Pakowhai School - 20/08/2019

School Context

Pakowhai School is a small rural school in Hawkes Bay, between Napier and Hastings with students from Years 1 to 6. Of the 41 students on the roll, 11 identify as Māori. The school is currently experiencing roll growth and increasing ethnic diversity.

The school’s aims and aspirations are for students to achieve their full potential, enabling them to face their futures with confidence. The school motto: learning today, leading tomorrow, ‘timo ma ie te pirere’, underpins the valued outcomes for students to have confidence, be inquisitive, resilient and have/show respect.

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

  • literacy intervention programmes
  • student wellbeing.

The school is a member of the Whirinaki Kāhui Ako.

There have been significant changes to staffing, with a new principal appointed in 2018 and new trustees elected or appointed to the board.

Staff are participating the first year of professional learning and development in the Ministry of Education funded Positive Behaviour for Learning programme, supporting student wellbeing for learning.

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 2018 school-wide picture of equitable and excellent outcomes is unclear. While teachers assess, monitor and track individual student progress, a school-wide picture of progress and achievement is not evident.

School data for end of 2018, collated by ERO indicates that:

  • about half of students achieved expectation in literacy and numeracy
  • an increased percentage of students are achieving at or above expectation in writing and numeracy from 2017.

There is disparity of achievement for boys in literacy.

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

The school was unable to provide achievement information in 2018 about how well learning was accelerated for students whose progress and achievement needed acceleration.

Data collated by the school in 2019 shows evidence of accelerated progress for those students, including Māori, involved in a specific junior school reading intervention. Teachers of the junior class are investigating how this learning and progress can be sustained within the class programme.

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?

Classroom environments support students to develop their understanding of achievement and wellbeing expectations. Classes are calm and settled. Tuakana - teina relationships are evident within classrooms and across year levels. Teachers use a variety of appropriate strategies, including well established routines, to engage students in learning. Positive, respectful relationships are evident across the school amongst the staff and children.

Staff know students and their families well. They are committed to promoting community involvement in school life. Parents are involved in a range of school activities, and have formal and informal opportunities to discuss their children’s learning and well-being with teachers.

Teachers support each other and work collaboratively to plan, discuss, share practice and new ideas. They explore new approaches and strategies to support their teaching and promote student engagement in learning.

Learners with additional needs are appropriately identified and programmes to promote well-being and learning are put in place. Individual education plans and external expertise support this provision.

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

The principal has begun to review the school’s curriculum. He acknowledges that it needs further review and development, so that it better reflects and guides current priorities, initiatives and practice across all learning areas. This development should include:

  • using parent, whānau, iwi and student voice to clearly define the localised curriculum incorporating challenging and authentic learning opportunities
  • prioritising te ao Māori and the bicultural nature of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • clear expectations for teaching and learning.

Trustees demonstrate a commitment to the school. They bring a range of skills and expertise to their roles to support ongoing school development. Accessing support for trustees’ to further build their understanding and capacity should assist them to more effectively carry out their roles and fully meet their statutory responsibilities and obligations.

Strengthening trustees’ focus on student progress, achievement and acceleration of those students and others achieving below expected levels is required. This is necessary for more informed and evidence-based decisions to raise achievement and promote improved outcomes for all learners.

Staff and trustees should develop processes to evaluate the quality, impact and effectiveness of programmes and initiatives on learning outcomes for students.

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 Pakowhai 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 supportive culture among staff that enables a collective response to learners
  • settled classes with established routines that promote learning and well-being.

Next steps

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

  • reporting achievement information to trustees to better inform decision-making focused on raising levels of achievement
  • reviewing the school’s curriculum to better emphasise and guide current priorities, initiatives and practice, and reflect the bicultural aspect of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • internal evaluation practices to know what is working well and making the most difference for student outcomes, and where change is needed to improve levels of achievement.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to schoolwide reporting student achievement and progress information; and safety checking of staff.

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

  • report on the progress and achievement of groups of students, including Māori students and students as a whole. This includes those who are not progressing and/or achieving, or are at risk of not progressing/achieving, or who have special needs including gifted and talented student
  • ensure safety checking of non- teaching staff is completed.
    [National Administration Guideline 2 (d); Children’s Act 2014]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should ensure that:

  • they discuss and scrutinise achievement and other information that is presented to them, and document a record of how and why decisions are made
  • processes for moving in to in-committee business are followed and documented
  • risk management procedures for school trips/education outside the classroom are completed
  • the principal’s appraisal supports his development and provides the challenge required of a leader of learning in the school
  • all staff appraisals (teaching and non-teaching) are fully and consistently completed each year as per the school’s policy and procedure.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and/or New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • trustees’ understanding of their roles, responsibilities and legislative obligations
  • internal evaluation to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives on learning outcomes for students.

Phillip Cowie
Director Review and Improvement Services Central 
Central Region 
20 August 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 27, Female 14

Ethnic composition

Māori 11
NZ European/Pākehā 23
Pacific 4
Other ethnic groups 3

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

20 August 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review December 2014
Education Review February 2012
Education Review September 2008