Pukekawa School - 18/12/2015


Students at Pukekawa School experience an inclusive, caring school environment. Students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers know and cater well for the individual wellbeing and learning needs of students. The school values its rural learning opportunities and its long standing family associations.

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?

Pukekawa School, located in northern Waikato, is a long established small, rural school for students in Years 1 to 6. Several generations of families have attended and continue to support the school. Sixteen percent of students identify as being of Māori descent, with the balance being Pākehā.

The school employs six full-time staff, including the principal and two long-serving teacher aides. The school is the hub of the Pukekawa community and many of the school’s parents and whānau regularly support it in a variety of ways.

The board has responded positively to areas for review and development suggested in the 2012 ERO report. Student awareness of their learning and knowing about what they can do to improve has been strengthened.

2 Learning

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

Pukekawa School uses student achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners' engagement, progress and achievement. The board and teachers closely monitor the progress of students during their time at this school.

A significant number of students achieve at or above the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Māori students in the school achieve similar or better results than their peers. Girls achieve higher results in writing and mathematics. Overall achievement in National Standards remains above that of similar schools, and regional and national results. The principal implements effective ways to determine the robustness of overall teacher judgements made about student achievement.

As a next step for further determining student progress and achievement, it could be helpful for the principal to report on the levels of achievement that students have when enrolling. This information could then be compared with their achievement results after one year and after two years at school and used to review the effectiveness of teaching programmes and board resourcing decisions.

Students are confident and enjoy positive relationships with adults and classmates. They engage well in classroom programmes. Teachers have high expectations for students’ learning and use data effectively and in a timely manner to promote ongoing student progress. Students use their progress and achievement information to set individual achievement targets with their teachers. These practices help students to work purposefully towards achieving expectations.

Leaders and teachers know students and their families/whānau very well. The board and leaders implement a variety of appropriate strategies to support students who are at risk of not achieving. These strategies include:

  • employing a teacher above allocation to increase teacher/student interactions
  • closely monitoring individual progress to identify the effectiveness of extra support provided for these students
  • using external support agencies.

The principal could now report to the board on the impact of these strategies on outcomes for students to ensure the board has good knowledge about their effectiveness.

Parents are well informed about the progress and achievement of their children in relation to the National Standards. All parents receive two written reports and participate in at least two discussions with teachers each year. The principal is introducing three-way conferences where students will fully participate in reporting on their progress and achievement against their personal learning goals.

3 Curriculum

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

Pukekawa School’s curriculum promotes and supports students learning very well. It is well aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and reflects the school’s own context. It fosters student independence and encourages cooperative learning.

The curriculum is well resourced. There are many opportunities for students to have input into the learning programmes. The implementation of the Pukekawa inquiry model and Enviro Schools programme has encouraged students to follow their own interests.

Teachers use effective teaching practices that include:

  • making good use of students’ interests to plan for learning and to meet students' individual learning needs
  • helping to increase students' ownership of learning and achievement
  • using student achievement information to inquire into the effectiveness of their own teaching practice on student progress.

Teachers participate in relevant professional learning and development. This has resulted in improved student engagement. Teachers have a greater understanding of how information and communication technologies can enrich students' learning.

The board has a strong commitment to ensuring that the school is well informed about current best practice in education. The principal should continue to report to the board on the impact of teacher professional learning and development on student achievement.

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

The board and teachers continue to be proactive in promoting educational success for Māori as Māori. The principal and teachers have implemented research-based initiatives to build closer relationships with whānau. They are also consulting with whānau on ways to further promote educational success for Māori as Māori. Initiatives include:

  • Māori representation on the board
  • using the Ministry of Education Māori Education Strategy Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017, to inform school programmes
  • teachers participating in professional learning to enhance their understandings of bicultural teaching and learning.

Māori students are achieving similar or better results than their peers in relation to the National Standards. Their progress is closely monitored and regularly reported to the board, both separately and in relation to all students’ achievement.

Board policies and procedures support the school's commitment to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. The board is aware of the potential benefits from ensuring that Pukekawa School seeks further ways to:

  • continue strengthening partnerships with whānau
  • raise the confidence of teachers to use te reo and tikanga Māori
  • review the effectiveness of strategies to promote Māori success as Māori.

Further strengthening these areas of school performance should continue to extend Māori children's confidence in their identity, language and culture as tangata whenua of Aotearoa New Zealand.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Pukekawa School is well placed to sustain ongoing development and capability. It has a culture of continuous improvement. The board and principal ensures there is a solid foundation of systems and processes to efficiently manage the school. Effective self-review processes bring about appropriate improvement and could be strengthened by ensuring that they are more evaluative.

The board of trustees comprises a good mix of experienced and recently elected members. Trustees are highly supportive of the school leadership and are committed to their roles. Trustees bring a variety of expertise and willingly participate in governance training. They acknowledge that newer trustees would benefit from further training.

Trustees are well informed by the principal and teachers, and school strategic decision-making is based on student learning needs. The board has good systems in place to foster an inclusive and supportive environment for students and to ensure school accountabilities are met.

The school is led by an experienced principal who works effectively with the board, staff and community. She is supported by a cohesive team of teachers. Staff are collaborative and team-orientated, helping to ensure student wellbeing and positive school experiences are emphasised.

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.


Students at Pukekawa School experience an inclusive, caring school environment. Students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. Teachers know and cater well for the individual wellbeing and learning needs of students. The school values its rural learning opportunities and its long standing family associations.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 December 2015

School Statistics



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

18 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Supplementary Review

November 2012

November 2009

October 2006