Pamapuria School - 24/12/2015


Pamapuria School has made significant progress. There is now a culture of high expectations for teaching, learning and achievement. The board, principal and staff continue to promote positive outcomes for student achievement and wellbeing. Trustees are developing their role as stewards of the school.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Pamapuria School is a small rural Year 1 to 8 primary school located near Kaitaia in the far North. The school, marae and church are local land marks of this small Māori community that identify with their hapū Te Paatu and iwi Ngāti Kahu. The school has provided education for local children for over 130 years. The school draws students and families from the wider local area, including Fairburn, Diggers Valley and Takahue, as well as from Pamapuria.

ERO’s 2014 report was based on two separate visits to the school, one in September 2013 and the other in April 2014. This 2014 report identified that in 2012, the school and community experienced significant distress about the safety and wellbeing of its students. It reported the arrest of the then deputy principal, the dismissal of the principal and the resignation of the board of trustees. At this time, the Secretary for Education appointed a commissioner to govern the school, and two different acting principals managed the school from mid-2012 until the end of 2013. At the start of 2014 a new principal began at the school.

The June 2014 ERO report affirmed that the school was settled, students appeared confident and happy, and that staff morale had improved. It noted that students and staff had responded positively to the new principal’s inclusive approach, and that members of the community had a new-found confidence in the school.

In light of the changes that had occurred in the school since 2012, ERO made the decision to continue to review progress at Pamapuria School over the course of 1 to 2 years. The longitudinal review process involved regular contact between ERO and the school, including visits to the school, to evaluate the progress made in improving the areas identified as priorities.

In May 2014 a new board of trustees was established. The Ministry of Education revoked the commissioner, being confident in the board’s capacity to govern the school effectively. The board and staff have continued to rebuild the vision and direction of the school for students, staff, parents and community. Since 2013 student numbers have increased and some teaching staff are new to the school.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO and the board of trustees agreed on the following priorities for review and development for this 1-2 year review. In particular, the board agreed to further improve:

  • the quality of teaching and learning
  • the quality of the curriculum and its implementation
  • the effectiveness of school leadership
  • the effectiveness of school governance.


Quality of teaching and learning

The principal and senior leaders have a very strong commitment to improving teaching and learning. There is now a whole school understanding about what constitutes good teaching and learning at Pamapuria School. Teachers use student achievement data well to inform their planning and develop expectations for individuals and groups of students about their learning.

Over the last two years teachers have made significant shifts in practice, including improving the use of data through a focus on inquiry and an evaluation of their own practice. The use of specific learning strategies to support student progress has developed well. Teachers are collecting comprehensive, useful information about students learning and are monitoring this well. There is a stronger focus on using student achievement data to improve teaching and learning. Students are demonstrating an increased understanding of their progress and next steps.

Student achievement in reading, writing and mathematics is reflecting positive progress. Most students are achieving at and above the National Standards in these curriculum areas. Although there has been some regression at the mid-year stage with increased numbers of student below the National standards, senior leaders are looking at strategies to address this trend.

The next steps for the school are to:

  • develop more in-depth analysis of student achievement data to identify the progress and achievement of groups of students
  • continue to build teacher inquiry into their practice – including inquiry into the curriculum, professional learning and development, and appraisal processes.
Quality of the curriculum

Consultation with the community about the curriculum occurred in 2014 with a strong focus on reading, writing and mathematics. Parents and the community began developing a curriculum that would meet the learning needs and aspirations of students. Good progress has been made, however, the next steps for the principal and teachers are to:

  • ensure all learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) are planned for and delivered as required
  • ensure that the Year 7 and 8 students are receiving high quality technology programmes
  • strengthen the quality assurance processes for the curriculum
  • continue to refine the Pamapuria School curriculum so that it aligns with the school vision and reflects the requirements of the NZC.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

The school is well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

The effectiveness of school leadership

The principal is an effective professional leader. He has been instrumental in bringing about school improvements over the last two years through a positive approach to managing staff and leading change. He has improved community perceptions of the school. With good external support in the initial stages of his principalship, he capably led teachers’ professional learning and specifically promoted teaching as inquiry and the strong focus on lifting student achievement. Staff work together well as a team. They are determined to make the school a continually better place for students, focused on their learning and achievement.

The principal and leadership team agree that their next steps include:

  • ensuring evaluative reporting to the board is occurring in all areas
  • ensuring evidence based inquiry reporting, including appraisal, and quality assurance processes are occurring across all school operations
  • continuing to build a culture of reflection and inquiry with staff and the board to support the school's capacity to evaluate its own performance as well as the effectiveness of school initiatives and interventions.

The effectiveness of governance

The board of trustees is a very capable group with experience that supports ongoing and sustainable improvement. Trustees have a strong commitment to their community and are developing their ability to use evidence-driven decision making. The board has implemented prudent financial management processes and has improved its approach to strategic planning. A useful reporting framework is in place.

The board’s accountability processes could be improved by reviewing and refining existing policies and deciding how these could be made more useful in helping the board meet its obligations and responsibilities.

The next steps for the board include:

  • formalising consultation processes with the Māori community
  • ensuring that the principal’s appraisal process is robust and supports him to continue to develop his understanding of his role as the educational leader and manager of the school
  • improving processes to ensure that police vetting requirements are met as required
  • continuing to support the principal in aspects of his teaching role, to reflect the recommendations made in the 2014 ERO review and to meet the new Education Council requirements
  • investigating ways of evaluating the effectiveness of the board's performance and ensure it effectively meets statutory requirements.

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:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • financial management
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student achievement:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.

To meet requirements, the board must ensure that health education consultation occurs every two years [Section 60B Education Act 1989].


Pamapuria School has made significant progress. There is now a culture of high expectations for teaching, learning and achievement. The board, principal and staff continue to promote positive outcomes for student achievement and wellbeing. Trustees are developing their role as stewards of the school.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 December 2015

School Statistics


Pamapuria, Kaitaia

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 52% Girls 48%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

24 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2014

February 2010

September 2006