Owhata School - 29/06/2018

School Context

Ōwhata School is located in the eastern suburb of Rotorua and currently caters for 262 students in Years one to six. The roll includes 209 students of Māori descent. These students identify with Te Arawa, Tūhoe and Ngāti Porou iwi. The tangata whenua, Ngāti Te Roro-o-te Rangi, a hapū of Ngāti Whakaue of Ōwhata Marae, plays a significant role in supporting, guiding and caring for the school. The school’s Rumaki unit, Iriirikapua, offers level two (51-80% instructional) Māori language immersion education. Teaching and learning programmes in these classes are guided by Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. In the Ōkahukura section of the school, programmes are guided by the New Zealand Curriculum.

Since the last ERO review in 2014, the roll has grown significantly. The principal continues in his position and there have been some changes to the senior leadership team. The board of trustees chairperson also continues in his position and many other trustees are experienced in their roles. The school motto Kia Mataara Be Prepared, is supported by the values of Respect Manaakitanga, Excellence Kairangatira, Integrity Mana Tangata and Inquiry Patapatai, which are clearly identified as the qualities of the Ōwhata Learner. The school’s overall vision documents the intent to nurture students to be independent, inquiring, life-long learners who are able to communicate and participate effectively, Whaia te iti kahuarangaki te tuahu koe me he Maunga teitei.

The school is part of the Eastern Rotorua Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics in relation to national curriculum level expectations
  • panui, tuhituhi, reo-a-waha and pangarau.

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 yet to achieve equitable outcomes for all of its students. Achievement information gathered by the school shows that in Ōkahukura in 2017:

  • approximately three quarters of students achieved at or above expected levels in reading and mathematics and two thirds achieved expected levels in writing

  • Māori outperformed Pākehā in reading and mathematics, but achieved at similar levels in writing

  • girls outperformed boys in writing, but achieved at similar levels in reading and mathematics.

Achievement patterns over the last three years show:

  • fluctuating levels across all these curriculum areas, with a general upwards trend for most groups of students from 2016-17

  • a downward trend is evident for Māori in writing, and more recently for girls

  • Māori students consistently outperforming Pākehā in mathematics.

Achievement information gathered by the school shows that in, Iriirikapua (Rūmaki) in 2017 the majority of students achieved at or above expected levels in panui and reo-a-waha, and less than half achieved expected levels in panagarau and tuhituhi. Achievement trends over the last three years show a pattern of improvement across all subject areas.

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

The school responds well to some of the Māori and other students whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

Targeted responses to accelerate progress and achievement in mathematics have been effective in reducing in-school disparity between some groups of learners. In 2017 mathematics professional learning and development for teachers was a focus for the school. Information gathered by the school shows that for the small groups targeted, approximately half made accelerated progress.

The school is yet to collate information about rates of acceleration or progress for all students whose learning is at risk across the curriculum.

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?

The board actively represents and serves the school and the wider Ōwhata community. Trustees work extensively in the school and community. Collaborative community networks and connections are effective in engaging the school in a strong partnership with parents, other local schools, whānau and hapū. Relationships with hapū are authentic and there are deliberate events and strategies to engage parents in partnerships to support their children’s learning. These networks enable the school to extend and enrich its curriculum, and increase learning opportunities and pathways for students. Trustees, leaders and teachers actively participate in school events and activities alongside students and whānau. Teachers, leaders and kaiawhina know students’ whakapapa and whānau, which enables them to engage with them responsively and effectively.

The school’s local curriculum has been developed in consultation with the community and strongly reflects local priorities, contexts and environments for students in both the Iriirikapua and Ōkahukura. Community focused strategic planning processes enable a strategically aligned kaupapa for school-wide improvement. This kaupapa includes seamless transitions into, within and beyond the school, a strong relational culture in the school and a constant focus on promoting excellence and equity.

The school’s learning culture is effective in supporting student engagement and success. Relationships throughout the school are caring and inclusive. The school values are highly evident and well known to students. The curriculum strongly supports and affirms students’ language, culture and identity. Reciprocal, respectful interactions between teachers and students are strongly evident and tuakana teina relationships are a feature of the school culture. The school is responsive to students with additional needs. Effective systems are in place to plan and monitor interventions for these learners. Students are confident, inquisitive and enthusiastic about sharing their learning and successes.

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

Trustees and leaders need to set targets that include all students whose learning is at risk to form the basis for:

  • the strategic alignment of school priorities focused on accelerating progress

  • an increased awareness, visibility and ownership of school-wide targets as a shared focus across the school

  • regular reporting from school leaders about progress, accelerated progress and rates of progress for these students

  • the evaluation of the overall effectiveness of teaching and learning programmes.

Teachers need to improve the way they use learning progression frameworks to:

  • plan, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching

  • track accelerated trajectories for all at-risk learners

  • continue to develop a shared language of learning, progress and acceleration.

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.

Appraisal audit

The school needs to ensure that sufficient evidence is gathered to inform the endorsement of teachers full-practising certificates. A non-compliance has been identified in regard to this and is signalled below.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to teacher registration, and health and safety. In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates meet the requirements of the Education Council New Zealand.
    [s77c State Sector Act 1998]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure the thorough implementation of the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015).

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • community partnerships that are characterised by high levels of collaboration, engagement and involvement

  • trustees’ level of involvement and engagement with whānau and the wider community including hapū

  • a culture for learning that strongly reflects the school values of Manaakitanga, Kairangatira, Mana Tangata and Patapatai.

Next steps

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

  • the school-wide management and use of achievement information to inform strategically aligned processes to accelerate progress

  • building teacher capability to respond more effectively to the learning needs of all students whose learning is at risk

  • internal evaluation processes and practices.
    [ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

29 June 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 76%
Pākehā 15%
Pacific 4%
Other European 2%
Other 2%
Asian 1%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

29 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

August 2014
May 2012
December 2009