ERO report critical of Otepoti

The Secretary for Education has again intervened at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Otepoti, in Sunnyvale, following another damning report from the Education Review Office (ERO).

A review published recently found the school's 21 pupils were disadvantaged learners, they did not receive high quality education, they were not provided with sufficient opportunities to develop free, open and inquiring minds, and pupils do not use the Maori language "confidently or appropriately".

Some of the positive aspects found by the reviewer were that pupils were aware of their identity and displayed care and consideration for others, they were learning about their whanau, hapu and iwi, and they were given some opportunities to learn about themselves inside and outside the school.

However, the overall quality of education pupils received did not provide them with sufficient opportunities to engage with learning.

It is not the first time the Ministry of Education has intervened in the school's operations in the past 10 years.

The Secretary for Education intervened under Section 7A of the Education Act 1989 in 2001, when an ERO report found the school was failing to deliver quality education and the board of trustees was having difficulty governing.

Ministry support to improve the issues was withdrawn in 2002, and while subsequent ERO reports have found there had been some improvements, they still held concerns for the school's operations and quality of education.

A Ministry of Education spokesman said the ministry had been in discussion with the school and support had been provided in the form of board of trustees training, support from the School Trustees Association and the Schools Support Services.

Since ERO visited the school in October last year, there had been a change of principal and the ministry was now in discussion with the board to determine the level of support needed to address the issues identified in the ERO report.

Attempts by the Otago Daily Times to contact Principal Luckie Herewini and board of trustees chairwoman Eliza Burke for comment failed.

The establishment of Kura Kaupapa Maori schools followed a 1971 report by researcher Richard Benton which showed the Maori language was in a critical "near-death" stage.

By the 1980s, Maori communities were so concerned by the loss of Maori language, knowledge and culture that they took matters into their own hands and set up their own learning institutions at preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary levels.


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