Pukekohe High School - 20/09/2018

School Context

Pukekohe High School is a coeducational secondary school catering for students in Years 9 to 15 from Pukekohe and its surrounding areas. At the time of the review the school roll was 1673 including 21% of students who are of Māori descent. In 2018, the roll has increased by more than 100 students.

A new whare wānanga, Te Hikoi, was opened in December 2017. The school acknowledges the importance of building authentic relationships and interactions with Ngā Hau e Whā o Pukekohe marae and Ngāti Tamaoho. The school is part of Te Waikato Tainui Kawenata.

Since the previous ERO evaluation there has been significant staff turnover, including several acting positions in the leadership team. A new principal began at the school during the onsite phase of the 2018 ERO review.

The school’s mission is to provide a positive place of learning – he wāhi whaimana ki te rapu mātauranga. The vision empowers students to be confident, connected, actively involved, life-long learners. The school’s aims are that each student:

  • improves their academic performance
  • gains qualifications and competencies to equip them for a successful future
  • experiences a school community that is safe and respectful
  • has opportunities for personal growth and development.

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

  • achievement in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and University Entrance (UE)

  • aspects of achievement across the curriculum for Years 9 and 10.

The school has been involved in a range of professional learning and development initiatives including Kia Eke Panuku; Culturally Responsive and Relational Pedagogy; Restorative Practices; Secondary Achievement Contract; ART– Achievement, Retention and Transition; and the introduction of a new student management system.

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 not achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

2017 achievement data indicates that the majority of students achieved well in NCEA. Less than half of Year 13 students achieved UE. At each level of NCEA and UE there has been a downward trend of overall attainment since the 2015 ERO evaluation.

2017 achievement information also shows a small majority of Māori students achieved NCEA Level 1 and half achieved NCEA Level 3. Less than half of Māori students achieved NCEA Level 2 and UE. Māori students achieved at significantly lower rates than Pākehā at all levels of NCEA and UE. This trend has continued over time. However in 2017, the disparity in UE was significantly reduced.

The majority of Pacific students achieved NCEA Level 1, half achieved NCEA Level 2, and a few achieved NCEA Level 3 and UE. Of concern is the low attainment rates at NCEA Level 3 (17%) and UE (0%) in 2017. Pacific students achieved significantly lower than Pākehā at all levels of NCEA and UE. Significant disparity at all levels of NCEA and UE between these two groups has continued over time.

School leavers’ data shows that Māori and Pacific students have lower retention rates to senior levels than Pākehā students. Fewer Māori and Pacific students leave school with NCEA Level 2 qualifications than Pākehā students.

Male students achieve less well than female students at all levels of NCEA and UE. There is a significant gender disparity at Levels 1, 3 and UE and this gap has widened over time. NCEA attainment rates for male students at all levels is declining.

Achievement information for Years 9 and 10 shows that overall the majority of students achieved well in relation to the expected curriculum levels for writing and half of students achieved in mathematics. However, significant disparity is evident for Māori and Pacific students’ achievement in relation to Pākehā in writing and mathematics. Females achieved at significantly lower levels than males in mathematics.

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

The school is not accelerating learning for those Māori, Pacific and other students who need this.

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?

ERO is not confident in the school’s processes and practices necessary to achieve equity and excellence for all students.

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

Several processes and practices need urgent development as follows:

Developing the understanding of leaders and teachers about the effective use and analysis of achievement information to accelerate learners’ progress and achievement is needed. Raising student achievement for Māori, Pacific and male learners school-wide must be prioritised. This should include:

  • establishing clear targets that are focused on accelerating progress and achievement for at-risk students at all levels of the school

  • developing a shared understanding of accelerated progress to improve outcomes for learners most at risk

  • building and implementing an effective and consistent tracking and monitoring system of students at risk from Years 9 – 13

  • ensuring that robust processes for internal moderation for NZQA standards are embedded.

Strengthening the capability and capacity of leaders and teachers to inquire into their practice in order to improve learner outcomes. This should support prioritising the effective strategies and indicators of high-quality practice at Pukekohe High School.

Consulting with key stakeholders about the approach to and embedding of effective culturally responsive and relational pedagogy and practice at all levels of the school, and ensure it is appropriate, meaningful and coherent. This needs to be the key school priority for improving student outcomes.

Establishing reciprocal partnerships with Māori and the local community to inform school-wide change and improvement. Priority must be placed on developing a coordinated, collaborative and purposeful approach to improvement and effectively communicate this schoolwide.

Building stewardship and school-wide leadership capability and capacity to lead change and improvement for Pukekohe High School. This should include developing clear lines of responsibility, reporting and accountability, and communicating these schoolwide.

Ensuring effective differentiation in programmes of learning to respond to student need is a key next step. Developing more authentic learning experiences to facilitate students building meaningful pathways through and beyond the school.

Establishing school-wide understanding of evaluation, inquiry and knowledge building is needed. This should support knowing the effectiveness of appraisal, professional learning and development, interventions, initiatives, and programmes of learning have on improving teacher capability and raising student outcomes. Prioritising the effective initiatives and innovations and ensuring they are embedded in practice is essential for sustainability and inform ongoing improvement and innovation.

Many of the areas identified for development in the 2015 ERO report remain.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Appraisal audit

Building leaders’ and teachers’ understanding of Education Council requirements for the endorsement of practising certificates is urgently required.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code.

At the time of this review there were 38 international students attending the school, including three exchange students.

International students receive good-quality pastoral care. They enjoy being part of the Pukekohe High School community. Self review is used well to develop and refine processes for supporting international students. An identified next step is to improve liaison between the international student department and other areas of the school.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the endorsement of teachers’ practising certificates, analysis of variance completion and submission, and staff appointment procedures.

In order to address this, the board of trustees must:

  1. ensure appropriate procedures are developed and implemented for the issuing and renewing of practising teacher certificates as required by the Education Council
    [Part 31 Education Act 1989]
  2. provide a statement of the analysis of variance between the school’s performance and the relevant aims, objectives, directions, priorities, or targets set out in the school charter
    [NAG 8]
  3. ensure that appointments made follow school policy and formally include all aspects of the safety checking requirements
    [Vulnerable Children Act 2014]

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the practices and procedures of the school are robustly reviewed to align with the recently purchased policy package

  • develop clear lines of accountability to strengthen reporting to trustees the assurances required. Of urgency is the requirement for health and safety, student wellbeing, and progress and achievement of at-risk students.

4 Going forward

Next steps

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

  • a robust targeted response to raise and accelerate achievement, particularly for Māori and Pacific and boys school-wide

  • embedding high-quality culturally responsive practice

  • building understanding for the effective use of data to inform appropriate decision making at all levels

  • extending stewardship and leadership capacity and capability

  • strengthening internal evaluation practices.

Recommendation to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association consider providing support for the school in order to bring about improvement in:

  • understanding of stewardship roles and responsibilities

  • leadership of learning to accelerate progress of all at-risk learners

  • culturally responsive pedagogy

  • managing change.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO intends to carry out a process of ongoing external evaluation to support development over the course of one-to-two years.

Adrienne Fowler

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

20 September 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 9–15)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 51%, Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori 21%
Pākehā 58%
Asian 9%
Pacific 7%
Other 5%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

20 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review June 2015
Education Review August 2012
Education Review June 2010