Ngongotaha School

Education institution number:
School type:
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

22 School Road, Ngongotaha, Rotorua

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Ngongotaha School - 21/12/2016

1 Context

Ngongotaha School is located in the Ngongotaha Village, close to Rotorua. Over 50% of the roll of 384 is Māori, many of whom whakapapa to te iwi ō Te Arawa. The school includes three rumaki Māori and 13 English medium classrooms. Many families and teachers have generational links to the school. A new assistant principal was appointed in 2015 and the majority of staff are long standing in the school. The board of trustees (BoT) is a mixture of experienced and newly elected members.

The school is in the establishment phase of Te Maru o Ngongotaha community of learning. In addition, the rumaki teachers have established a professional network with other kura rumaki in the area.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to be confident and connected, lifelong learners. The school's whakataukī is 'Iti rearea teitei kahikatea ka taea - aim high, stand proud'. This is supported by the values (tauke) of growth, respect, equality, achievement and trust (GREAT).

The school’s achievement information from 2013 to 2015 shows that there has been an increase in the overall achievement of Māori children in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori are achieving comparably to other children in the school in writing and slightly lower in reading and mathematics.

In rumaki, Ngā Whanaketanga from 2013 to 2015 shows that there has been a steady increase in the overall achievement of Māori children in pānui and pāngarau. Tuhituhi remains the area of concern.

The school reports that achievement information from 2013 to 2015 for all other children shows achievement is tracking upwards in reading and writing. Levels have been maintained in mathematics.

Teachers work collaboratively, using a range of evidence and their professional knowledge, to make overall judgements about children's achievement levels in relation to National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has taken the following actions to improve outcomes for children:

  • implemented the Ministry of Education initiative for positive behaviour for learning (PB4L)
  • Te Marau ā Kura development and implementation of a localised, contextual curriculum based on kaupapa Māori histories, marae and iwi
  • established a Māori student achievement team
  • implemented an oral language programme for children in the junior school, jointly funded by the school and Ngāti Whakaue
  • participated in focused professional learning and development to build teachers' capability in raising children's achievement.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding well to Māori children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Leaders have developed highly effective systems to identify Māori children at risk of not achieving equitable outcomes. Annual targets are set for rumaki and English medium children to raise the achievement levels of identified groups in reading, writing and mathematics.

Interim data for 2016 shows, of the targeted Māori children in mainstream classes, 11 of the 21 made accelerated progress in reading and 17 of the 27 in writing. Some have made accelerated progess in mathematics. Reducing the disparity between Māori and other children is an ongoing area for improvement.

In 2016 in rumaki, tamariki are achieving at high levels across all stages in pānui and pāngarau. Children at risk of underachieving in tuhituhi and korero-a-waha are being closely monitored and data clearly indicates progress over time. The acceleration of Māori boys' achievement needs to be an ongoing priority.

The school assesses children on entry to identify those who need additional support. Leaders and teachers have prioritised the importance of building a strong foundation in oral language. This also applies in rumaki, with children's competency in te reo Māori and whānau capability to support their tamariki at home being effectively addressed. The Ngāti Whakaue oral language development programme is successfully supporting a significant number of children and having a positive impact on their literacy and mathematics achievement.

Leaders and the Māori student achievement team have integrated Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, into the expectations for teaching and learning across the school. Teachers are culturally responsive and have established positive relationships with children. Some teachers have developed successful partnerships with parents and whānau, including providing useful resources and strategies to support learning at home. These practices are having a positive effect on Māori children whose learning needs acceleration.

Teachers use a range of assessment information to plan programmes that consider children's interests, strengths and needs. They closely monitor individual children's progress and discuss effective strategies together. Teachers inquire into their practice in relation to accelerating Māori student achievement. Mentoring and coaching is provided by leaders in the Māori student achievement team. These strategies are supporting teachers to use effective practices to engage Māori children in learning and to raise achievement.

The school has developed a Poutama Tau framework and exemplars, to assist teachers and children in rumaki to better understand learning progressions. A similar framework and system is being used for Māori children in English medium classes. Children are able to identify their achievement and next steps, enabling them to take more responsibility for their own learning.

Children in the middle and senior classrooms have well developed skills for taking responsibility for their own learning. They confidently monitor their own progress in reading, writing and mathematics and are able to identify and plan for their next learning steps. 

How effectively does this school respond to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school is responding effectively to other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Teachers use the same effective systems they use with Māori to identify and respond to children whose learning needs acceleration. There are comprehensive tools for monitoring the progress of targeted children. Teachers regularly meet in teams to share successful teaching strategies to motivate and engage children in their learning. Team leaders need to continue monitoring the consistency in the analysis of assessments to inform targeted teaching and learning.

At this time in 2016, half of the targeted children had made accelerated progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

Leaders set annual targets to raise achievement levels in reading, writing and mathematics. The next step is to focus target goals on children whose learning needs to be accelerated, addressing disparities beween cohorts of children and giving consideration to ethnicity and gender achievement information. It is important for the BoT to receive interim reports about how target children are tracking towards National Standards and Ngā Whanaketanga to establish how effective the school has been in accelerating the progress of these learners.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and targets for equity and excellence?

The school's curriculum and other organisational processes and practices effectively develop and enact the school's vision and values. The school places priority on working towards providing equitable outcomes for all children.

A significant feature of the school is the implementation of Te Marau ā Kura, a localised curriculum developed in consultation with iwi and whānau. This focuses on developing cultural understanding across the school of Ngongotahatanga that values culture, te reo and tikanga Māori practices. There is a strong emphasis on educational achievement and success. This authentic learning programme supports all children's engagement, confidence and sense of self and identity in a cultural and local context.

Children are confident and highly engaged in their learning. A strong sense of belonging is fostered with children, their families and the wider Ngongotaha community. Children participate and learn in a caring, inclusive environment, where their successes are affirmed and celebrated. They benefit from a range of extra-curricular activities and leadership opportunities that foster tuakana-teina relationships. All children, including those who need additional support with their learning, benefit from the settled and positive culture of the school.

The school has worked hard to develop constructive relationships with contributing early childhood centres and kohanga reo. These relationships are supporting a smooth transition from preschool and is complemented by a Great Start programme for children about to start school. There is a considered approach to classroom placement to cater to children's needs and interests, and teachers' strengths. 

Leaders regularly evaluate the impact of interventions designed to bring about positive changes for learners and make appropriate changes to respond to the current needs of children. The school regularly reviews curriculum areas to check what is happening in classrooms. These reviews should be strengthened by evaluating the quality, effectiveness and value of classroom programmes and delivery.

Leaders and teachers are building a culture of inquiry to critically review their capabilities in accelerating children's progress. This culture supports leaders' decisions about targeted professional development to further strengthen collective capacity. The effective appraisal system is focused on improving practice and outcomes for children.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Current strengths are:

  • leaders are effectively focused on children's wellbeing and achievement
  • children have a strong sense of belonging and connection to the school, whānau, iwi and the community
  • the contextualized curriculum, Te Marau ā Kura o Te Whānau Maunga o Ngongotaha, developed in consultation with whānau and iwi.

The school recognises the need to:

  • set specific charter targets that identify cohorts of children in need of acceleration
  • regularly report the progress of these target children to trustees
  • ensure consistency in the analysis of assessment information to inform targeted teaching and learning across the school
  • strengthen curriculum review for continual improvement and innovation.

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

6 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 the following:

  • board administration

  • curriculum

  • management of health, safety and welfare

  • personnel management

  • 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

  • processes for appointing staff

  • stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

  • attendance

  • compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

7 Recommendation

ERO recommends that the principal continues to work with trustees, teachers and the school community to address the next steps identified in this report. 

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

21 December 2016 

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 51% Boys 49%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

21 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2012

September 2008

August 2005


Ngongotaha School - 10/04/2012

1 Context

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

Ngongotaha School is located in Ngongotaha Village, a short distance from Rotorua. It has a roll of 327 students in Years 1 to 6, approximately two thirds of whom are identified as of Māori descent. The school is located in large, well-maintained grounds that include a well-equipped library/ information centre, whare and new astroturf court area. These facilities, along with a wide range of high-quality resources and equipment, are well used by students and teachers to enhance teaching and learning opportunities. The environment is planned to enable students to be productively engaged in cooperative, independent and supervised play, challenge their physical skills and have fun.

The school has successfully established an inclusive culture where there are high expectations for learning and behaviour. The environment is welcoming and students engage with teachers and adults in a polite and respectful manner. Student behaviour is managed positively and effectively. Students and whānau place a high value on sports, and a school-based sports facilitator provides additional support for students to develop sporting skills and attitudes.

The school enjoys strong links and partnerships with local marae, with which many staff and students have close connections. Three rumaki classes provide a high-quality Māori language total immersion learning programme for 42 students. Students in these rooms demonstrate a strong sense of belonging, experience success as Māori and add a valuable dimension to a school-wide environment that affirms and celebrates te reo me ona tikanga Māori. The partnership with Ngati Whakaue iwi is strengthened through an iwi-funded initiative that is providing targeted support for students requiring assistance with literacy and mathematical learning.

Students with additional learning needs have these needs comprehensively addressed through a range of targeted interventions, support from teacher aides, and the involvement of external experts, to provide the best possible outcomes for students and families.

Useful links have been established with local early education providers and a useful transition-to-school programme is in place.

2 Learning

How well are students learning – engaging, progressing and achieving?

Achievement information is gathered and analysed by the school using a range of appropriate nationally referenced assessment tools. This information shows that many students enter school with low levels of literacy and numeracy. Data gathered after one year indicates accelerated progress, by which time patterns of student achievement are consistent with national expectations. Additional data gathered as students move through the school shows that they continue to make good progress in literacy and mathematics.

School leaders use achievement information to set meaningful targets to raise student achievement. Trustees receive extensive information about student achievement, including trends and patterns over time. With this data, they are able to determine overall programme effectiveness, make appropriate resourcing decisions and monitor achievement targets throughout the year.

Teachers have worked hard to make overall teacher judgements about each student’s achievement in relation to the relevant National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. They have made these judgements using a combination of nationally referenced tests and ongoing observations of student learning behaviour. Data collated by the school shows that a sizeable majority of students is achieving at and above National Standards.

Students and teachers enjoy mutually respectful relationships. Classrooms are settled and students appreciate the high levels of care and commitment to their well-being that is shown by teachers, teacher aides and school leaders.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need to continually revisit and refine data management strategies, particularly assessment practices for the moderation of student writing samples. This refinement is likely to provide management and teachers with more useful school-wide data and further build on teachers’ professional learning.

How well does the school promote Māori student success and success as Māori?

The school has established strong links with the local community and Māori families. A whānau group meets regularly to discuss educational and community events and reinforce the close ties that families have with the school. Teachers from the rumaki classes and the principal are included in this group, which confidently supports the achievement and engagement of Māori students. Trustees, school leaders, staff and school whānau value the strong and vibrant Māori dimension that this community partnership entails.

The school successfully promotes Māori student engagement with learning, along with a wide range of academic, sporting and cultural opportunities. Assessment information gathered by the school shows that while Māori girls achieve as well as, in some cases better than, other groups of students in the school, the achievement of Māori boys continues to present a challenge.

Inclusive classroom and playground environments, and the additional sporting and cultural opportunities, contribute to a school where Māori students are proud, successful and valued members of the school community.

3 Curriculum

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

The school curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It was developed following widespread consultation and recent review. This development has resulted in a redesigned document that includes:

  • strong reflection of the uniqueness of the school
  • a focus on an inclusive Māori dimension
  • an holistic approach to teaching and learning
  • the intention to provide authentic, contextually relevant learning experiences for students
  • an integrated school-wide approach based on Taonga (treasure)
  • a broad curriculum with a focus on reading, writing and mathematics
  • teacher and student use of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance learning
  • school-wide use of a framework that enables staff to set and share learning criteria, which students are able to monitor.

Teachers use achievement information to plan to meet the learning needs of individual students. A wide range of effective instructional strategies is used throughout the school to invite students’ interests, challenge their thinking and extend their knowledge and understanding. Teachers know students and their families well and, as a result, are able to provide additional support for individuals when needs are identified.

In classrooms, teacher aides work alongside teachers to address the needs of students with moderate and severe learning needs. The inclusion of these students as valued learners is a feature of the school. Programmes for these students are carefully prepared with additional support and oversight from relevant educational sector experts.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

A culture of reflection and review, using a range of formal and informal review mechanisms, has contributed to the establishment of a school that is responsive to the needs of its community, and committed to providing the best possible educational outcomes for students.

Highly effective professional leadership by the principal is ensuring clear direction, a sense of stability and purpose for the school. She is highly regarded by staff and families and maintains a high profile amongst students in the playground and classrooms.

Trustees bring extensive background knowledge about the school and local community. They are focused on improving outcomes for students. Close links with the Ngongotaha community, historical links with the school and the focus on continual improvement, put the school in a strong position to sustain and improve its performance.

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
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Makere Smith National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

10 April 2012

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)



School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition

NZ Māori

NZ European/Pākehā


Other European







Special Features

Level One Māori Immersion Classes 3

Review team on site

February 2012

Date of this report

10 April 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

September 2008

August 2005

June 2002