Oturu School - 30/06/2016

1 Context

Oturu School provides education for students in Years 1 to 8. Senior leaders and some trustees are long serving in the school. The school has a history of positive ERO reports. Many of the strengths identified in the 2012 ERO report, including student engagement, tikanga Māori and leadership opportunities for students, continue to be evident.

The school and Ministry of Education have introduced an enrolment zone to manage the roll growth. The upcoming complete rebuild of the school will modernise facilities and better accommodate the increased roll.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are embedded at all levels of school operations. Oturutanga, the way of the school, captures the vision for children. Environmental education and the values of manaakitanga, whānaungatanga, rangitiratanga, kotahitanga and ako are important components of the vision.

The school community has recently reviewed what is important for learning at Oturu. The graduate student profile defines the community's aspirations for students. The school focuses on supporting students to be lifelong learners and critical thinkers who are responsible to each other and the environment. Te reo Māori me ona tikanga are integral to school operations.

Ninety-five percent of children at Oturu School identify as Māori. Achievement information shows that more than half the children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Children achieve better in reading and writing than in mathematics. Overall, boys achieve at lower levels than girls. The greatest disparity between genders is in writing and the least is in mathematics.

School data show a decline in reported achievement over the past three years. This trend in the data is consistent for both boys and girls across reading, writing and mathematics. School leaders consider that this could be attributed to more robust processes for making overall teacher judgements about students' achievement.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has: 

  • actively participated in the local Learning Change Network
  • implemented significant professional learning and development for teachers
  • benefited from governance training undertaken by trustees
  • reviewed the vision and values of the school's curriculum
  • developed student graduate and ideal teacher profiles
  • established frameworks to support teacher appraisal
  • created systems to identify and plan for children who need to achieve better. 

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has recently improved systems to identify children at risk of not achieving. Teachers now use achievement data, class observations, attendance and shared knowledge of the child as a learner to identify children who need to make accelerated progress. Teachers reflect on the impact of their teaching on the progress of their students.

Senior leaders have developed good processes to help teachers to build their knowledge of and to plan for target children's learning needs. These new approaches are yet to be embedded and to have an impact on children's progress. School leaders are now considering how they can closely track and monitor the progress of target children. This is important as it will help teachers and leaders to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives in accelerating achievement for children.

A format to support teachers to critique their own and colleagues' practice has good potential to strengthen professional conversations among teams of teachers about Māori children who need to achieve better.

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school has recently improved systems to identify children at risk of not achieving. These systems reflect the needs of the five percent of children who are not Māori.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

Children have a strong sense of whānaungatanga to the school community. They benefit from positive relationships with their teachers. Children build their knowledge about and connection to the natural world. They have authentic learning experiences based around the school's development and production of food and health products.

Further development of the school curriculum should ensure children have good quality learning opportunities in science, social studies and technology. Flexible learning spaces are a feature of the planned school facilities. It is timely, therefore, for teachers to build a shared understanding of what effective teaching and learning will look like in these spaces.

Children take responsibility for some Enviro school processes. Some have good opportunities to experience leadership roles internationally.

Children learn in settled purposeful classes and engage well in their learning. They are confident in talking about their learning. Most children know how well they are achieving in relation to expectations for their year level. Older children set goals for reading, writing and mathematics. It would now be useful for teachers to help students to identify the next steps in their learning and to provide opportunities for children to achieve them.

Trustees are representative of the wider community. They bring experience and whānau connections to their roles. Board training has been undertaken to further develop their understanding of school governance. As a result trustees have greater awareness of their governance, and an increased focus on student achievement.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers: 

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how teaching is working for these children
  • do not always or systematically act on what they know works for each child
  • have a plan in place but have not yet built teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children. 

School leaders are experienced and are using new learning from professional development well to improve systems and processes that are likely to promote better student outcomes. They are aware of the work that remains to ensure these improvements are embedded.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should use the findings of this evaluation, the Effective School Evaluation resource, the Internal Evaluation: Good Practice exemplars and the School Evaluation Indicators to develop a Raising Achievement Plan to further develop processes and practices that respond effectively to the strengths and needs of children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendations

School leaders and ERO agree that the key next steps include: 

  • implementing strategies and programmes that accelerate progress for children who need to achieve better
  • establishing systems to monitor and track the progress of children whose learning is being accelerated
  • embedding recent improvements and initiatives
  • reviewing the curriculum to ensure children experience depth in the science, social studies, technology and the arts
  • considering the vision for learning and the use of digital technologies in the new flexible spaces
  • building collaborative partnerships with parents and whānau to support their children's learning
  • improving processes and documentation of Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC), stand downs, suspensions and exclusions, and the use of the in committee process
  • evaluating the effectiveness of initiatives designed to accelerate children's rate of progress. 

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

30 June 2016

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

30 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2012

August 2009

September 2006