Opotiki College

Ōpōtiki College

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within 22 months of the Education Review Office and Ōpōtiki College 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 ERO’s website. www.ero.govt.nz


Ōpōtiki College, located in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, provides education for students in Years 9 to 13. The school offers both English and Māori medium education and strives to promote a whānau-focused learning environment.

Ōpōtiki College’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are to:

  • provide every student with an inclusive, supportive and responsive learning environment that supports individual student success
  • employ quality teachers and build their teacher and leader capability for delivering quality learning and assessment programmes
  • collaboratively grow relational trust and partnerships between the school, teachers, students and their whānau
  • build and maintain close connections with whānau, hapū, iwi.

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

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate the extent to which leaders and teachers are collaboratively pursuing improved student engagement, retention and achievement.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is:

  • Leadership is yet to build relational trust and collaboration at every level of the school community to achieve the strategic vision and improvement goals.
  • Many learners are not achieving and progressing well against national benchmarks.  Retention, engagement and achievement shows significant inequity for groups of learners, that has continued over time. 

The school expects to see increased student retention, engagement and achievement as a result of improvements to: 

  • leadership – to make informed and evidence-based decisions for improvement
  • communication and positive professional relationships schoolwide
  • the quality of teaching practice, so that it is responsive and consistently meets the needs of the learners.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support goals to improve retention, engagement and achievement:

  • partnerships with whānau and iwi in some parts of the school support student connection and engagement
  • students and whānau experience strong, positive relationships with teachers.

Rumaki/Bilingual Outcomes and Condition to Support Learners

Tauira outcomes
  • Tauira are engaged in meaningful learning that reflects their unique environment.
  • The progression of year 9 and 10 tauira overtime is reflected in Level One NCEA data.
  • Tauira are confident communicators and learners of te reo Māori.
Conditions to support learners
  • Kaiako use a range of curriculum documents to personalise programs of learning.
  • Consistent tracking of student achievement data informs the allocation of targeted support.
  • A strong partnership with Te Whakatōhea supports tauira learning opportunities and pathways.
Priorities for Improvement
  • Formalise the local curriculum and deliberately plan so that it informs programmes of learning.
  • Use of valid assessment tools for year 9 and 10.
  • Develop educational relationships with local schools to strengthen kaiako capability.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise: 

  • clearly outlining the collective roles, responsibilities, timeframes and accountabilities within the improvement plan
  • establishing outcomes and success measures to support effective monitoring of progress towards improving learners’ success
  • building collective knowledge, understanding and implementation of effective teaching practice
  • aligning professional learning opportunities, teacher collaboration and inquiry with the school’s improvement goals and student needs.

ERO has concerns about

  • the quality of schoolwide leadership to strategically drive the changes necessary to improve learner outcomes, build effective teaching practice and develop responsive learning partnerships
  • schoolwide attendance
  • the significant underachievement for learners, including retention of learners to NCEA Level 2.   


An improvement plan has been developed by the Principal that identifies key drivers for change needed to improve learner outcomes, build effective teaching practice and develop responsive learning partnerships. This needs to be strengthened to ensure intended outcomes, progress milestones and required shifts in practice are deliberately included for accountability and improvement.

ERO request that the Secretary for Education considers intervention under section 171 of the Education and Training Act 2020 in order to bring about improvements in leadership of learning, strategic and annual planning, student retention, engagement and achievement. 

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. 

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

11 April 2024 

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

Opotiki College

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2023 to 2026

As of November 2023, the Ōpōtiki College Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Actions for Compliance

Some physical spaces in the school have been deemed to be unsafe for use (by WorkSafe) and the school board is taking all reasonable steps to prevent access. Remediation of one space is now underway.

ERO and the board have identified the following areas of non-compliance during the board assurance process: 

  • ensured that parents and caregivers, students, school staff and the school community know about the school’s policies on student distress and the use of physical restraint 
    [s101 Education and Training Act 2020]
  • ensured that the Guidelines issued by the Secretary of Education, in relation to physical restraint, are made available to the school community.
    [s101 Education and Training Act 2020]
  • has not given particular regard to the NELP and therefore has not met the primary objectives as outlined in the Act. [s5 Education and Training Act 2020]
  • complied with the requirement to adopt a statement on the delivery of the health curriculum, at least once in every two years, after consultation with the school community.
    [s91 Education and Training Act 2020].

The board has not yet addressed the areas of non-compliance identified.

Further Information

For further information please contact Ōpōtiki College, 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.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

11 April 2024  

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

Opotiki College - 16/08/2019


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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Ōpōtiki College is a coeducational secondary school catering for students in Years 9 to 15 from Ōpōtiki and surrounding areas. There are 353 students on the roll of whom 86% are Māori, the majority of these learners whakapapa to Te Whakatōhea.

A strong partnership exists with Te Whakatōhea. Clear strategic goals outline the college’s and iwi plans to support improving progress and achievement, wellbeing, engagement and participation of students. This positive partnership with Whakatōhea is also supporting the revitalisation of Maurua, the Māori immersion programmes, at the college.   

Trustees and leaders have remained in their roles since the 2017 ERO review. A Maurua representative has been co-opted onto the board to be a direct representative for the whānau. There has continued to be changes in teaching and administrative staff.

The school’s vision empowers students to be connected students and confident citizens. The charter outlines aims for students to achieve National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2, or equivalent and have a pathway upon leaving the school, raise the levels of attendance and for Māori students to enjoy and achieve success as Māori.

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

  • achievement and progress schoolwide
  • student engagement
  • wellbeing of staff and students
  • community partnerships extending learners’ cultures, languages, identities and meaningful pathways
  • participation in initiatives and programmes responding to student strengths, needs and interests.

The school is an active member of the Ōpōtiki Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development
  • continuing to establish a coherent and authentic curriculum
  • building leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of the effective use of data to accelerate students’ progress and achievement
  • extending leadership capability across the school
  • school-wide understanding of effective internal evaluation.
Continuing to establish a coherent and authentic curriculum is required.

The college’s education leadership team works collaboratively with the senior leadership team to localise the school’s curriculum, raise student achievement and enhance students’ wellbeing. This is leading to:

  • improved engagement of learners in meaningful programmes for learning, especially the availability of purposeful pathways for learners in the senior school
  • the identification and prioritisation of improvements for consistency and quality of teaching practice
  • extending teachers’ knowledge and use of effective planning for appropriate programmes to engage and motivate learners
  • ongoing observations and professional conversations to monitor how well new expectations are implemented and where further support is needed.

Leaders’ and teachers’ knowing and understanding culturally responsive and relational pedagogy has contributed to positive shifts in teaching practice. The environment and programmes for learners that reflects tangata whenua and the dual heritage of Aotearoa schoolwide, has significantly improved. Supportive transition processes and programmes for students entering and leaving the school, alongside Whakatōhea, are promoting positive learning behaviours, increasing students’ pride in the school and their better understanding of the school values. Connections with whānau and the community are deepening.

A more collegial and collaborative leadership and teaching team, focused on improving practice to better meet the needs of learners, is contributing to an improving school culture. The ongoing strengthening of processes that promote student wellbeing is supporting engagement and participation in learning programmes. Celebrating success schoolwide and acknowledging achievement continues to enhance learners’ confidence and enjoyment of learning.

Strategically managed professional development is improving the way teachers use achievement information, to plan for and assess student learning. Implementation of a clear framework and vision is providing a strong foundation for the localised and meaningful curriculum for Years 9 to 13.

Building leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of the effective use of data to accelerate students’ progress and achievement.

Most students achieve National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2. These rates, alongside University Entrance (UE) have improved since 2017, especially for Māori learners. Māori and New Zealand European/Pākehā achieve at comparable rates for UE. The disparity has narrowed for Māori learners in NCEA Level 1, 3 and in UE, but is widening at NCEA Level 2. Significant disparity between males and females achievement still remains. The number of students leaving school in Year 11 and 12 has decreased, and more students are leaving having achieved NCEA Level 2.

Strategies and interventions used to accelerate the progress and achievement for learners in Years 9 and 10 have been effective in reading. They have also been effective for Year 10 students in science.

Robust processes for tracking, monitoring and mentoring of senior students have increased learner engagement and participation. More comprehensive achievement information is being gathered and analysed for students in Years 9 and 10 to show progress and achievement across these years.

Staff are more openly sharing practice. They are becoming more skilled and focused at inquiring into their practice to deepen their understanding of the impact of their teaching on targeted learners. They are regularly discussing professional learning and are working together to improve their response to at-risk learners.

Extending leadership capability across the school.

Strong and purposeful leadership is raising expectations for teaching and learning. The principal successfully prioritised changes and persevered with actions to bring about improvements for students. Decisions are now proactive and centre on improving outcomes for every student.

The school’s operating model has been reviewed and restructured to distribute leadership more productively, encourage diversity, increased transparency and enable more teacher involvement in leading and decision making. Roles and responsibilities of leadership have been clearly defined, which is strengthening lines of communication and accountability across the school.

School-wide understanding of effective internal evaluation.

Trustees are confident in their roles and responsibilities, and are focused on supporting and raising outcomes for students. The principal keeps them well informed about students’ progress, achievement, participation and information of developments towards strategic goals.

Leaders effectively combine findings from internal and external evaluation to drive improvements. The school has been highly responsive to an external review of the Year 9 and 10 curriculum. This clearly identified significant planning and teaching issues contributing to poor student engagement.

Considerable informal evaluation has occurred during the development of new systems and processes. Ongoing teaching observations, self and colleague reflections contribute to a rigorous teacher appraisal system. Carefully timed professional development is aligned with the introduction of new appraisal expectations and processes.

Problem solving and inquiry is deepening knowledge of what is working and why. Evidence of effective evaluation is increasing schoolwide. Information from evaluation is now appropriately informing change and improvement.

Key next steps

For ongoing improvement, leaders have prioritised to continue to:

  • rigorously implement and monitor the quality of teaching and learning to improve consistence, accountability and student participation
  • accelerate students’ progress through:
    • supporting teachers to enable students to understand their learning, achievement and next steps

    • extending teachers’ knowledge and understanding of curriculum levels to deepen acceleration of progress and achievement.
  • develop understanding of the effective use of data to know and show the impact strategies and initiatives have on accelerating progress and achievement for individuals and groups of learners at risk
  • identify indicators of success for systems, processes and initiatives to strengthen effective internal evaluation.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

Ōpōtiki College continues to develop and sustain its performance. Factors contributing to sustainability are:

  • professional leadership which provides a well-considered approach to change and improvement that has grown a positive school culture
  • meaningful connections with iwi and community stakeholders that are enriching opportunities for students to be confident, connected and actively involved with their local environment
  • processes that support student wellbeing that actively respond to their needs and promote high expectations for all
  • a capable and responsive board that is supporting equitable outcomes for all learners
  • strong leadership across the school that is growing capability and capacity to improve practice.

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
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.


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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

16 August 2019

About the School

Ministry of Education profile number148
School typeSecondary (Years 9 to 13)
School roll353
Gender compositionFemale 53% Male 47%
Ethnic compositionMāori 
NZ European/Pākehā
Special FeaturesBilingual immersion classes (Years 9 - 13)
Review team on siteMay 2019
Date of this report16 August 2019
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review 
Education Review 
Education Review
January 2018
October 2014
June 2010