Puketapu School (New Plymouth)

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

Dillon Drive, Bell Block, New Plymouth

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School Context

Puketapu School, New Plymouth caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 357 learners enrolled 43% identify as Māori, 4% are of Pacific heritage and 4% Indian. The school has experienced significant roll growth since the 2016 ERO review.

The school vision statement of ‘Empowering All People to be Healthy LifeLong Learners’ is underpinned by the values of kia kaha – do your best, kia māia – be courageous and kia manawanui – have a heart.

The school’s strategic aims are focused on ako, nurturing hauora, honouring Te Tiriti and sustainability. Its annual student achievement target for 2018 focused on improving learning outcomes for students in mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for target students in mathematics.

Almost all staff members, including the leadership team, have been employed since the May 2016 ERO review, with many being new in 2019. The principal was appointed in Term 4 2016.

The school is involved in professional development in mathematics and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

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 has yet to achieve equity and excellence for all its students.

Achievement data shows a small majority of all students achieve at expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Less than half of Māori learners achieve at expectations in literacy and less than half of boys achieve their expected curriculum level in writing.

There is disparity for Māori, who achieve below their peers in literacy and mathematics. The achievement of boys is significantly below that of girls in literacy.

Learners with additional needs are appropriately identified, their needs recognised and programmes of support put in place. External expertise effectively supports this provision.

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

Those students who are at risk of not achieving expected levels are identified, monitored and well known by teachers and leaders.

School-presented achievement data shows that there has been success in improving progress for some students within targeted programmes. Establishing a clearer picture of where and for whom accelerated progress is occurring, should support the school to measure its overall effectiveness and inform next steps to improve outcomes for priority learners.

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 principal has led the development of a collegial and collaborative school culture that values students and staff. School practices are grounded in positive relationships. A respectful and inclusive environment where school values are known and enacted is highly evident. These are promoted through the PB4L initiative. Staff connect authentically to students’ worlds to promote success, engagement, resilience and positive learning attitudes. This has the potential to enable students to experience success.

Leaders and teachers strongly advocate for and support children to be confident and connected. Teachers work to promote children’s interests, understanding of learning and to see themselves as active learners. They have begun to focus on how changes to their practice will improve learner outcomes for target students.

A range of purposeful learning contexts are evident. Positive relationships encourage open, learning conversations and the strengths that each person brings are valued. Students learn in calm, settled environments. Children are given meaningful leadership opportunities.

Trustees, leaders and teachers actively promote a culturally responsive curriculum. Leadership emphasises the value of Tiriti o Waitangi. They place a strong focus on the local Puketapu hāpori (community). The school is closely connected to the natural environment and local people contribute to enriching the emerging curriculum.

The principal and deputy principal are future focused and provide opportunities for leadership growth. They continue to build collective capacity across the school and ensure that wellbeing of staff is a priority.

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

Addressing the low achievement and significant disparity is an urgent next step for the school so that learners can achieve equitable and excellent outcomes.

ERO and school leaders are aware of the need to use achievement data more effectively. Developing shared understandings of data literacy and acceleration should support more effective analysis of achievement data. Enhancing deliberate teaching strategies and continued monitoring of progress and acceleration for all groups of students at risk of not achieving is a next step. To better inform decision making, regular reporting to the board should clearly identify priority groups including Māori, boys, girls and students with additional needs, showing rates of progress in each learning area.

Developing schoolwide systems and processes to promote ongoing improvement and quality assurance in the areas of curriculum, appraisal and internal evaluation is a priority to ensure consistency of implementation.

The school curriculum has developed the key components that set the direction for the school. Leaders have worked to strengthen guidance documents, and collaborative planning is likely to promote consistency of practice. ERO agrees that leaders should continue to develop and document the Puketapu curriculum to better reflect the valued outcomes that guide learning programmes. To strengthen the strategic focus, trustees and leaders need to collaborate with whānau Māori to develop a plan to include indicators of success for Māori learners.

Leaders agree that the implementation of the teacher appraisal policy requires development to ensure the process is consistent for all. This will mean teachers are appraised annually, quality feedback is provided in relation to the Standards for the Teaching Profession, and all staff have a job description.

Further developing a shared understanding and use of internal evaluation is a key next step. This should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to know what has the most significant impact on raising achievement, and what is needed to sustain ongoing improvement of equity and excellence.

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 Puketapu School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

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:

  • a culture of collaboration among leaders and teachers to support a collective response to the needs of all learners

  • responsive teaching and learning environments that contribute to student engagement in learning

  • culturally responsive practices that promote a sense of belonging for all children.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening inquiry and analysis of achievement information, by trustees, leaders and teachers, to systematically address low achievement and in-school disparities

  • continuing to develop and document the Puketapu curriculum, to better reflect valued outcomes that guide learning programmes

  • ensuring a consistent appraisal system is implemented to build teacher capability

  • building internal evaluation to better determine the effectiveness of programmes and actions on student outcomes.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the appraisal of all teaching staff.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  • ensure that all teachers are fully appraised annually.
    [77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the reporting of other student outcomes such as analysed attendance data and student survey results.

  • analyse and report the outcomes of the health curriculum consultation.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

4 June 2019

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 43%
NZ European/Pākehā 42%
Pacific 4%
Indian 4%
Other ethnic groups 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

4 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016
Education Review May 2013

1 Context

Puketapu School is situated in Bell Block, New Plymouth. It provides education for 230 students in Years 1 to 8 and almost a third are Māori. The current principal is retiring at the end of Term 1, and the deputy principal will be in the acting principal role until a new principal takes office in Term 3.

The school is part of the Māori Achievement Collaborative (MAC), an initiative which seeks to strengthen culturally responsive practices in its members. It also belongs to the local Sustaining Effective Teaching and Learning (SETL) cluster.

High levels of community engagement are a feature of the school.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are Manaakitia (Respect), Whakatutuki (Achievement) and Whakamanatia (Pride). These reflect the overarching whakataukī: 'Whakamanatia ngā tangata katoa - Empower all people'.

The school’s achievement information shows that at the end of 2015, about two thirds of students were at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The level of success in writing represents steady improvement since 2013, with significant increases for all groups since 2014. The school has yet to achieve equity for Māori learners in these three key areas. Boys' achievement has improved over time, but remains lower for all students schoolwide.

School leaders recognise that many Māori students and boys require closely-targeted teaching for equitable outcomes. Greater in-depth analysis and more effective use of assessment information are needed to accelerate the progress of all students at risk of not achieving in relation to National Standards.

Since the May 2013 ERO evaluation, progress has been made in addressing the areas identified as needing further development. The school has maintained a focus on integrating te ao Māori. Teachers have participated in professional learning to improve the achievement of targeted students in literacy and mathematics and to build leadership capacity. Through a coaching initiative, teachers have begun to observe each other and provide constructive feedback to increase the effectiveness of strategies used to improve student outcomes.

Fostering effective partnerships between the school, parents, whānau and the community is a strategic priority. Leaders see involvement of families in students' learning as a key element in accelerating progress. This is increasingly evident in practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

The school successfully supports many Māori students to achieve accelerated progress over the course of a year.

Leaders and teachers use National Standards and other data from an appropriate range of reliable sources to identify students whose learning and achievement need improvement. A clearly documented assessment schedule details expectations and guides practice. To increase the reliability of teacher judgements, leaders should ensure that the guidelines for moderation are fully understood and implemented.

The school has good systems for responding to Māori students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Targeted students are involved in schoolwide learning support initiatives, and their individual progress is tracked separately. The school has increasingly sound knowledge of the impact of strategies used to improve achievement.

A range of deliberate approaches and practices is evident. These include:

  • small group interventions for literacy and mathematics
  • targeting of individual students at syndicate and teacher levels
  • reporting students' progress to parents, whānau and trustees
  • strategies that engage parents and whānau as partners in students' learning
  • sound pastoral care systems that effectively support and promote students' wellbeing
  • opportunities for students to participate and experience success in a variety of cultural, sporting and academic activities
  • a meaningful, localised school curriculum, with te reo me ngā tikanga Māori well embedded.

Leaders and trustees recognise that the key next steps in continuing to raise the achievement of students whose learning needs to be accelerated are to:

  • review schoolwide target-setting to focus on the highest learner priorities each year
  • align annual targets with other systems and processes
  • ensure that identified needs are responded to effectively and with appropriate urgency and timeliness at classroom level
  • document explicit guidelines for teacher practice in relation to planning for and monitoring targeted students.

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

Learning support strategies listed above are used for all students whose learning needs to be accelerated.

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 priorities for equity and excellence?

For most students, the curriculum effectively supports their achievement, progress and wellbeing.

Key factors underpinning this positive climate for learning are the:

  • clear articulation of guidelines, priorities and expectations for teaching and learning
  • suitable alignment of the school curriculum with The New Zealand Curriculum
  • appropriate priority given to literacy, numeracy and health and physical education
  • relevant, meaningful local contexts
  • widespread enactment of the school values
  • welcoming, open, inclusive environment that generates a sense of pride and belonging for students
  • emphasis on authentic student leadership
  • highly effective engagement of parents, whānau and community
  • strongly supportive trustees, who are suitably trained and knowledgeable about their stewardship responsibilities
  • board focus on students' success and holistic achievement
  • strategies to build and support teacher effectiveness.

To embed and build on these positive factors, leaders and trustees agree that they need to:

  • review and fully implement systems and processes for monitoring the quality and consistency of teaching practice across the school
  • continue to strengthen teachers' understanding and capability as they inquire into the effectiveness of strategies they use to improve student outcomes and accelerate achievement
  • further develop aspects of appraisal processes, to effectively fulfil their improvement and accountability purposes
  • maintain regular progress updates in relation to annual goals and targets
  • continue to develop internal evaluation capability at all levels.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Bringing about consistency in the enactment of expected practice schoolwide is essential for the school's continued and sustained development. Robust, effective appraisal, teacher inquiry and implementation of the coaching model are likely to contribute to a stronger sense of collective responsibility for achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement Plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full 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.

Appraisal of the principal has not taken place. The board of trustees is required to annually assess the principal against all the professional standards for principals.[s77c State Sector Act, 1988; New Zealand Gazette; relevant employment agreement]

In order to improve practice, policies and procedures must be systematically reviewed and implemented to ensure full compliance with this and other legal obligations.

7 Recommendations

The board and school leaders should:

  • systematically address the areas for improvement outlined in this report
  • in addressing areas for improvement, maintain clear line of sight on raising student achievement and accelerating the learning and progress of those students at risk of underachieving. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 May 2016 

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

17 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

February 2010

October 2006