Otamarakau School

Otamarakau School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report 


This Profile Report was written within 14 months of the Education Review Office and Otamarakau School 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


Otamarakau School, located in the Western Bay of Plenty, provides education for students in Years 0 to 8. The whānau-focused school embraces its rural context and actively promotes its AROHA values: Awesome, Respect, Ownership, Honesty and Active Learner.

Otamarakau School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • Curriculum development - implement an innovative, localised curriculum that is personalised to the needs and interests of our learners
  • Learning support - support and provide learning opportunities for all learners
  • Cultural responsiveness - enhance all students’ sense of belonging to Ngāti Mākino and support them to become confident with te reo Māori and in te ao Māori settings
  • Wellbeing - build resilience within Otamarakau School.

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

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate how effectively the school’s localised curriculum is strengthening student engagement in learning, confidence in their culture, language and identity, and learning outcomes.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is the need to:

  • develop a more relevant curriculum that supports students to feel confident in their language, culture and identity 
  • enact responsibilities under Te Tiriti o Waitangi to support all learners to engage in the curriculum.

The school expects to see

  • the development of a curriculum around contexts in which Ngāti Mākino knowledge, stories and histories are embedded, and which normalises Māori tikanga and language in everyday school life
  • increased professional capability in te ao Māori and Ngāti Mākinotanga supporting the effective delivery of the localised curriculum
  • increased student engagement in learning, and confidence in their language, culture and identity leading to more equitable student achievement outcomes.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to implement a localised curriculum:

  • clearly articulated values which are shared with the school’s supportive, rural community
  • strong ties to the Te Puke Kāhui and Ngāti Mākino
  • systems and practices to ensure that students with diverse needs are well supported
  • the professional capability to adapt curriculum and teaching to meet the interests and needs of learners.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • continuing to develop the localised curriculum in consultation with Ngāti Mākino and whānau
  • investing in professional development opportunities to build teacher capacity in te reo, tikanga and Ngāti Mākinotanga
  • evaluating and refining the curriculum in response to learner outcomes and stakeholder voice.

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

7 February 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

Otamarakau School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2023 to 2026

As of May 2023, the Otamarakau School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Actions for Compliance

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

  • a police vet had not been obtained every three years for every person, contractor or employee who works at the school

[Education and Training Act 2020, Schedule 4]

The board has since addressed the areas of non-compliance identified.

Further Information

For further information please contact Otamarakau 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.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

7 February 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

Otamarakau School - 10/12/2019

School Context

Otamarakau School is a small rural school south east of Te Puke catering for Years 1 to 8 students. The school roll of 78, including 37 students who identify as Māori, has increased since the 2016 ERO evaluation. Its vision statement, ‘a country school with a view to the future’, encourages ‘creative thinking and high expectations’. The school’s graduate profile and values relate to awesome, respect, ownership, honesty, and active learners.

Since ERO’s 2016 evaluation there has been significant changes of staff, a new principal has been appointed, and the majority of the board are new. Trustees have undertaken training related to their roles. Professional learning and development for leaders and teachers has included cultural responsiveness, play-based learning, and writing. The school is participating in the Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative.

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

  • reading, writing mathematics.

Otamarakau School is part of the Te Puke Kahui Ako.

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 equity and excellence. Student achievement data for 2018 shows that most students achieved at or above expected levels for reading and the majority of students for writing, and mathematics. Māori students are achieving better than other students in reading and similar for writing and mathematics. Student achievement information from 2016 to 2018 shows consistent results for all groups of learners in reading, and a decrease in achievement in writing and mathematics. In 2018 ERO was unable to accurately ascertain student achievement levels for gender cohort.

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

The school is working towards accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need it. Leaders and teachers monitor and track individual data to show rates of progress in reading, writing and mathematics. They are able to show accelerated progress for many targeted students including Māori.

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?

The school is providing a broad curriculum with an appropriate focus on reading, writing and mathematics. A range of culturally responsive practices foster Māori students’ language, culture and identity. Students have a range of leadership opportunities across the school and tuakana-teina relationships are evident in multi-level classes. Learners relate well to meaningful contexts and are engaged in a variety of academic, cultural, sporting and education outside the classroom learning experiences.

The teaching team work effectively to assist students to be actively engaged in their learning. Teachers know students and whānau well and plan appropriate programmes to accelerate student learning. They are involved in ongoing purposeful reflections and relevant professional discussions related to effective teaching strategies. ERO observed te reo and tikanga Māori effectively embedded in classroom programmes. Te ao Māori is integrated into learning and teaching in ways that affirm the identity and culture of Maori learners and whānau.

Leaders and the board are working collaboratively and effectively to provide an environment that promotes student learning and wellbeing. Leaders are establishing a cohesive teaching team who prioritise student learning and achievement with a focus on the acceleration of priority students. They provide opportunity for relevant professional development to build teacher capability.

Staff continue to maintain a welcoming, family-like learning environment. Parents/whānau, spoken to by ERO, value the approachability of staff, and feel well informed about their children’s progress and achievement. The SENCO, (special education needs coordinator), actively engages with whānau, specialist support agencies and external experts to provide wrap-around pastoral and learning support for those students who need it. Students learn in an inclusive environment where diversity and difference are valued.

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 school agree that further priorities are to:

  • formalise a localised curriculum that reflects the principles of the New Zealand Curriculum
  • review the school charter including annual targets focused on accelerating the achievement of all at-risk students in reading, writing and mathematics
  • build teacher capabilities to ensure students are able to articulate their progress, celebrate achievement and identify next learning steps.

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 Otamarakau School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • leadership and trustees working together to provide an environment that promotes student learning and wellbeing
  • culturally responsive practices that foster Māori students’ language, culture and identity
  • an inclusive environment that values diversity and difference.

Next steps

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

  • formalising a localised curriculum to reflect school priorities
  • reviewing the school charter including annual targets to focus on accelerating the achievement of all at-risk students
  • building students’ assessment and ‘learning to learn’ capabilities to foster independent learning.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

10 December 2019

About the school

LocationTe Puke
Ministry of Education profile number1872
School typeFull Primary (Years 1 to 8)
School roll78 students
Gender compositionMale 43 Female 35
Ethnic compositionMāori 37 
NZ European/Pākehā 36
Other 5
Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)No
Provision of Māori medium educationNo
Review team on siteOctober 2019
Date of this report10 December 2019
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review August 2016
Education Review September 2013
Education Review November 2007