Pukepoto School - 13/06/2013

1 Context

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

Pukepoto School is a small rural school near Kaitaia. The three teacher school has a significant 140 year history and is well maintained. Many members of the community and the board attended the school as students. The school remains an important centre of community activities. The current principal is a long-serving member of staff and has been the school’s leader for six years.

Just over 40 children attend classes from Year 1 to 6. Māori students of Te Rarawa descent make up most of the roll. A feature is the small numbers of children in each of the classrooms. Members of the board are committed to governing the school effectively. They have provided support for the principal to strengthen leadership practices and to enable him to manage ongoing development more effectively.

In 2009 ERO reported that an effective self-review programme was needed to identify priorities aligned to the school’s strategic plan. Strategic self review continues to be an area for development.

2 Learning

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

The school is not yet making full use of student achievement information to make positive changes to students’ learning. Achievement information in relation to the National Standards should be better analysed and reported, so that trustees can set useful targets and make more informed decisions.

Teachers use achievement information to identify students’ learning needs. Students who are underachieving are withdrawn from classrooms for literacy learning support. The teacher aide works with teachers to provide additional support for specific children in classroom learning programmes. Teachers could do more to personalise learning programmes and support students to become confident self-managing learners.

Positive relationships between teachers and students support classroom learning. Teachers regularly monitor children’s progress using nationally standardised tests. Students participate in report meetings where teachers share their progress and goals with whānau.

Teachers have had little support for implementing the National Standards and for making overall teacher judgements about children’s learning progress and achievement. There are gaps in teachers’ professional knowledge about the use of assessment information for planning and evaluating their practice.

It is important that the principal plans for teacher development in using assessment to improve teaching and learning. Key areas that need attention include:

  • developing overall teacher judgements in relation to the National Standards
  • setting measurable achievement targets in relation to the National Standards
  • analysing, dating and reporting on the achievement of charter targets
  • using assessment information and other tools to help teachers reflect more deeply on their practice, with a view to continual improvement.

3 Curriculum

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

Progress has been made to improve curriculum learning programmes. Following the 2009 ERO review the principal undertook an extensive review of the school curriculum with the support of external advisers. As a result, teachers have developed a new framework, based on The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), for planning a more theme-based approach to learning.

Teachers have incorporated the principles and learning competencies of the NZC into their planning. They are now using integrated learning topics that are more relevant to students. Where possible they use local resources and contexts that children understand and relate to. Curriculum learning resources should now be reviewed to make classroom equipment easier for teachers and students to access.

The school’s curriculum prioritises literacy and numeracy learning. Children also enjoy swimming, other physical activities, and school camps. Excursions into the community and to the local marae provide children with worthwhile learning experiences. They have opportunities for learning about the natural environment. Students would benefit from a well designed school-wide te reo and tikanga Māori programme. This programme could draw on strengths in the community and amongst the staff, and further reflect Māori cultural identity more meaningfully in the learning environment.

The curriculum development is not yet complete. Teachers need ongoing support to sustain the positive changes they have made and to make further improvements in teaching and learning. They should increase students’ participation in monitoring and planning their learning by sharing individual achievement information. This will allow students to understand their progress and next steps better.

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

The school’s roll is currently ninety percent Māori. Students know their whānau and iwi connections and have strong cultural backgrounds. Their whānau support the school and many were past pupils. The staff and board also relate strongly to their Māori heritage and know the local and school history well.

The school curriculum does not utilise the potential of local whānau and iwi to help the school develop strategies for supporting success for Māori students. The board should examine Ka Hikitia, the Ministry of Education goals for strengthening outcomes for Māori students. Trustees should use these guidelines, in consultation with the community, to review the school’s charter, vision and strategic plan.

The principal should document a plan to support Ka Hikitia. His plan to introduce the resource Tātaiako, to support teachers’ reflections on culturally responsive teaching practices is timely.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is not well placed to sustain good practices or improve its performance. Trustees are aware of the need to review school management systems and improve the quality of planning and reporting.

Trustees bring valuable skills to support their roles. However, school development and progress since the 2009 ERO review has been limited. Student achievement information in relation to the National Standards is unreliable and does not allow trustees to set informed targets and goals.

There is little planned self review to support school improvement. School management systems and policies are outdated. The principal must seek advice in order to improve the quality of leadership provided to the board and the staff. The board has made the decision to release the principal to bring about required improvements. Key areas for improvement include:

  • annual planning related to identified priorities for staff development and student achievement targets
  • collation, analysis and reporting of student achievement information
  • forward planning based on self review.

The board should seek an experienced appraiser for the principal to support a professional, planned approach to leadership and school development. ERO is not confident that improvements in school management can be achieved without external support. ERO also recommends that the board seek advice from the Ministry of Education to support ongoing school improvement.

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 areas of non-compliance relating to teacher appraisal and student wellbeing. In order to comply with legislative requirements the board must:
  1. ensure that teacher appraisal is consistent with the Registered Teacher Criteria and promotes high levels of staff performance [National Administration Guideline 3]
  2. ensure that school documentation regarding accidents, hazard management, health education and education outside the classroom is up to date, monitored and reported regularly to the board of trustees. [National Administration Guideline 5].

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that:

  • The Secretary for Education considers what support should be given to the board of trustees to assist it to meet its legal obligations in reporting on National Standards in the board’s annual report and how these data are used to form targets for the school strategic plan and charter.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

13 June 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 27

Girls 18

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





Review team on site

February 2013

Date of this report

13 June 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2009

November 2006

May 2003