Pukenui School (Kaitaia) - 04/10/2017


Pukenui School, a Year 1 to 8 rural school on the Te Aūpouri Peninsula north of Kaitaia, provides a responsive curriculum that effectively engages both children and the local community. Half of the children on the roll identify as Maori, many of whom affiliate to Ngati Kuri and Te Aūpoui iwi.

All children, including Māori, achieve very well in relation to Government goals and targets. Teachers meet children’s learning needs effectively, and enable those who are below the expected standards to progress quickly. Children enjoy relevant inquiry learning that develops thinking and problem solving skills.

The school is welcoming of new families and provides a caring and inclusive environment. Community members support the school well, contributing to and attending sport, art and wellbeing activities, and assisting children with additional learning needs.

The many long serving staff, including the principal, provide stability and consistency that benefits school performance. Teachers’ willingness to share their professional teaching practice, together with continued high levels of student achievement reflect a commitment to continuous improvement.

A persistent challenge for school leaders is strengthening te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum. Trustees agree that next steps are to extend the quality of internal evaluation and sustainability of current good practice.  

How well is the school achieving equitable outcomes for all children?

The school has effective practices to achieve equitable outcomes for all children. These practices reflect the board’s overall goal that all children will achieve at or above the expected standard for their year level. In 2016, 93 percent and 94 percent of all students achieved the respective standard in reading and mathematics, and 82 percent achieved the standard in writing.

The school proudly reports on improved outcomes for Māori learners over the past three years. Ninety percent of Māori students, who comprise the majority of the school roll, achieved the reading and mathematics standards. School leaders recognise, and have taken steps to address, the disparity in achievement in writing between boys and girls, and Maori and non-Māori students.

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

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

Equity and excellence

How effectively does this school respond to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school responds effectively to Māori and other children whose learning and achievement need acceleration.

The school’s inclusive climate supports learning and achievement for all students. Children respect the school’s values and expectations to be kind, caring and responsible. Outcomes for students with learning and behaviour needs are well managed. Children’s learning progress is closely monitored and responded to through teachers’ differentiated planning and additional classroom resourcing.

Teachers use a range of appropriate strategies to assess children’s progress and achievement. Children who are not on track to meet expected standards are promptly identified. School leaders work collaboratively with classroom teachers and agencies to target the specific needs of children whose learning and achievement needs acceleration.

There are several target children at each year level, predominately Māori boys. Most of these children make good progress, and teachers in some classes can clearly demonstrate evidence of accelerated progress. To sustain these good practices, teachers should evaluate the impact of different approaches used to accelerate the learning of target children. 

Children across the school, including Māori children, achieve very well. Their overall achievement in relation to the National Standards is consistently above Government targets, and above averages for local and similar New Zealand schools. Teachers moderate their assessments internally to gain consistency and reliability in their overall judgements.

School leaders have introduced strategies to sustain and further improve equitable outcomes. These include the use of individual learning plans, goal setting, and working with whānau as partners in learning. Teachers should now deepen their understanding of accelerated learning approaches, and ensure evidence-based reflective practices are more evident in their professional inquiries. 

Ongoing improvement in Māori student achievement has been evident over the past three years. There is now greater parity between Māori and non-Māori learners. However, the school has identified some persistent disparity in writing achievement between boys and girls. Strategies currently used by the school to accelerate learning include:

  • targeted daily teaching with clear learning intentions
  • the introduction of digital technologies to support learning
  • additional teacher aides within classrooms programmes
  • students’ use of specific and measurable goals.

School conditions supporting equity and excellence

What school processes are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

The school has sustained positive outcomes for children over an extended period. Successive ERO reports have identified the school’s successes in terms of valued outcomes, and high levels of student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

Long serving leadership, including that of the principal, together with experienced staff and trustees, has enabled the school to build strong partnerships with its local community. Generations of families have attended the school and many continue to provide valued support for the curriculum.

High expectations for students helps them to become responsible and confident learners. Other valued competencies relate to the development of inquiry processes, including thinking skills. The school’s values of kindness and inclusion help children who are new to the school experience a successful transition.

Teachers continue to gain professional knowledge and understanding of good practice. They attend professional learning opportunities and share collaboratively. Teachers work collaboratively and share classroom practices that make a positive difference to learners’ progress and achievement. Teachers are embedding the use of school wide digital technologies to better engage all learners.

Best practice in teaching and learning include the ways teacher model and explain progress in literacy and mathematics for children. Teachers also share learning expectations with children and help them to track their own learning progress and develop next learning steps. Classrooms that use mixed ability groupings, encourage student voice, and share exemplars, make learning more accessible and support children to become independent learners.

School leaders and trustees provide extra resources to meet students’ different learning needs. Teachers work with social and health promoting services and local initiatives where possible, and communicate regularly with families whose children have additional learning needs.

The principal’s analysis and reporting of data in relation to student achievement assists the board to make informed decisions to promote equity and excellence. Long term plans and annual goals are reviewed strategically and relate to the identified areas for school improvement.

Sustainable development for equity and excellence

What further developments are needed in school processes to achieve equity and excellence?

School leaders agree that further developments in achieving equity and excellence in outcomes for learners should continue to focus on:

  • building teachers’ shared understanding of accelerated learning progress
  • using evidence-based inquiry in teacher reflections and appraisal processes
  • embedding a stronger emphasis on te reo and tikanga Māori in the curriculum
  • documenting expectations of professional practice to gain consistency and sustain good practices in teaching and learning.

ERO noted, and trustees agree, that a more systematic planning approach would assist the board to manage its role. An overview aligning strategic goals, policy review and organisational procedures would support the board to sustain and evaluate its own operations.

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
  • 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.

Actions required

The board of trustees should:

  • ensure that the principal has a robust annual appraisal and a signed performance agreement

NZ Ed Gazette: and relevant employment agreement.

Going forward

How well placed is the school to accelerate the achievement of all children who need it?

Learners are achieving well. The school demonstrates strong progress toward achieving equity in educational outcomes, supported by effective, sustainable processes and practices.

Agreed next steps are to:

  • strengthen the use of teaching as inquiry to deepen teachers’ reflective inquiry practices
  • continue to develop consistent approaches that promote students as agents of learning
  • enrich the curriculum through te reo and tikanga Māori learning experiences.

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

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern
Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

4 October 2017

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls       52%,
Boys      48%

Ethnic composition



Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

4 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review Education Review
Education Review

  September 2014
  September 2011