Pukehou School - 02/09/2014


How effectively is this school’s curriculum promoting student learning - engagement, progress and achievement?

A key feature of this small, rural school is its long-standing focus on education for sustainability. Following significant staffing change, the board, new principal and teaching team recognise the need to develop school systems to embed and sustain school improvement. Key priorities are curriculum review and accelerating student achievement.

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

1 Context

What are the important features of this school that have an impact on student learning?

Pukehou School is located in the rural community of Pukehou, Central Hawke’s Bay. It caters for 98 students in Years 1 to 8, including 36 Māori students.

Since the November 2011 ERO report significant staff change has occurred, with the appointment of a new principal and several teachers. A building programme has included the refurbishing and enlargement of classrooms.

A key feature of the school is its long-standing focus on education for sustainability.

2 Learning

How well does this school use achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, progress and achievement?

The school’s use of achievement information to make positive changes to learners’ engagement, achievement and progress requires development.

Data presented at the end of 2013 shows that the majority of students met National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The percentages of students below or above the standards have remained stable for some time.

The principal and board recognise that there is a need to accelerate the progress for those below and to increase the numbers of students who achieve above the standards, in particular, Māori learners.

Teachers use assessment information to identify students’ learning levels and group for teaching. They are beginning to strengthen how they analyse data to identify more specific learning needs and plan to more purposely to accelerate student progress.

Schoolwide analysis and reporting of data is a significant area for development. Presenting and discussing emerging trends and patterns over time for groups of students is necessary. This should help the board understand and set appropriate targets for improvement. It should also help senior leaders and the board to evaluate the impact of the curriculum and initiatives to improve student outcomes.

Parents receive useful reports about their children’s progress in relation to National Standards. They outline student’s next steps for learning and ways that parents can help at home. Written reports complement parent, teacher and child conferences.

Students with special education needs are well supported to participate, contribute and succeed. Individual programmes are monitored and students make good progress against clear goals.

3 Curriculum

How effectively does this school’s curriculum promote and support student learning?

The Pukehou School curriculum is effective in promoting and supporting student learning in many ways. It emphasises the school’s vision of developing ‘confident learners who accept social responsibility and live sustainably’. It is aligned with the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum.

Learning programmes focus on authentic situations involving community events, environmental sustainability and some aspects of tikanga Māori. Increasing teachers’ capability to more clearly weave te ao Māori contexts in all areas of the curriculum is a timely decision made by senior leaders.

ERO’s external evaluation affirms the principal’s decision to review and develop the curriculum to ensure it is relevant to students’ immediate and changing needs. This review should include inquiry learning, embedding education for sustainability and creating further opportunities for students to lead their own learning.

Teachers are working collaboratively to provide a more cohesive and connected schoolwide curriculum. Development of clearer expectations for teaching and learning should support more consistency of programme delivery across learning areas and year levels.

Students are well engaged in classroom programmes. They confidently ask questions and contribute to discussions. Positive and supportive relationships are evident amongst students and with teachers. ERO observed a good range of effective teaching practices schoolwide.

How effectively does the school promote educational success for Māori, as Māori?

Māori students have some opportunities for experiences of te ao Māori. They have leadership roles in pōwhiri and school marae visits. Teachers and students use the local marae as a place of learning.

The principal uses external expertise to support his professional growth and development and help foster school improvement in Māori success. He values contributions from Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi representatives.

The next step is for the school, with its Māori whānau and community, to more explicitly define the outcomes they hope to achieve for Māori learners in terms of their language, identity and culture and decide how they will strategically bring about these outcomes through the curriculum.

More deliberate development of teachers’ capability, in reference to Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, is necessary.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is becoming better placed to sustain and improve school performance.

The principal and deputy principal have identified appropriate priorities for development and have begun to work collaboratively with staff to change and improve systems and teaching practice. They appropriately access external advice and guidance to assist improvement.

Planning for the future requires improvement. With a new teaching team in place it is important to:

  • revisit the strategic goals to align with current thinking about school priorities
  • refine the charter targets so they are specific and measurable
  • strengthen annual planning to include timelines, responsibilities and measurable outcomes
  • develop school systems to embed and sustain development.

Board members are focused on strengthening their governance role. They are seeking external training and currently reviewing their policy framework. ERO confirms the need for trustees to reframe their thinking to more clearly understand and emphasise their governance role in raising student achievement and progress.

Self review is identified as an area for development at governance, leadership and teaching levels. A template is in place to guide teachers’ curriculum review and raise their evaluative capacity. A schoolwide student wellbeing review is underway that includes opportunity for staff, student and parent input. ERO’s review confirms that a more systematic and evidence-based approach is needed in self review.

In 2014, a useful framework is in place to encourage teachers to look closely at how well their practices are improving student achievement. They meet regularly to discuss data about target students and share strategies to support engagement and progress. The principal provides constructive feedback to strengthen teachers’ reflection and action, through a newly strengthened appraisal process.

The school community is very supportive of the staff and students. They are involved in learning programmes and support a wide range of sporting and cultural activities. The principal identifies the need to have better partnerships for learning with the full range of parents and whānau. ERO affirms this direction.

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.

ERO identified the following areas of non-compliance.

The board of trustees must ensure that:

  • they provide appropriate career education and guidance for all students in Years 7 and 8. [The National Administration Guidelines 2013 1f]
  • the principal has an annual performance agreement and that it carries out a process of appraisal against this agreement and the professional standards for principals every year. [Education Act State Sector Section 77C]


A key feature of this small, rural school is its long-standing focus on education for sustainability. Following significant staffing change, the board, new principal and teaching team recognise the need to develop school systems to embed and sustain school improvement. Key priorities are curriculum review and accelerating student achievement.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.index-html-m2a7690f7.gif

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

2 September 2014

About the School


Otane, Hawke's Bay

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 50

Female 48

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

2 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2011

October 2007

December 2004