Pokuru School - 31/10/2019

School Context

Pokuru School is located near Te Awamutu and provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. The current roll of 172 includes 41 Māori students and a small number of students from culturally diverse backgrounds. The school reports that the roll tends to fluctuate with a high number of students enrolling and leaving throughout the year.

Since the previous review in 2016 there has been significant roll growth. The principal and deputy principal have continued in their roles and the teaching team has remained mostly the same. Teachers have undertaken professional learning and development in culturally responsive practice.

The school’s vision states that the aim is to prepare students to participate confidently in an ever-changing society and places importance on honour the past, support the future – whakahonore nga wa o mua, hei tautoko nga wa e heke mai nei. Developing core values of integrity, excellence, celebrate, creativity and respect are a stated priority of the school.

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

  • reading, writing and mathematics.

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 is making good progress towards achieving equity and excellence for all students.

In 2018 most students achieved national curriculum expectations in reading and mathematics and the large majority in writing. This pattern has been consistent over the past two years. Māori student achievement in reading and mathematics has significantly improved over the past three years and is now comparable to their Pākehā peers. The school data also indicates that girls achieved at similar levels to boys in reading and at significantly higher levels in writing. Boys significantly outperform girls in mathematics.

Students with additional learning needs are closely monitored and are making progress against their personal learning and development goals.

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

The school is able to show accelerated learning and progress for some Māori and other students who need this.

Analysed data in 2018 shows approximately a third of at-risk learners in mathematics and half in reading and writing, including Māori made accelerated progress to reach expected curriculum levels.

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?

Leaders have developed a culture of high relational trust. They have established a distributed model of leadership that encourages risk taking and improved outcomes for students. Leaders and teachers have developed a conceptual framework for the school’s local curriculum that included wide ranging consultation. They are well-supported by the board of trustees. Leaders have developed strong systems to identify, track and monitor student progress and achievement particularly for at-risk students. Leaders focus on building teacher capability and this has included significant professional learning and development about culturally responsive practice. These practices are becoming naturally integrated into teaching and learning programmes and support equity and excellence for all students.

Students participate and learn in inclusive and cooperative learning environments. Positive and respectful relationships are evident across the school. Community input is valued, and parents feel welcome and involved in the life of the school. Parents are well-informed about their child’s progress and learning. There is a range of communication strategies including a digital platform that allows teachers and students to share learning regularly. Students with additional needs are well integrated into programmes and external agency support is accessed when needed. There is a range of appropriate interventions to support at-risk students learning, wellbeing and a sense of belonging.

Teachers effectively respond to students’ needs and interests. They provide a wide range of authentic learning contexts to effectively engage students in inquiry, exploration and decision making. There is a continued focus on literacy and mathematics. Teachers use effective assessment practices to identify at-risk students and plan explicit learning interventions to meet their needs. These practices include teacher modelling, student goal setting, ability and flexible groupings and a range of visual prompts for learning. Teachers provide students with many leadership opportunities that allow them to work cooperatively across the school to support the learning and wellbeing of their peers.

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

Leaders and teachers are currently reviewing the school’s local curriculum to reflect changes to the way learning is delivered across the school. They have developed a conceptual framework. This review should continue, to establish agreed teaching and learning expectations and guidelines for the school’s cooperative learning model.

There is a need to strengthen schoolwide consistency of student ownership of learning, particularly for at-risk learners. Teachers should consider ways to support students to further:

  • develop their understanding and knowledge of their own learning pathways

  • develop strategies to evaluate their own and others’ work against clear criteria.

Aspects of internal evaluation processes need strengthened to:

  • show the impact of teaching programmes and initiatives on student progress and achievement

  • report more regularly to the board on rates of progress and acceleration of at risk learners.

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 Pokuru School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Well placed.

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:

  • leadership that builds a collaborative and positive school culture
  • learning environments that are inclusive with high levels of student engagement
  • a range of authentic learning opportunities that focus on student interests and learning needs.

Next steps

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

  • completing the review of the local curriculum to strengthen agreed teaching and learning expectations
  • extending practices to enable students to monitor and make decisions about their learning pathways
  • strengthening internal evaluation to show the impact of initiatives and programmes.

Areas for improved compliance practice

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

  • the school’s performance management cycle is fully implemented and documented to meet the current Teachers Council requirements.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

31 October 2019

About the school


Te Awamutu

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Female 57% Male 43%

Ethnic composition

Māori 24%
NZ European/Pākehā 70%
African 3%
Other 3%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

31 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2016
Education Review December 2013
Education Review December 2010