Otaika Valley School

Education institution number:
1068
School type:
Contributing
School gender:
Co-Educational
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
145
Telephone:
Address:

11 Valley View Road, Otaika Valley, Whangarei

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Otaika Valley School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report

Background

This Profile Report was written within 12 months of the Education Review Office and Otaika Valley working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see EROs website www.ero.govt.nz

Context 

Otaika Valley School caters for children from Years 1 to 6.  The rural setting supports the school’s mission statement to nurture students social, emotional, cultural, and physical development and sustain the natural environment for future generations.

Otaika Valley School is part of the Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Kāhui Ako Group 2 | Community of Learning.

Otaika Valley’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • to explore and implement refreshed curriculum through collaborative planning and authentic, broad and locally informed histories, stories and knowledge

  • to strengthen cultural capabilities and make learning relevant, authentic and effective for learners

  • to strengthen the positive culture of the school through reviewing school wide systems to meet the changing needs of learners and for children to grow up strong in their identity, language and culture

  • to develop resilience, hauora and growth mindset skills with learners to cope with an ever-changing world

  • to explore authentic learning relevant to children to ensure their learning is deep and meaningful

  • to re-establish and connect with whanau to create an Otaika Valley School community

  • to build and maintain high quality culturally responsive school/home communication that has a positive effect on outcomes for everyone

  • to maintain a sustainable PTA that has a clear vision and purpose and is well-supported.

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Otaika Valley’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how effectively the school is developing and implementing its local curriculum and culturally responsive practices to ensure learning is relevant, authentic and effective for all learners.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • to reflect cultural knowledge and skills that learners bring to the classroom and school in the local curriculum

  • to making school relevant and effective for learners through culturally responsive teaching

  • to draw on student’ cultural knowledge, life experiences, frames of reference, languages, and performance and communication styles

  • to support the school’s current wellbeing and inclusivity practices that focus on learner’s identity, language, and culture.

Strengths

The school can draw from the following strengths to support the school in its goal to evaluate how effectively the school is developing its local curriculum and its culturally responsive practices:

  • a well-established and positive school culture that promotes a feeling of acceptance and belonging

  • staff, whanau, and learners value high expectations for learning and behaviour; learners are encouraged to learn together, take risks, find fun, and care for each other

  • effective relationships with Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Kāhui Ako Group | Community of Learning schools to support the development of teacher capabilities in literacy

  • culturally responsive pedagogy and well-being strategies which promote collaboration and growth

  • a responsive approach to curriculum where students explore authentic learning contexts and staff are supported to adapt and improve their teaching to suit the needs of learners.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • strengthening collaborative planning across the school to respond effectively to the national curriculum refresh

  • developing a consistent understanding of, and links to authentic localised curriculum learning

  • continuing to develop and explore bi-cultural concepts within curriculum contexts for learning

  • embedding communication systems established through COVID to ensure authentic learning partnerships with parents and whānau

  • learners being supported to engage in authentic, in-depth learning that matters and develops the whole child.

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

16 January 2023

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.  educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Otaika Valley School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of September 2022, the Otaika Valley School, School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration

Yes

Curriculum

Yes

Management of Health, Safety and Welfare

Yes

Personnel Management

Yes

Finance

Yes

Assets

Yes

Further Information

For further information please contact Otaika Valley School School Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Filivaifale Jason Swann
Director Review and Improvement Services (Northern)
Northern Region | Te Tai Raki

16 January 2023 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement. educationcounts.govt.nz/home

Otaika Valley School - 15/12/2017

School Context

Otaika Valley School is situated just south of Whangarei. It caters for 160 children in Years 1 to 6 from the school’s rural and urban surroundings.

The school’s vision of ‘Together We Grow’ and its values of Respect, Unique, Responsibility, Up to me (RURU), are brought to life through an integrated inquiry approach, based on drama for learning. This approach aims to nurture children’s social, emotional, cultural, academic, and physical development.

Current goals and targets for improvement and learner success are focused on supporting children to achieve success in writing. This focus is being supported by a grant from the Teacher Led Innovation Fund (TLIF). Its objective is to enhance writing outcomes for Māori students through dramatic inquiry approaches and a te ao Māori lens.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • achievement in writing in reference to the TLIF objectives

  • progress and achievement of target students (twice yearly).

The school is part of the community of learning (CoL), Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Kāhui Ako Group 2.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is achieving good outcomes for all its students. The school’s achievement information shows that the majority of children, including Māori, achieve to expected levels in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Over the past three years, disparity for boys has continued in reading and writing, and there is some disparity for Māori children in mathematics and writing. Disparity for girls in mathematics has significantly reduced in 2016.

Inclusive and responsive approaches are effective in supporting children with additional learning needs. Leaders and teachers closely monitor the progress of these students, both academically and holistically. They work alongside external agencies to assist these children and their whānau.

Students achieve very well in relation to other valued outcomes, including:

  • confidence in participating in oral discussions and drama

  • showing empathy and concern for others

  • collaborative learning and decision making

  • positive attitudes to leadership opportunities.

1.2 How effectively does this school respond to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to those Māori and other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. The school continues to adapt practices to strengthen its responses.

Sound planning and assessment practices are lifting student achievement through well differentiated, personalised approaches to teaching and learning. Teachers use flexible, targeted approaches to accelerate students’ learning. The school has evidence of individual students making accelerated progress, especially those whose learning progress is being targeted for improvement.

Senior leaders are investigating better ways to document the progress of individual students, and of particular groups. They have a strategic aim to work with the CoL to align student management systems for collating and using data across the CoL, and developing a common assessment framework for Years 1 to 10.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

A culture of openness to learning is evident from the impact of professional learning and development (PLD) on teaching practice. Leaders and teachers sustain and build on previous PLD, with a particular focus on children’s active involvement in learning. As a result, children participate and learn in caring, collaborative learning communities where their interests, strengths, and needs are considered.

Teachers collaborate and strategise to support at-risk children, creating a positive staff climate of learning together. Moderating in syndicates, and in the whole team, is increasing the reliability of teachers’ decisions about students’ achievement. This collaborative approach to achievement better supports individual student’s progress and holistic development. Termly moderation meetings are also held with local schools.

Leaders and teachers have shared expectations of effective teaching practices. The principal encourages teachers to build on their capabilities and interests. Teachers are also encouraged to research and trial, and be innovative to support children’s engagement, motivation, and learning. They sustain or adapt teaching practice to promote equity and excellence for all students.

Leaders and teachers regularly reflect on the effectiveness of teaching practices and initiatives. They readily engage in PLD to develop leadership capability and collective capacity. Recent PLD helped to support teaching practices and accelerate learning in mathematics. These teaching approaches are used across curriculum areas. External expertise extends teachers’ innovative thinking, and contributes to the development of new curriculum initiatives.

Children are at the heart of leaders’, teachers’ and trustees’ learning and work. Teachers explore and use strategies to enable students to better understand their own achievement. Children also benefit from tuakana/teina relationships, and mixed ability and flexible grouping as they learn together. Parents are valued as key participants in supporting their children’s achievement and progress.

Leaders and teachers have increased the inclusion of te ao Māori in the curriculum. Focused external PLD is growing their confidence in te reo Māori. A whānau group has supported kapa haka in the school. The board and leaders are to continue seeking relevant ways to engage the Māori community.

The school’s curriculum supports students to be confident, connected, actively involved learners. The school’s vision and values underpin class programmes. The integrated inquiry approach, based on drama for learning and Mantle of the Expert, promotes the New Zealand Curriculum key competencies and a wide range of learning dispositions and language skills. Children experience authentic, practical learning, and are drawn into real life contexts using multiple strategies for learning and problem solving.

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

Senior leaders are planning a more deliberate focus on accelerating the progress of children not yet achieving to expectations. This focus includes extending the school’s planning at all levels, to more clearly target accelerated learning.

Leaders and teachers plan to review ‘assessment for learning’ practices to further support student ownership of their own progress, and make learning pathways visible. This will include developing student self reflection and evaluative skills.

The principal plans to adapt processes for appraisal to more clearly align to the Education Council requirements. With expected staff changes, senior leaders recognise the need to more deliberately build and support teacher capability in the school’s curriculum initiatives.

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.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

ERO considers that the school has the leadership capability and collective capacity to sustain and build on current good practices to support student equity and excellence in their learning.

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

  • the inclusive school culture that enables all children to feel valued

  • innovative curriculum initiatives that simulate children’s thinking and engagement

  • highly reflective leaders, and internal evaluation that guides adaptive practice

  • senior leaders’ commitment to ongoing improvement

  • teachers’ dedication to new learning and growing capability

  • leaders’ and teachers’ openness to learning that encourages new initiatives.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities include:

  • using the charter targets and proven effective teaching strategies to increase parity for specific groups and broaden accelerated learning across the curriculum

  • increasing the integration of the school’s inquiry learning approach in literacy and mathematics programmes

  • further develop performance management processes so that teachers’ improvement strategies are more directly related to their inquiry and reflection.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

15 December 2017

About the school

Location

Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1068

School type

Contributing

School roll

160

Gender composition

Girls 54% Boys 46%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
other

26%
67%
7%

Provision of Māori medium education

No

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

15 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

January 2015
August 2011
June 2008

Otaika Valley School - 16/01/2015

Findings

Otaika Valley School has a culture of care, love of learning and collaborative working relationships with parents/whānau. Students achieve well and experience a broad curriculum that fosters innovation and creative thinking. The school is well led and managed.

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

1 Context

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

Otaika Valley School, a small rural school close to Whangarei, provides good quality education for Years 1 to 6 students. Many families from outside the Otaika Valley area attend the school. Over 27 percent of students are Māori and the school has increasing numbers of students from other countries and cultures.

The school vision of ‘Together We Grow’ is highly reflected throughout the school. The school values of ‘Respect, Unique, Responsibility, Up-To-Me’ are well understood and supported by parents, teachers and students.

Otaika Valley School provides a place for everybody where a culture of care, a love of learning and collaborative working relationships with parents/whānau are embraced and honoured. Since the 2011 ERO report a significant feature of the school’s journey has been an emphasis on developing a culture of care for the environment, others and ourselves. This feature underpins all school practices and provides a strong foundation for student learning.

Students make positive transitions into school as a result of good working relationships between the school and early childhood services.

2 Learning

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

The school makes good use of achievement information to make positive changes for learners. The school’s National Standards achievement in reading and mathematics compares favourably with other schools locally and nationally. The principal and teachers have identified strategies to lift achievement in writing.

Teachers continue to refine processes to strengthen their well evidenced judgements in relation to the National Standards. They use achievement information to identify students who are underachieving and those who may require additional learning support. The principal and teachers are continuing to explore appropriate assessments that can be used by teachers and students to measure progress and identify next learning steps.

Good systems are in place for reporting to parents on student achievement. Parents are given a range of appropriate opportunities to discuss their children’s engagement, learning and progress in relation to all curriculum areas.

The school’s inclusive tone promotes high levels of student engagement in their learning. Students are confident, articulate and display a strong sense of belonging in the school. They work and interact collaboratively with their peers and are increasingly taking ownership of their own learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is effective in engaging students in learning. It aligns well with the school’s vision and values of developing caring and well balanced learners.

The curriculum offers meaningful, broad contexts for learning with an emphasis on understanding the environment, the local community and student wellbeing. Students learn about the natural rural environment and have land and sea learning experiences. Events such as Agriculture Day are integral to the school curriculum. A recent focus on the nature of science has further enhanced this learning. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for the school environment and to understand their role as kaitiaki of their world. Students also enjoy the use of the significant bike track that has been built in the school grounds.

The curriculum places a priority on thinking skills, where innovation and creativity are valued. It provides a supportive environment where attention to uniqueness is valued and enriches learning opportunities for students and staff.

The Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) framework underpins the curriculum. A consistent, shared focus around learning and behaviour encourages students to solve problems with the support of students, teachers and parents.

Professional learning has guided senior leaders and teachers in developing a new curriculum document. This initiative has encouraged teachers to reflect critically on their practice. Teachers have continued to extend their knowledge about student learning in literacy and mathematics. Senior leaders agree that teachers should continue to develop a shared understanding of effective teaching and assessment practices to enhance student learning.

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

Māori students value the school culture of care, the physical environment and the opportunities the natural surroundings offer them in their learning. They understand how the school values support their learning.

Māori students are achieving well across the school in reading and mathematics. The school’s information indicates that Māori student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is higher than other schools locally and nationally.

The principal and teachers have established positive relationships with individual whānau. They acknowledge that the school is in the early stages of building working partnerships with whānau and iwi that are focused on promoting positive outcomes for Māori students.

Senior leaders and the board acknowledge that they could develop a more strategic approach to increasing opportunities for Māori students to express their language, culture and identity.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Otaika Valley School is well placed to sustain initiatives and promote ongoing development. The principal is a highly effective leader who strategically manages school initiatives and has a clear vision for the school. Relationships between trustees and school leaders are positive and they have a strong sense of shared vision and direction.

There is a respect for traditions of the past while investing in the future. A strong focus on building family and community relationships is enabling student learning to flourish.

The board’s governance is effective. Trustees bring diverse skills and understanding to their role. Decisions are carefully considered and made collectively. The board is improvement focused and committed to serving the school community. Over recent years the board has successfully managed several property maintenance projects.

The principal and senior teachers are building a professional learning culture based on trust, sharing ideas and trialling strategies. Teachers have opportunities for leadership and are encouraged to develop their professional practice.

The school culture supports reflection, and a shared ownership of review outcomes by teachers, students and parents is evident. Sound self-review processes have been established to promote ongoing improvement.

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.

Conclusion

Otaika Valley School has a culture of care, love of learning and collaborative working relationships with parents/whānau. Students achieve well and experience a broad curriculum that fosters innovation and creative thinking. The school is well led and managed.

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

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer - Northern Northern Region

16 January 2015

About the School

Location

Otaika Valley, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number

1068

School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll

150

Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Australian

other

27%

67%

2%

4%

Review team on site

November 2014

Date of this report

16 January 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2011
June 2008
August 2005