Pokuru School - 30/11/2016

1 Context

Pokuru School is located near Te Awamutu and provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. The school's roll of 130 includes 31 Māori children. Approximately a third of the children live in Te Awamutu, and others from the surrounding rural area. Since the 2013 ERO report leadership of the school has remained the same and there have been minor changes to the teaching team. At the 2016 elections two new parent representatives were elected to the board of trustees.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are to:

  • foster a love of learning
  • show integrity
  • be respectful and creative
  • celebrate achievement
  • achieve excellence
  • be the best they can be.

These desired outcomes are supported by the values of manākitanga, āko, whanaungatanga, and mahi tahi.

The school’s achievement information shows that between 2013 and 2105 there has been a pattern of improved achievement for Māori children in reading, writing and mathematics. Achievement data in 2015 indicates that approximately 80% of Māori children achieved at or above the National Standard in reading and mathematics, slightly lower results were achieved in writing. Achievement patterns for Pākehā children show that approximately 80% of these children achieve at or above the National Standards in reading and mathematics and 75% in writing.

The school uses an appropriate range of assessment tools to assist teachers to make overall teacher judgements in relation to National Standards. They work together with teachers from neighbouring schools to analyse children's work. This is supporting consistency of judgements, particularly in writing.

Since the last ERO evaluation the school has implemented:

  • a school-wide focus on strengthening the teaching of oral language
  • comprehensive processes to support children as they transition into the school at age five
  • a cultural development plan to strengthen the place of Māori language, culture and identity within the curriculum
  • the use of digital technologies, particularly in the senior school
  • stronger assessment practices to identify children's learning
  • a range of literacy intervention programmes
  • a collaborative teaching and learning approach throughout the school where teachers work together with two classes.

3 Accelerating achievement

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

Leaders and teachers effectively identify and respond to Māori children whose achievement needs acceleration, particularly in the areas of reading and mathematics.

Factors contributing to accelerated progress are:

  • the early identification of at risk learners
  • support programmes primarily in the area of literacy
  • professional learning and development for teachers.

In order to further accelerate the achievement of Māori children, particularly in writing, school leaders and teachers should give priority to strengthening existing assessment practices to:

  • more specifically respond to the current learning needs of targeted children
  • support children to have greater knowledge of their learning achievements and next steps
  • refining current teaching as inquiry processes to more specifically focus on the effectiveness of teaching strategies in accelerating the progress of targeted children.

Integrating the teaching as inquiry model within the appraisal process is likely to assist teachers to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of their practice in relation to accelerating the achievement of target children in their classrooms.

In addition trustees should refine charter targets to more deliberately focus on groups of children whose learning needs accelerating, such as Māori and year level cohorts.

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

The approaches to accelerating the achievement of Māori children have been extended to other children in the school.

The school has an inclusive approach to supporting the learning of children with diverse learning and behaviour needs. Leaders and teachers work closely with parents and outside agencies to provide programmes that are responsive to these children. Trustees are committed to supporting equitable opportunities for all children, including subsidising extra curricula experiences when necessary.

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 targets for equity and excellence?

The school's broad curriculum and other organisational processes and practices effectively enact the school's vision, values and goals. The curriculum is reviewed annually by leaders and teachers to ensure that it is responsive to children's learning needs and reflects community aspirations. Appropriate priority is placed on the teaching of literacy and mathematics and there is a focus on oral language development.

A feature of the curriculum is the use of the local environment to provide real-life learning opportunities. This includes strong links to local history and places of significant for Māori. Children's transition into school is supported by the strong links to their preschool experiences. A play-based approach to teaching and learning in the junior classes recognises and responds to building each child's dispositions for learning. This approach to transition supports meaningful learning partnerships with parents and whānau.

School leadership use their knowledge and are well informed in making decisions when leading school operations. Leaders have strong and trusting relationships with teachers, trustees and parents. They have high expectations and are committed to equitable outcomes for all children. Teachers are provided with detailed and robust feedback about teaching practice. Leaders are continuing to refine and develop assessment practices that support teachers to make reliable overall judgements in relation to National Standards.

Teachers have respectful and reciprocal relationships with children and their families. They share their knowledge, skills and expertise through a collaborative team approach to their classrooms. Teachers implement a wide range of effective strategies that support children's learning, self management, and are clearly focused on accelerating children who are at risk in their learning.

Leaders and teachers have established strong partnerships with parents and whānau. They implement many initiatives that provide parents and whānau of target children with useful strategies and approaches that they can use to support their children's learning at home, particularly in literacy. Parents are well informed about their children's progress and learning.

A systematic approach to internal evaluation guides school operations. Trustees regularly review policies, including a focus on providing a safe and inclusive place for children and staff. Leaders should give priority to more deliberately using achievement information to guide internal evaluation practices. This is likely to support them to more effectively evaluate the impact of programmes and initiatives.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • respond effectively to the strengths, needs and interests of each child
  • regularly evaluate how well teaching is working for these children
  • act on what they know works well for each child
  • build teacher capability effectively to achieve equitable outcomes for all children
  • are well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

In response to the 2015 achievement data trustees, school leaders and teachers have implemented a planned and aligned approach to accelerating the achievement of all children. Key aspects of this plan include:

  • regular monitoring of the progress and achievement of these children by teachers and school leaders
  • professional development for teachers to support them to implement strategies that support accelerated progress
  • assessment for learning strategies across the school
  • a Māori achievement plan, curriculum development and a sequential te reo Māori programme in order to strengthen language, culture and identity for Māori children in the school.

Leaders and teachers need to embed and sustain the following practices:

  • assessment for learning practice across the school
  • current teaching as inquiry processes
  • charter targets to more deliberately focus on Māori and other children whose learning needs accelerating.

ERO is likely to carry out the next 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

7 Recommendation

School leaders should access additional professional learning and development in order to strengthen aspects of their practice identified in this report.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato/Bay of Plenty

30 November 2016

About the school


Te Awamutu, Waikato

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 54% Girls 46%

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

September 2016

Date of this report

30 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

December 2013

December 2010

March 2008