Otautau School

Otautau School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within six months of the Education Review Office and Otautau 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


Otautau School is located in Western Southland and provides education to students in Years 1 to 8. Students come from the local village and the wider farming area. Over recent years the student population has become more culturally diverse including students for whom English is a second language.

Otautau School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are to:

  • develop academically powerful children who have a love for learning and know how to learn

  • increase the number of students achieving excellence in reading, writing and mathematics

  • develop a ‘fantastic and caring’ culture within the school where students are given the opportunity to build their understanding and knowledge of skills for learning, and how to live their values

  • promote wellbeing practices that enable all students and staff to work as a caring, inclusive and cohesive learning community.

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

ERO and the school are working together to build evaluation practice across the school using writing as a context.

The rationale for selecting this focus is:

  • leaders want to develop a shared understanding of, and a consistent approach to implementing rigorous evaluation

  • the school has identified a need to ensure parity for all to succeed.

The school expects to see consistent evaluation practices and parity of outcomes for all learners.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support it in its goal to build evaluation practice across the school using writing as a context and enable success for every learner.

  • There are positive relationships at every level of the school and with the wider community.

  • Provision is made for all students to have equitable opportunities to learn and succeed.

  • Teachers prioritise empowering students to know about and take responsibility for their learning.

  • There is a strong focus on the wellbeing of the whole child and staff.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise:

  • broadening students’ scope of experience within the mathematics and literacy curriculum

  • further strengthening the evaluation process to improve students’ achievement in writing.

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.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

28 September 2022 

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

Otautau School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2022 to 2025

As of July 2022, the Otautau School Board of Trustees has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Otautau School Board of Trustees.

The next Board of Trustees 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

28 September 2022 

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

Otautau School - 21/10/2019

School Context

Otautau School is in Western Southland. It is a full primary school catering for children in Years 1 to 8. There are 174 children on the roll, including 18% who identify as Māori.

The school states that its vision is for ‘Tau learning in the 21st century’. Its valued outcomes, described as ‘Tau competencies’, are for children to be friendly, thinkers, active and managers. The strategic aims of the school are focused on wellbeing, competencies and learning.

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

  • reading, writing and STEAM (science, technology, arts and mathematics)
  • learners with additional needs, including gifted and talented learners
  • progress against wellbeing and engagement indicators.

Since the 2016 ERO review teachers have participated in Ministry of Education funded professional learning on digital technologies, literacy and wellbeing.

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 progressively achieving equitable and excellent outcomes in learning, engagement and wellbeing.

The majority of students are achieving at or above the school’s expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and STEAM subjects. Over time achievement levels in writing have improved. In 2016 and 2017 girls achieved at higher rates than boys in literacy.

The school’s wellbeing and engagement information shows that a recent school-wide focus on building students’ social and emotional competencies has improved outcomes for students in these areas.

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

The school effectively responds to those students whose learning needs acceleration. Students are identified, a range of individualised interventions are put in place, and their progress is regularly monitored by teachers.

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?

Students participate and learn in a caring, collaborative and inclusive community. They are involved in creating an environment that develops their learning and wellbeing. They know and enact the ‘Tau’ competencies and have opportunity to experience leadership and service. Leaders and teachers have established clear and consistent social expectations that are designed to support teaching and learning. This has been achieved through establishing effective systems for monitoring student engagement and wellbeing, and building a community-wide understanding of behaviours that are celebrated at the school. Transitions into, through and beyond school are proactively managed. The holistic development of each child is the core strategic intent of the school.

The learner is at the centre of curriculum design and decision making. Active engagement in learning is encouraged, and students develop an understanding of themselves as learners. Trustees, leaders and teachers ensure sufficient and equitable opportunities are in place for all students to learn and make progress. Clearly defined curriculum progressions and assessment rubrics provide scaffolded learning and indicators of progress. Leaders and teachers use achievement information as the basis of their professional conversations to decide next steps for improvement. Students are confident and competent learners.

Targeted professional learning builds teacher capability to respond to the diverse needs of learners. The school proactively identifies and draws on community resources and outside agencies to enhance student learning and social experiences. Leaders offer multiple opportunities for students, whānau and the community to have an input into the school’s direction, and to share their aspirations for learning and wellbeing.

Internal evaluation supports knowledge building across all aspects of the school’s strategic priorities. The process is systematic and coherent and draws on a range of valid data that is scrutinised by the board, leaders and teachers to decide priorities for improvement.

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

Leaders have identified, and ERO agrees, that refining the school’s local curriculum to ensure they have prepared all students to be 21st century learners is a next step in their strategic development. This should include incorporating a bicultural focus as well as reflecting the languages and identities of all cultures represented at the school.

Trustees and leaders need to more regularly analyse and report on the effectiveness of the learning programmes they have implemented. This would lead to a more thorough understanding of what makes the greatest difference for all learners, and more clearly inform resourcing decisions.

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance 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:

  • well-considered programmes that meet the holistic needs of each child
  • a future-focused strategic direction that includes the aspirations of students, trustees, teachers, whānau and community
  • systematic and coherent review of strategic priorities that lead to continual improvement.

Next steps

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

  • developing a curriculum that responds better to the local context, and students’ languages and cultures
  • refining processes for more regularly analysing the impact of resourcing decisions on each child’s achievement and progress.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

21 October 2019

About the school


Otautau, Southland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 50%, Girls 50%

Ethnic composition

Māori 18%
NZ European/Pākehā 70%
Asian 8%
Other 4%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

21 October 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review December 2016
Education Review December 2013
Education Review November 2010