Pukepoto School - 20/07/2016


Pukepoto School now provides good quality teaching and learning programmes. There is a distinct and positive whānau feeling in the school that reflects children’s Te Rarawa descent. Leadership and governance has improved and continued growth should embed recent positive developments. The school is well placed to promote increased achievement and improved learning outcomes for all children. 

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Pukepoto is a small school serving the community west of Kaitaia. The school has done this for more than 140 years. Most of the children are of Te Rarawa descent and have had family members who have attended the school over several generations.

The 2009 ERO review identified concerns with the school’s curriculum. The 2013 ERO review noted further concerns with teaching and learning, particularly assessment processes, and with leadership, management systems and governance.

Over the two years of ERO’s longitudinal review the board, principal and teachers have had a range of external support and professional learning and development. This has provided the platform for them to make some very worthwhile progress towards improving the quality of teaching and learning and governance and management systems in the school.

The teaching staff have worked concertedly to create vibrant classrooms where children collaborate and are engaged and interested in their learning. Teachers’ strong focus on creating settled and productive classrooms and improving learning is beginning to be reflected in better learning outcomes for children.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

ERO and the board identified that in order to improve outcomes for children it would be necessary to:

  • ensure teaching and learning meets the needs of all children and accelerates the progress of children achieving below national standards
  • develop leadership and management systems to support the effective implementation of the curriculum and the running of the school
  • increase the quality of governance in particular around strategic planning, performance appraisal, self-review and reporting.


As a result of extensive teacher professional development, children are now benefitting from good quality teaching and learning across the school. Teachers in all three classrooms work very well as a team to provide curriculum programmes that are relevant and interesting to children and reflect the local history and children’s heritage. Children are also getting good opportunities for hands on and practical learning.

Teachers are helping children to understand their learning, progress and achievement and the strategies that can help them to learn. Teachers use assessment information well to identify children’s specific needs and to set individual and group goals for children’s learning, particularly in literacy and numeracy. Teaching approaches in these subjects are tailored to meet the needs of individual learners.

While the majority of children are not yet meeting the National Standards in reading writing and mathematics, improved assessment practices are enabling teachers to better monitor children’s increasing progress. Positive learning outcomes that teachers observe in children include increased engagement, better attendance, more on task behaviour, use of a greater range of learning strategies and increased collaboration and persistence with learning tasks.

There is a strong and appropriate emphasis on building a shared language of learning so that children and teachers can talk about the learning process. This is enabling teachers to hone in on how children learn so that they are better able to support them. It is also giving children a foundation to understand their next learning steps and to take greater ownership of their learning.

Teachers set high expectations for learning and behaviour and promote the values of manakitanga, ako, whanaunatanga and whakanui. They provide children with a framework of well-established routines. As a result, children have a sense of belonging and classrooms have a positive and productive tone. Māori protocols including karakia are part of the daily programme. Children work well together and classroom displays and children’s work books provide good examples of their success.

Teachers are positive about the potential benefits of recent professional development they have done to become familiar with the Ministry of Education’s Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT). This together with moderating assessments with other local schools is likely to help them to increase the reliability and validity of their overall assessment judgements in relation to National Standards.

The principal has developed a curriculum document that reflects work that has been done in the school over a number of years. It shows links to The New Zealand Curriculum framework and reflects the school’s mission statement and vision. It provides sufficient guidance for teachers to plan their teaching programmes. Further work and planned consultation with teachers, parents and whānau should help to ensure that this document becomes more coherent, includes the school’s approaches to te reo and tikanga and continues to reflect parents’ aspirations for their children.

Key next steps

The teaching staff and ERO identified that key next steps for development and review are to:

  • continue to focus on lifting achievement and accelerating the progress of children who are not achieving the National Standards
  • collaboratively embed and extend the progress made to provide and document a child-centred and responsive curriculum that challenges and supports children’s progress and achievement
  • build on teaching as inquiry approaches to establish a cycle of self-evaluation that enables teachers to determine the impact of teaching strategies on learning outcomes for children
  • establish partnerships with parents that effectively promote children’s learning.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is sufficiently well placed to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance.

School leadership, management and reporting systems have been strengthened. The teaching team has been empowered to share in the educational leadership of the school. Together with the principal they have improved management and reporting systems so that the school operates more effectively to promote children’s learning.

A staff handbook has been developed with supporting procedures that provide clear expectations for staff and children. Roles and responsibilities have been clarified and this is helping to ensure that processes are more timely and increasingly well-ordered and coordinated.

Appraisal processes have been developed and up dated to incorporate the new requirements of the Practicing Teacher Criteria. Teachers are now setting performance goals that are linked to the school’s strategic goals and targets and are engaging in inquiries into the effectiveness of their teaching practices. They are receiving worthwhile feedback and support from each other along with feedback and modelling from external professional learning and development providers. They are finding this affirming and motivating and it is helping them to improve their teaching.

The board is currently comprised of some longer standing trustees who have benefitted from learning and development that has increased their understanding of their governance role. Trustees are very committed to supporting the sustainability of the school and ensuring it functions well for children. They are very supportive of the teaching team and appreciate and use the information about student learning outcomes that is now being regularly reported to them.

Trustees have built their understanding of aspects of their governance role in relation to personnel including appointments and principal appraisal. This has been achieved through experience and reflection. In particular, they have a better understanding of their role:

  • in setting and monitoring performance expectations for the principal,
  • negotiating a performance agreement with the principal
  • ensuring that the principal’s appraisal process is robust.

The board has established a useful cycle of policy review that should help to ensure that the school’s policies reflect current legislation and remain fit for purpose.

Key next steps

ERO and the board and principal agree that key next steps are to:

  • strategically identify the areas where trustees need to further their governance knowledge, and plan and undertake relevant training to address the areas identified
  • look for ways to maintain and extend communication with other boards to share knowledge and experiences with a view to coordinating initiatives and improving governance practice
  • make reference to ERO’s publications about student safety and staff employment and the requirements of the Vulnerable Children’s Act when reviewing relevant policies
  • continue growing partnership with parents through ongoing consultation including consultation about the option for bilingual education.

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.


Pukepoto School now provides good quality teaching and learning programmes. There is a distinct and positive whānau feeling in the school that reflects children’s Te Rarawa descent. Leadership and governance has improved and continued growth should embed recent positive developments. The school is well placed to promote increased achievement and improved learning outcomes for all children.

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

20 June 2016

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 20 Girls 17

Ethnic composition





Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

20 June 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

June 2013

October 2009

November 2006