Poukawa School - 13/12/2019

School Context

Poukawa School is rurally located south of Hastings. Of the 103 students who attend the school, 40% identify as Māori.

Since the February 2016 ERO report, the school has experienced a number of staffing changes, including a new principal who commenced at the beginning of term 2 2019.

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school are reflected in the school’s Whakataukī: ‘Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu – Adorn the bird with feathers so it may fly’. This is underpinned by the school’s values of: ‘safe and sensible, thinking, aroha and resilient (STAR)’.

Current goals and targets are focused on accelerating the learning of all students whose progress was not sufficient in writing and mathematics in 2018.

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

  • progress and achievement in reading, writing and mathematics
  • learning support interventions.

Professional learning and development in 2019 is focused on culturally responsive practice and writing.

The school is a member of the Hastings East Kāhui Ako.

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?

Poukawa School continues to build its effectiveness in achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

The school reported data for the end of 2018 shows that most students achieved at or above The New Zealand Curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

Data over time, from 2016, shows increasing levels of achievement in reading and writing with a significant improvement for boys in writing at the end of 2018.

Addressing reduced achievement levels in mathematics and disparities for Māori learners are priorities for the school.

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

The school’s achievement information for 2018 shows effective rates of acceleration for those students who are at risk of not achieving at expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics.

The 2019 mid-year data for priority students in reading, writing and mathematics, shows that most, including Māori, have made progress towards meeting expectations by the end of this year.

There is evidence of acceleration for the majority students in writing, supported through a specific intervention.

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?

Leadership collaboratively develops and pursues the school’s vision, goals and targets for equity and excellence. The board of trustees, through the charter, clearly sets out related long-term strategic goals that are given priority in the annual plan through a range of actions. Parents and whānau are consulted and contribute their voice to the strategic direction.

Improving outcomes for students is at the centre of all decision making. Evidence-informed inquiry enables leaders to make informed decisions about appropriate interventions and staff professional development. A useful framework guides teachers’ inquiry into their practice and to make decisions about change to enhance student outcomes.

High levels of student engagement across classrooms in flexible environments support student learning and success. These environments reflect the language, culture and identity of Māori learners and New Zealand’s bicultural partnership.

Teachers use a range of effective strategies to plan and deliver teaching programmes to support students to make choices and have increased ownership of their learning. Relevant contexts motivate and encourage learners to make connections outside the classroom. Teaching practice is supported by collegial relationships and team work. Staff are responsive to the individual strengths, interests and needs of learners. Positive reciprocal relationships are evident across all levels of the school.

Staff proactively collaborate with community networks and agencies to enhance student learning opportunities, achievement and wellbeing and support shared goals. Systems and processes are responsive to students’ need. Planned targeted interventions to accelerate progress for learners with identified learning needs are put in place.

Trustees bring a range of knowledge and expertise to the stewardship role. Trustees are well informed about school operations, programmes and student achievement.

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

The principal and teachers are reflective and improvement focused and this places them well to further develop a shared understanding and use of robust internal evaluation. Effective internal evaluation should assist them to better determine what works and what is needed to support and sustain ongoing improvement for equity and excellence of outcomes, for all students. Clearly articulating the philosophy and valued outcomes for students, should provide a basis to support systematic evaluation of outcomes aligned to the school’s vision.

The school recognises the need to continue in partnership with the community and whānau to inform the localised curriculum expectations. Further developing culturally responsive practice aligned to parent aspirations for Māori success as Māori is an appropriate area for further development.

Reviewing and accessing relevant professional learning in mathematics has been identified by the school to build collective capability and strengthen student achievement outcomes in this subject area.

Leaders have appropriately identified the need to strengthen assessment practice to further support student outcomes. Realigning targets to those students whose learning requires acceleration and reporting termly outcomes to the board to support their timely response to this information, are areas to continue to develop.

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

ERO’s Framework: Overall Findings and Judgement Tool derived from School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success 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:

  • the collaboration of leaders, teachers and board that guides developments and direction focused on strengthening student outcomes
  • positive engagement with its parents and community that promote equity and belonging
  • teaching that is responsive to students’ interests and needs.

Next steps

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

  • culturally responsive practices aligned to community and whānau aspirations for Māori success as Māori
  • reviewing and accessing relevant professional learning in mathematics to build collective capability to promote student outcomes
  • internal evaluation to clearly determine priorities for ongoing improvement for equity and excellence.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

13 December 2019

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary Years 1 - 8

School roll


Gender composition

Male 55, Female 48

Ethnic composition

Māori 41
NZ European/Pākehā 56
Other ethnic groups 6

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

October 2019

Date of this report

13 December 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review February 2016
Education Review December 2012
Education Review October 2009