Pakotai School - 28/03/2018

School Context

Pakotai School, in a rural area west of Whangarei, is a full primary school catering for students from Years 1 to 8. The roll of approximately 11 children are all Māori and from the local area. The school is a central part of the community with intergenerational links with local whānau.

The school’s mission is to provide children with a diverse education that ensures their learning success now and into the future. It also aims to assist children to become well-balanced adults who contribute positively to New Zealand society. The board has identified four school values; whanaungatanga, aroha, manaakitanga and mana, to underpin school activities.

A new principal was employed in 2015. He is currently supported by a release teacher whose focus is on increasing students’ knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori.

The principal regularly reports to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • valued outcomes in other curriculum areas
  • whole school development.

The school is a member of Ngā Kura mo te ako o Whangarei Group 4 Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning (CoL).

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is making progress towards achieving excellent outcomes for all its students.

Most students achieved or exceeded achievement expectations in mathematics during 2016. Half of the students achieved or exceeded expectations in literacy.

The principal carefully monitors each student’s individual progress. He acknowledges that it is a priority to find ways to moderate the assessment of students’ achievement. This moderation would help to assure the board that the information that is reported to them is reliable.

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

The principal responds well to students whose achievement need acceleration.

The principal has in-depth knowledge of the individual progress and achievement of all children. He uses this information to identify children who need additional support to make accelerated progress. There is good planning to support these children, and some make accelerated progress.

The principal closely monitors the attendance patterns of students. This is because the school data show that good attendance contributes greatly to students sustaining accelerated progress.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school’s effective systems for curriculum management and strong school leadership are helping to enable the achievement of equity and excellence.

Students have equitable opportunities to learn through differentiated programmes designed to meet their individual learning needs. They benefit from a warm and nurturing school environment, and participate and learn in ways that are collaborative and inclusive. Students relate well to their teachers, and are supportive of each other. Tuakana/teina practices are a feature of the school and support children’s ongoing learning.

Success as Māori is a focus and strongly encouraged. School practices value students’ whānau and heritage, and reflect and incorporate te ao Māori. There is a clear emphasis on the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Students’ engagement with the curriculum is strongly promoted. Children have opportunities to learn, achieve and progress in the breadth and depth of the NZ Curriculum. They are given valuable experiences within and beyond the classroom, and in the local area. These experiences include many hands-on, creative activities that develop their problem-solving skills. Parents and whānau are encouraged to participate in the curriculum to enrich students’ interests. The board provides resources that extend students’ access to digital learning. Students use digital devices well to support their learning.

The principal has a clear vision of a successful ‘Pakotai learner’ and implements appropriate strategies to achieve this. He has a close network of professionals that support him with his leadership role. He is proactive in seeking expertise for the benefit of students’ learning. He regularly canvases parent, whānau and students’ views, and includes these in school decision-making. There is a strong home-school partnership to support student success.

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

The school is developing appropriate and relevant strategic goals for ongoing school development. These could include further development to:

  • ensure school goals are specific and measurable, and that the board is kept updated on progress towards meeting these goals

  • provide opportunities for students to make decisions about their learning

  • strengthen the school’s internal evaluation process to better identify where the school is performing well for its students and where improvements are needed.

The principal is highly committed to the dual roles of being both a leader and a teacher. However, in order to undertake both roles successfully, the board needs to ensure that the principal has regular access to the release time to which he is entitled.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • enact formal processes when responding to a complaint and use appropriate systems to ensure they meet the requirements of the Privacy Act

  • review the school’s performance management and appointment policies and adapt them to meet the current Education Council and State Sector Act requirements.

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • the school’s inclusive practices, which are supporting students to feel secure and have a strong sense of belonging

  • home/school partnerships that are focused on supporting students’ learning and raising their achievement

  • a well-managed and documented curriculum that is rich and responsive, and promotes student learning.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, development priorities are to:

  • increase students’ agency and participation in decision-making so that they increasingly lead their own learning

  • improve internal evaluation processes and practices.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 March 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full primary (Year 1-8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 6 Boys 5

Ethnic composition



Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

December 2017

Date of this report

28 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

December 2014
October 2011
November 2008