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Opaki School


Education Review Report

Education Review Report
Opaki School

The purpose of ERO’s reviews is to give parents and the wider school community assurance about the quality of education that schools provide and their children receive. An ERO school report answers the question “How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?” Under that overarching question ERO reports on the quality of education and learning outcomes for children and for specific groups of children including Māori students, Pacific students and students with special needs. ERO also reports on the quality of the school’s systems for sustaining and continuing improvements. The report answers four key questions about the school.


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

Opaki School, situated north of Masterton, is a community-focused rural school that caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Trustees, leaders and teachers are strongly committed to supporting students to be highly engaged, confident learners and achievers. Students with special needs are well integrated into school life and individually supported to achieve.
The school’s leadership structure was revised during 2014, with a new senior leadership team now in place. All staff are involved in regular professional learning and development, some of this with local schools. The development of mathematics is a current focus.
The school has a good reporting history with ERO.

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

Teachers and trustees make good use of achievement information to support student engagement, learning, planning and decision making.
Students achieve very well against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The school reports that in 2014, 93% of students were at or above the standards in mathematics and reading and 89% of students achieved at this level in writing.
A suitable range of tools are effectively used by teachers to inform their judgements of students’ achievement in relation to national standards and to gain knowledge of their next learning steps.
Teachers are beginning to use student information to reflect on the effectiveness of their teaching. They plan collaboratively to meet student needs, ensure consistency of delivery and to share effective practices. Their next step is to further develop reflective practices and deepen their understanding of ways to use student achievement data in planning classroom programmes.
Leaders use achievement information effectively to inform decision making. They identify individual and groups of students in need of additional support, put programmes in place to accelerate their learning and to track progress. The school funds teacher aides to work with these students and within junior classes. Information is also used to identify areas for staff development and school wide improvement.
Parents receive timely information about their children’s’ learning. They have regular opportunities to discuss current learning priorities with teachers. Open communication and a family-friendly environment contribute to warm relationships and learning partnerships.  

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

Opaki School’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning.
Students experience a broad curriculum that includes meaningful contexts for learning. Their participation in community-based projects is a feature of learning beyond the classroom. There is a focus on sustainability, science, the arts, physical education and sports. Senior students experience a range of opportunities to grow and demonstrate their leadership skills.
Students are well engaged in classroom activities. They are confident, articulate and express an enjoyment of school. They interact well with each other in the classroom and playground.
Students are able to speak about their learning and articulate what they are currently working on. Leaders and ERO agree a next step is to continue to strengthen student ownership of learning through ensuring goal setting is regular, monitored and shared.
Teachers articulate high expectations for students’ learning. They build on learners’ prior knowledge and adapt their teaching to the needs of students. They regularly review areas of the curriculum and consider input from students and their families. A next step for the school is to review and refine guiding curriculum documentation.
There is a strong sense of community. Teachers actively promote the school’s vision and values with learners. The school motto 'Learning for Life' is evident in families' and whānau partnerships in their children’s learning. It is also evident in the respectful relationships between students and with their teachers.
Parents and whānau are well informed on student’s achievement in and beyond the classroom.

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

Throughout 2014 the school has been well supported, by one of its Māori parents, to understand and integrate aspects of te ao Māori into the curriculum. This resulted in the creation of a metaphor for the school. Positive promotion of Māori culture and heritage is evident through units of work and the recent school production.
There is an active and growing kapa haka group. Leaders are looking to develop a junior group in response to parent wishes.
The school has identified a need to continue to evaluate the curriculum with whānau and to seek ways to strengthen opportunities for Māori students to experience success.

4. Sustainable Performance
How well placed is the school to sustain and improve its performance?

The school is very well placed to sustain and improve its performance.
Trustees are aware of their roles and responsibilities with regard to governance and the promotion of student achievement. They receive useful information to support their understanding of curriculum, programmes and student achievement. Data is well used to make decisions about resourcing. Their practices are aligned to written policies and procedures. Regular communication and consultation with the school community on aspects of school operations is evident.
The principal effectively guides the school’s development. He grows the leadership of teachers through distribution of leadership opportunities. He is proactive in ensuring continuity of programmes and that student learning and success is prioritised, celebrated and shared.
Leaders are improvement focused and have high expectations for student achievement. They identify and align staff learning needs to professional development and current school priorities. Appraisal processes have recently been revised and strengthened. Senior leaders are resourced to provide useful feedback on the quality of teaching and effectiveness of strategies used. This should support continued improvement in teaching practices.
Parents and whānau receive regular information through school, class and trustees’ community newsletters. They are active participants in their children’s learning and school activities.
Self review is regular, informed by parents’ and students’ opinions, and results in improvement. A range of mechanisms are in place to review performance within areas of school operation. Planned changes to the monitoring of progress towards annual targets, and evaluation of programmes should further strengthen the schools understanding of its effectiveness.

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.


Students at Opaki School experience a rich curriculum and achieve highly against National Standards. Teachers modify programmes to meet students’ needs and interests. Warm relationships with students support partnerships for learning. School leadership is effective and trustees are consultative. Planned strengthening and refining of some practices are next steps for improvement.
ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

22 April 2015


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