Puketapu School (New Plymouth) - 13/05/2013

1 Context

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

Puketapu School is a Year 1 to 8 school located in Bell Block, New Plymouth. The Board of Trustees and staff demonstrate a determination to enhance children’s hauora (wellbeing) and to progress their academic development. Whakatauki Ngaauaratanga o Ratou, the school’s values and vision positioned in Manaakitia (respect), Whakatutuki (achievement) and Whakamanatia (pride) are an integral part of students’ schooling experience.

The role of the family in the partnership for learning has strengthened. Many opportunities arise for parents to be involved in and know about their children’s education. This provides a positive platform for learning.

The spacious grounds, functional buildings and classrooms and inclusive culture provide a positive learner-focused environment.

During 2012, unforeseen circumstances resulted in some senior staff taking on additional leadership responsibilities in the absence of the principal and deputy principal. On their return to work a review of school leadership was undertaken. The result was a move to a shared leadership model. The senior team works collaboratively to manage the implementation of the school’s curriculum and to build and guide effective teaching practice.

2 Learning

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

Learners are well supported to actively engage in the curriculum. There are high expectations for students to display appropriate learning behaviours. Teachers focus on supporting learners to achieve in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics.

The February 2010 ERO report recommended the principal and senior managers further extend and challenge students’ use of assessment for learning. Increasingly, students know their next learning goals and the strategies, skills and knowledge that will assist them to achieve. Teachers continue to support this development.

Leaders and teachers are highly reflective practitioners. Teachers have ready access to student achievement information that can be purposefully used at the classroom level. Data identifies individuals and groups of learners by ethnicity, gender and year group. Analysis shows curriculum areas that require improved teaching practice, learners who would benefit from more focused teaching, and those that require interventions or additional support to succeed. Increasingly, teachers are using this information to improve their teaching practice. School self review supports this ongoing development and learners’ academic progress.

3 Curriculum

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

Puketapu Poutama Poupou, the schools’ curriculum, reflects the aspirations of The New Zealand Curriculum. It continues to be refined as a result of ongoing review. There is an appropriate focus on national and community priorities for literacy and mathematics learning. Sciences, social sciences, the arts and technologies are delivered through an integrated model using ‘big ideas’. This encourages students to learn through and about topics of high interest to them.

The school’s curriculum includes a learning languages statement. The inclusion of te ao Māori and the teaching and learning of te reo Māori requires more consideration. Māori learners should benefit from the inclusion of their culture, language and identity in the curriculum. Similarly, the inclusion in the curriculum of Pacific learners’ languages, culture and identity requires strengthening.

Whakamanatia nga tangata katoa, empower all people, is evident through the partnerships for learning developed across staff, students, parents and whānau. Families’ views were sought as part of ongoing curriculum review, including asking about their aspirations for their children. Parents and whānau spoke about promoting hauora and physical education and activity opportunities as important. These are to be included in review and development of the health curriculum through 2013.

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

School staff and trustees demonstrate a real commitment to promoting success for Māori, as Māori. Consideration has been given to Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008 - 2012. Māori, and all learners have opportunities to participate in kapa haka. School leaders and trustees continue to build partnerships with the Māori community to assist teachers and students to learn te mita o te reo and tikanga appropriate to this place.

Māori learners’ academic progress is closely monitored. Analysis of trends and patterns in achievement information is well considered. The end of 2012 student achievement information showed the teaching of mathematics required improvement to achieve goals for Māori learners, and in particular for Māori boys. ERO’s findings affirm the appropriate response by the school. Professional development and learning for leaders and teachers, with an external provider, Te Toi Tupu, is to improve teachers’ knowledge of mathematics and skills to teach in a culturally responsive manner. This approach has real potential to:

  • build leaders’ and teachers’ cultural competence
  • improve the teaching and learning of mathematics schoolwide
  • support the development of a localised culturally responsive curriculum.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

Trustees support initiatives that improve teaching and learning. They receive a range of student achievement data about students’ progress against the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. Self review for improvement is well developed and as a result the school is building its evaluative capacity.

The school’s distributed leadership model continues to evolve. A focus on building leaders’ capability in using achievement data to guide classroom teaching is developing. The intention is that leaders instigate this practice school wide to address areas of the curriculum, identified through self review, as requiring improvement. Leaders’ approach to inquiry should also be strengthened to identify what is working well and exemplary teaching practice. Evaluating the impact of teaching should assist the development of consistent, effective practices across the school, resulting in students’ accelerated progress.

Processes for building teachers capability, including appraisal, continue to develop. These have resulted in a model where staff are expected to inquire into the effectiveness of their own leadership and teaching practice. Further development of appraisal processes, including the principal’s, is necessary to result in a robust process that supports the school’s annual targets, strategic vision and curriculum expectations.

Te ao Māori is a developing aspect of the school’s curriculum. ERO’s evaluation found, and leaders agree, that self review and strategic planning in this curriculum area require strengthening. Including appropriate goals in the school’s charter, planning specific actions to support these and evaluating the impact of initiatives that improve success for Māori as Māori, is a next step.

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.

When is ERO likely to review the school again?

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

Joyce Gebbie National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

13 May 2013

About the School


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Year 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 53%, Female 47%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā



Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

13 May 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

February 2010

October 2006

April 2003