Puketapu School (New Plymouth) - 04/06/2019

School Context

Puketapu School, New Plymouth caters for students in Years 1 to 8. Of the 357 learners enrolled 43% identify as Māori, 4% are of Pacific heritage and 4% Indian. The school has experienced significant roll growth since the 2016 ERO review.

The school vision statement of ‘Empowering All People to be Healthy LifeLong Learners’ is underpinned by the values of kia kaha – do your best, kia māia – be courageous and kia manawanui – have a heart.

The school’s strategic aims are focused on ako, nurturing hauora, honouring Te Tiriti and sustainability. Its annual student achievement target for 2018 focused on improving learning outcomes for students in mathematics.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for target students in mathematics.

Almost all staff members, including the leadership team, have been employed since the May 2016 ERO review, with many being new in 2019. The principal was appointed in Term 4 2016.

The school is involved in professional development in mathematics and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L).

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 has yet to achieve equity and excellence for all its students.

Achievement data shows a small majority of all students achieve at expected curriculum levels in reading, writing and mathematics. Less than half of Māori learners achieve at expectations in literacy and less than half of boys achieve their expected curriculum level in writing.

There is disparity for Māori, who achieve below their peers in literacy and mathematics. The achievement of boys is significantly below that of girls in literacy.

Learners with additional needs are appropriately identified, their needs recognised and programmes of support put in place. External expertise effectively supports this provision.

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

Those students who are at risk of not achieving expected levels are identified, monitored and well known by teachers and leaders.

School-presented achievement data shows that there has been success in improving progress for some students within targeted programmes. Establishing a clearer picture of where and for whom accelerated progress is occurring, should support the school to measure its overall effectiveness and inform next steps to improve outcomes for priority learners.

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?

The principal has led the development of a collegial and collaborative school culture that values students and staff. School practices are grounded in positive relationships. A respectful and inclusive environment where school values are known and enacted is highly evident. These are promoted through the PB4L initiative. Staff connect authentically to students’ worlds to promote success, engagement, resilience and positive learning attitudes. This has the potential to enable students to experience success.

Leaders and teachers strongly advocate for and support children to be confident and connected. Teachers work to promote children’s interests, understanding of learning and to see themselves as active learners. They have begun to focus on how changes to their practice will improve learner outcomes for target students.

A range of purposeful learning contexts are evident. Positive relationships encourage open, learning conversations and the strengths that each person brings are valued. Students learn in calm, settled environments. Children are given meaningful leadership opportunities.

Trustees, leaders and teachers actively promote a culturally responsive curriculum. Leadership emphasises the value of Tiriti o Waitangi. They place a strong focus on the local Puketapu hāpori (community). The school is closely connected to the natural environment and local people contribute to enriching the emerging curriculum.

The principal and deputy principal are future focused and provide opportunities for leadership growth. They continue to build collective capacity across the school and ensure that wellbeing of staff is a priority.

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

Addressing the low achievement and significant disparity is an urgent next step for the school so that learners can achieve equitable and excellent outcomes.

ERO and school leaders are aware of the need to use achievement data more effectively. Developing shared understandings of data literacy and acceleration should support more effective analysis of achievement data. Enhancing deliberate teaching strategies and continued monitoring of progress and acceleration for all groups of students at risk of not achieving is a next step. To better inform decision making, regular reporting to the board should clearly identify priority groups including Māori, boys, girls and students with additional needs, showing rates of progress in each learning area.

Developing schoolwide systems and processes to promote ongoing improvement and quality assurance in the areas of curriculum, appraisal and internal evaluation is a priority to ensure consistency of implementation.

The school curriculum has developed the key components that set the direction for the school. Leaders have worked to strengthen guidance documents, and collaborative planning is likely to promote consistency of practice. ERO agrees that leaders should continue to develop and document the Puketapu curriculum to better reflect the valued outcomes that guide learning programmes. To strengthen the strategic focus, trustees and leaders need to collaborate with whānau Māori to develop a plan to include indicators of success for Māori learners.

Leaders agree that the implementation of the teacher appraisal policy requires development to ensure the process is consistent for all. This will mean teachers are appraised annually, quality feedback is provided in relation to the Standards for the Teaching Profession, and all staff have a job description.

Further developing a shared understanding and use of internal evaluation is a key next step. This should enable trustees, leaders and teachers to know what has the most significant impact on raising achievement, and what is needed to sustain ongoing improvement of equity and excellence.

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 Children’s Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO ‘s overall evaluation judgement of Puketapu School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Needs development.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • a culture of collaboration among leaders and teachers to support a collective response to the needs of all learners

  • responsive teaching and learning environments that contribute to student engagement in learning

  • culturally responsive practices that promote a sense of belonging for all children.

Next steps

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

  • strengthening inquiry and analysis of achievement information, by trustees, leaders and teachers, to systematically address low achievement and in-school disparities

  • continuing to develop and document the Puketapu curriculum, to better reflect valued outcomes that guide learning programmes

  • ensuring a consistent appraisal system is implemented to build teacher capability

  • building internal evaluation to better determine the effectiveness of programmes and actions on student outcomes.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to the appraisal of all teaching staff.

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

  • ensure that all teachers are fully appraised annually.
    [77C State Sector Act 1988; NZ Gazette and relevant Collective Employment Agreement].

Areas for improved compliance practice

To improve current practice, the board of trustees should:

  • ensure the reporting of other student outcomes such as analysed attendance data and student survey results.

  • analyse and report the outcomes of the health curriculum consultation.

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services Central

Central Region

4 June 2019

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 52%, Female 48%

Ethnic composition

Māori 43%
NZ European/Pākehā 42%
Pacific 4%
Indian 4%
Other ethnic groups 7%

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

April 2019

Date of this report

4 June 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review May 2016
Education Review May 2013