Pukenui School (Kaitaia) - 29/09/2014

1 Context

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

Pukenui School is a small, rural school located in the Northland on the Te Aūpouri Peninsula. It provides a welcoming culture for students in Years 1 to 8. Māori students are affiliated mainly to Ngāti Kuri and Te Aūpouri iwi. The school is the hub of the community which has long-standing and inter-generational connections with the school.

School trustees, staff and the community are proud of their school and the opportunities that it provides for students. The school’s vision is for students to strive to be the best that they can be. This is characterised by caring and inclusive practices of the ‘Pukenui Way.’ The vision is reflected in the high expectations that trustees, school leaders and staff have for all students to experience success and achieve.

Students are friendly, confident and respectful. They benefit from a settled and positive school tone. The facilities include a well-resourced library, a native tree plantation, and well-maintained gardens and grounds.

2 Learning

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

The school uses student achievement information well to make positive changes for learners. Trustees use this information to set relevant goals and to guide the board’s decision making. One example is the board’s resourcing for targeted professional development to support teachers to raise students’ writing achievement.

The principal and teachers regularly monitor students’ progress. The school’s information indicates that students achieve very well in reading and mathematics in relation to National Standards. In these areas the school has already met the Ministry of Education’s 2017 goals for student achievement. Students achieving below expectations are identified and participate in individual learning programmes to help meet their needs.

The principal and teachers acknowledge that more focused partnerships with families and whānau could help to lift the achievement of students not yet making expected progress. They recognise the importance of further evaluating what they and parents/whānau know about students’ learning strengths and needs. Such knowledge would help teachers to make innovative decisions about how best to support students’ learning and accelerate their progress.

Teachers use achievement information to evaluate the effectiveness of their own teaching. More formal and increased analysis of class-based data would help teachers to strengthen this process. Senior leaders agree that this is an important priority for the school.

Students are well engaged and enjoy participating in their learning. Teachers could strengthen students’ knowledge of their achievement to support them to set focused learning goals and monitor their own progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum is very effective in promoting and supporting student learning. Programmes appropriately place a strong focus on literacy and mathematics. Students learn through inquiry-based approaches for other curriculum areas.

Curriculum programmes are often based around authentic contexts of the natural features in the local environment. These features include the nearby harbour, forest, beaches, farms and orchards. Parents, local organisations and community members support teachers to offer engaging learning experiences for students.

Some very good teaching practices are evident. Teachers are committed to strengthening their practice and are benefitting from relevant and focused professional development.

Senior leaders and teachers agree that next steps for supporting student learning include:

  • increasing opportunities for students to develop their thinking skills
  • enabling students to learn through using information technologies (ICT)
  • continuing to develop a bicultural curriculum

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

Pukenui School promotes educational success for Māori students as Māori. 60 percent of students identify as Māori. Tikanga Māori is well respected within the school. Senior students proudly lead whakatau, to welcome visitors to the school. Their leadership and participation in mihi and waiata enables them to enact tikanga in line with customary practice.

Some students are competent in speaking te reo Māori. They express pride in the recognition and acknowledgement of their language and culture. A recent initiative, supported by a volunteer from the local community, is supporting junior students to learn te reo and tikanga Māori. Students indicate that they enjoy this programme.

Whānau are supporting children to learn te reo Māori and they contribute to developing class environments that reflect New Zealand’s unique heritage. The principal consults with Māori whānau and shares information about their children’s achievement.

Trustees and staff recognise that relevant Ministry of Education resources could strengthen staff understanding of Māori students’ success as Māori. They also agree that Māori students could have further opportunities to:

  • develop higher levels of competency in te reo Māori
  • use and share their knowledge of the local Māori heritage.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. The school benefits from high levels of commitment and support from its board of trustees and its long-serving staff.

The board is well led and trustees bring a broad range of expertise to their roles. Further professional training could develop trustees’ understanding of their roles in guiding the school’s direction. Trustees value the combined strength of community, parent and whānau involvement in the school.

The school is well led and managed. The principal engages inclusively with students, staff and the community. She works collaboratively with staff to promote student success. Staff are keen to participate in external professional learning but are often hindered in this by the school’s isolation.

The board and staff use a range of self-review practices. They recognise the advantages of developing more cohesive self review that is aligned to the school’s strategic goals. Reports to the board could also be more evaluative to show how well these goals are progressing and how effectively school initiatives are impacting on student learning.

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.


Pukenui School is the hub of the community and provides a welcoming environment for students and their families. Student achievement results are generally high and students participate in many relevant learning experiences. Curriculum programmes are often based around natural features in the local environment. The school is well led and managed.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 43, Boys 38

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

July 2014

Date of this report

29 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

September 2011
September 2008
December 2005