Otumoetai College - 29/10/2013

1 Context

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

Otumoetai College is a large co-educational secondary school situated in Tauranga. The college roll of 1924 has remained stable since the last ERO review. The school roll comprises a diverse student population from many nationalities and ethnicities and includes 71 international fee paying students. The proportion of Māori students has increased to twenty percent, most of whom affiliate to the local iwi, Ngaiterangi and Ngāti Ranginui.

Since the previous ERO review, the college has reaffirmed its vision and values for student learning. After extensive community consultation, the college developed a revised charter based on the ‘Otumoetai Way’ that supports students to become well-rounded, resilient, and confident lifelong learners.

Underpinning this vision is the college’s strong focus on learning and a dedicated staff who are committed to developing meaningful relationships with students and providing them with positive learning experiences. The principal, and senior and middle managers, are providing professional leadership that enables staff to develop initiatives, and reflect on and enhance their practice. The experienced principal and leadership team continue to foster and promote a respectful and inclusive school culture.

The board is supportive of the principal and staff and are committed to achieving the strategic goals and aspirations for the college. A combination of new and experienced trustees, including the recently elected chairman, bring considerable expertise to their governance roles. The college has had a positive reporting history with ERO which has consistently acknowledged the strong foundation the college has provided for students' learning and achievement. The college has responded constructively to the areas for development identified in the previous ERO report.

2 Learning

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

The college uses student achievement information well to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement. Extensive student achievement and engagement information is well analysed and used by college leaders to guide decisions about curriculum design, professional learning and development, and to report to the community. Entry data, especially for Years 9 and 10 students, is used to identify their learning strengths and to place them in classes matched to their level of ability. Trustees receive detailed information about the engagement, progress and achievement of students. Appropriate use is made of this information to inform strategic decision making, resource allocation and to set charter targets.

Student achievement information in reading and mathematics shows that a high proportion of students on entry to Year 9 are achieving at or above national expectations. Data for many of these students shows that they make greater than expected progress in their learning.

Individual departments are supported by the learning centre staff to use assessment data to develop strategies that meet the literacy needs of students, particularly in Years 9 and 10. Students who require specific help in aspects of literacy receive targeted intervention and support. Senior leaders recognise the need to strengthen the assessment and promotion of writing within literacy programmes.

Heads of department use achievement information to complete a detailed annual review of student performance in National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), which includes analysis by gender and ethnicity. 2012 NCEA data shows that the proportion of students gaining qualifications at Levels 1, 2 and 3 is comparable to the national average. The achievement of Māori students overall is well below national expectations and that of non-Māori students in the college.

3 Curriculum

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

A special feature of the college is the extensive range of learning and extra-curricular opportunities provided for students. Students experience success across a comprehensive and diverse range of subjects and multi–levelled courses. They receive sound guidance when making decisions that may affect their future learning pathways and take good advantage of the many cultural, sporting and vocational opportunities that are on offer.

Curriculum programmes in Years 9 and 10 are linked closely to The New Zealand Curriculum and are designed to foster student success in senior school qualifications. The senior curriculum is well designed and provides multiple academic and vocational learning pathways for students.

Teachers have successfully established mutually respectful and productive relationships with students. ERO observed high levels of on task behaviour and engagement in classrooms. A focus of professional learning and development has been the process of teaching as inquiry where teachers reflect on specific teaching strategies to enhance their practice, and improve learning outcomes for students.

Since the previous ERO review there has been a concerted effort by college staff to promote the ‘Otumoetai Way’. This focus is evidenced by the strong commitment of staff to the pastoral care and holistic well being of students. Student well being is further supported by close monitoring of attendance, student behaviour, student advice on careers and programme choice, and services provided through the health and wellness centre.

A feature of the college curriculum is the high-quality special needs unit that is effectively led by the head of department who coordinates the work of dedicated, knowledgeable staff. They work closely with parents and whānau to provide individual educational plans that support these students and their families through transition and successful integration into the life of school.

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

A member of the senior leadership team has the designated role for overseeing and promoting the Māori dimension in the college. This role includes coordinating community consultation, regular whānau hui, and the annual Māori achievement evening. Other initiatives such as kapa haka group and the poutama classes further support Māori learners. The college wharenui, ‘Okohanga’ is a valued focal point for supporting the identity, language and culture of Māori students. The school kaumātua liaises with local iwi to inform them about the college’s education plans for Māori students. All staff attended a noho marae to learn about local history and places of historical significance to Māori. To further enhance the success of Māori students as Māori, the college should increase the Māori dimension within the curriculum and teaching programmes.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • trustees provide strong governance in all aspects of board operations and are highly supportive of the principal and staff
  • the principal, and senior and middle managers, are providing effective professional leadership, which enables staff to develop initiatives and reflect on their practice
  • the experienced and well-respected principal has been pivotal in establishing the school culture that promotes respectful and productive relationships throughout the school community
  • teaching staff work collaboratively to plan and deliver quality programmes of learning and give generously of their time to help students achieve success
  • comprehensive pastoral care systems and the health centre is culturally responsive to the well being and diverse needs of students
  • the school is well supported by a hardworking, dedicated Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and well-informed parent community, many of whom are actively involved in school events and activities
  • well-developed, self-review processes are providing useful information for school leaders and the board.

Area for Review and Development

The board, school leaders and ERO agree that the achievement and accelerated progress of learners achieving below expected levels is an area that needs development. There is a need to bring about sustained improvement for students at risk of not achieving to their potential by setting and monitoring specific charter targets and strengthening the use of self-review information. In particular, attention should be given to:

  • ensuring Māori students are actively engaged in their learning, progressing and achieving at levels comparable to non-Māori in the school
  • targeting the improved achievement of boys.

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 review there were seventy one international students attending the school.

The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

ERO’s investigations confirmed that the school’s self-review process for international students is thorough. The school has highly effective systems and practices for the pastoral care, quality of education provision, and integration of students into the school community.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

29 October 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9 to 13)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Girls 55% Boys 45%

Ethnic composition

NZ European



Other European


South East Asian

Other Asian


Cook Island Māori




















Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

29 October 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

July 2009

June 2006