Rotokawa School - 16/03/2020

School Context

Rotokawa School is a contributing primary school catering for Year 1 to 6 students located in Rotorua. The current roll of 217 includes 135 who identify as Māori. The school vision is ‘to improve your future, enjoy school, enjoy learning, consider others’. ‘Whakaaro nui ki ētahi’.

Since the 2016 ERO evaluation a new principal and assistant principal have been appointed and the majority of board members are new. Trustees have been involved in training and have had a smooth transition into their roles. The teaching and leadership team have been involved in professional learning and development in play-based learning, writing, incredible years and oral language. The school is a participant in the Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative.

In 2019 a formalised Memorandum of Understanding - Tatau Pounamu, was signed with Ngāti Uenukukopako to cement the relationship with Rotokawa School. Ngāti Uenukukopako Hapū have cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association with the whenua and are recognised as the iwi/hapū who are mana whenua and kaitiaki of Rotokawa School.

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

  • reading, writing, mathematics and attendance.

The school belongs to the Rotorua East Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning.

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 and excellent outcomes for all students. Student achievement data for Years 3 to 6 at the end of 2018 shows that the majority of students achieved at or above expected levels for writing and mathematics and most students for reading.

School data shows that non-Māori students are achieving better than Māori students and girls at higher levels than boys in reading and writing, and boys are achieving higher in mathematics.

ERO was unable to accurately ascertain student achievement levels over the last three years.

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

The school responds well to individual Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Classroom teachers have developed useful processes to track the accelerated progress of at-risk students. They can show acceleration for individual students. The 2019 mid-year data for these students indicates that almost all targeted students made accelerated progress in writing. The school has yet to collate and analyse schoolwide acceleration information for these students in reading and mathematics.

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?

Teachers and support staff work collaboratively to effectively assist students to be actively engaged in their learning. They respond well to student needs and there is an emphasis on holistic learning and wellbeing. Physical environments are well organised to support learning and reflect New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. School values are embedded throughout the school and there are clear expectations for behaviour and learning. Staff have established positive and reciprocal relationships with students and whānau. Students are highly engaged in learning activities reflecting the school strategic priorities.

The school is providing a localised curriculum that values local traditions and history. There is an appropriate emphasis on literacy and mathematics. Leaders and teachers have reviewed assessment practices to strengthen the use of student achievement information. Students are actively encouraged to participate in a wide range of academic, sporting, cultural and leadership opportunities.

Tuakana-teina relationships are central to the culture of the school. Teachers plan collaboratively for curriculum concepts and inquiry learning. Leaders and teachers are accessing targeted professional learning and development in te ao Māori, aligned to the localised Rotokawa history and culture.

Leaders and trustees are working constructively to provide an environment that effectively promotes student learning and wellbeing. A distributive leadership approach is providing opportunities for teachers to lead aspects of the curriculum and contribute to the life of the school and wider education community. The leadership team is building teacher capability through appropriately targeted professional learning and development to support teachers to reflect on and inquire into their practice. Trustees are committed to improving student wellbeing and achievement, and are engaging in training to support their governance role.

Learning for students with additional needs is well planned and managed. The special needs coordinator has developed robust systems for tracking and monitoring at risk learners. Teachers and teacher aides work effectively in partnerships with whānau and outside agencies to meet the needs of individual students. Transition into, within and out of the school is responsive to individual learners.

The school and community are engaged in reciprocal partnerships. Senior leaders and staff maintain a welcoming, family-like learning environment, where students feel well supported and confident.

Parents ERO spoke to felt well informed, their ideas valued, and expertise utilised. Partnerships with parents are effectively used to support learning and they are actively involved in school events and activities.

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

ERO and the board agree that priority should be given to strengthening:

  • the collation and analysis of student achievement data to show progress and acceleration over time
  • student capabilities to enable them to articulate their progress, celebrate achievement and identify next learning steps
  • the evaluation of school initiatives and their impact on student engagement and learning outcomes
  • teacher understanding of te ao Māori to continue to build confidence and capability
  • the collection and use of all student achievement data to more specifically inform decisions related to student learning and achievement.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Rotokawa School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • school values that are embedded throughout the school to provide clear expectations for behaviour and learning
  • leadership and the board who work collaboratively and effectively to provide an environment that promotes student learning and wellbeing
  • a localised curriculum that includes local traditions and history
  • partnerships with parents that are effectively used to support learning and actively involve whānau in school events and activities.

Next steps

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

  • evaluating school initiatives to determine their impact on student outcomes
  • strengthening student achievement data to show student progress and acceleration and inform decision making.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

16 March 2020

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 101 Male 116

Ethnic composition

Māori 62%
NZ European/Pakeha 36%
Other 2%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

16 March 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review August 2013
Education Review December 2010