21 May 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Females 29 Males 24

Ethnic composition

Māori 35
NZ European/Pākehā 13
Southeast Asian 3
Other 2

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

21 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review April 2013