Puketapu School (New Plymouth) - 17/05/2016

1 Context

Puketapu School is situated in Bell Block, New Plymouth. It provides education for 230 students in Years 1 to 8 and almost a third are Māori. The current principal is retiring at the end of Term 1, and the deputy principal will be in the acting principal role until a new principal takes office in Term 3.

The school is part of the Māori Achievement Collaborative (MAC), an initiative which seeks to strengthen culturally responsive practices in its members. It also belongs to the local Sustaining Effective Teaching and Learning (SETL) cluster.

High levels of community engagement are a feature of the school.

2 Equity and excellence

The vision and valued outcomes defined by the school for all children are Manaakitia (Respect), Whakatutuki (Achievement) and Whakamanatia (Pride). These reflect the overarching whakataukī: 'Whakamanatia ngā tangata katoa - Empower all people'.

The school’s achievement information shows that at the end of 2015, about two thirds of students were at or above in relation to National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. The level of success in writing represents steady improvement since 2013, with significant increases for all groups since 2014. The school has yet to achieve equity for Māori learners in these three key areas. Boys' achievement has improved over time, but remains lower for all students schoolwide.

School leaders recognise that many Māori students and boys require closely-targeted teaching for equitable outcomes. Greater in-depth analysis and more effective use of assessment information are needed to accelerate the progress of all students at risk of not achieving in relation to National Standards.

Since the May 2013 ERO evaluation, progress has been made in addressing the areas identified as needing further development. The school has maintained a focus on integrating te ao Māori. Teachers have participated in professional learning to improve the achievement of targeted students in literacy and mathematics and to build leadership capacity. Through a coaching initiative, teachers have begun to observe each other and provide constructive feedback to increase the effectiveness of strategies used to improve student outcomes.

Fostering effective partnerships between the school, parents, whānau and the community is a strategic priority. Leaders see involvement of families in students' learning as a key element in accelerating progress. This is increasingly evident in practice.

3 Accelerating achievement

How effectively does this school respond to Māori students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

The school successfully supports many Māori students to achieve accelerated progress over the course of a year.

Leaders and teachers use National Standards and other data from an appropriate range of reliable sources to identify students whose learning and achievement need improvement. A clearly documented assessment schedule details expectations and guides practice. To increase the reliability of teacher judgements, leaders should ensure that the guidelines for moderation are fully understood and implemented.

The school has good systems for responding to Māori students whose learning and achievement need acceleration. Targeted students are involved in schoolwide learning support initiatives, and their individual progress is tracked separately. The school has increasingly sound knowledge of the impact of strategies used to improve achievement.

A range of deliberate approaches and practices is evident. These include:

  • small group interventions for literacy and mathematics
  • targeting of individual students at syndicate and teacher levels
  • reporting students' progress to parents, whānau and trustees
  • strategies that engage parents and whānau as partners in students' learning
  • sound pastoral care systems that effectively support and promote students' wellbeing
  • opportunities for students to participate and experience success in a variety of cultural, sporting and academic activities
  • a meaningful, localised school curriculum, with te reo me ngā tikanga Māori well embedded.

Leaders and trustees recognise that the key next steps in continuing to raise the achievement of students whose learning needs to be accelerated are to:

  • review schoolwide target-setting to focus on the highest learner priorities each year
  • align annual targets with other systems and processes
  • ensure that identified needs are responded to effectively and with appropriate urgency and timeliness at classroom level
  • document explicit guidelines for teacher practice in relation to planning for and monitoring targeted students.

How effectively does this school respond to other students whose learning and achievement need acceleration?

Learning support strategies listed above are used for all students whose learning needs to be accelerated.

4 School conditions

How effectively do the school’s curriculum and other organisational processes and practices develop and enact the school’s vision, values, goals and priorities for equity and excellence?

For most students, the curriculum effectively supports their achievement, progress and wellbeing.

Key factors underpinning this positive climate for learning are the:

  • clear articulation of guidelines, priorities and expectations for teaching and learning
  • suitable alignment of the school curriculum with The New Zealand Curriculum
  • appropriate priority given to literacy, numeracy and health and physical education
  • relevant, meaningful local contexts
  • widespread enactment of the school values
  • welcoming, open, inclusive environment that generates a sense of pride and belonging for students
  • emphasis on authentic student leadership
  • highly effective engagement of parents, whānau and community
  • strongly supportive trustees, who are suitably trained and knowledgeable about their stewardship responsibilities
  • board focus on students' success and holistic achievement
  • strategies to build and support teacher effectiveness.

To embed and build on these positive factors, leaders and trustees agree that they need to:

  • review and fully implement systems and processes for monitoring the quality and consistency of teaching practice across the school
  • continue to strengthen teachers' understanding and capability as they inquire into the effectiveness of strategies they use to improve student outcomes and accelerate achievement
  • further develop aspects of appraisal processes, to effectively fulfil their improvement and accountability purposes
  • maintain regular progress updates in relation to annual goals and targets
  • continue to develop internal evaluation capability at all levels.

5 Going forward

How well placed is the school to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children?

Leaders and teachers:

  • know the children whose learning and achievement need to be accelerated
  • have not yet developed approaches that effectively meet the needs of each child
  • have not yet ensured the school is well placed to achieve and sustain equitable and excellent outcomes for all children.

Bringing about consistency in the enactment of expected practice schoolwide is essential for the school's continued and sustained development. Robust, effective appraisal, teacher inquiry and implementation of the coaching model are likely to contribute to a stronger sense of collective responsibility for achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all students.

Action: The board, principal and teachers should participate in an internal evaluation workshop. They should use this workshop, ERO exemplars of good practice and the School Evaluation Indicators to address the findings of this evaluation and develop a Raising Achievement Plan that includes a significant focus on building teacher capability to accelerate learning and achievement.

As part of this review ERO will continue to monitor the school’s Raising Achievement Plan and the progress the school makes. ERO is likely to carry out the next full review in three years.

6 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 the following:

  • Board administration.

  • Curriculum.

  • Management of health, safety and welfare.

  • Personnel management.

  • 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.

  • Processes for appointing staff.

  • Stand down, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions.

  • Attendance.

  • Compliance with the provisions of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Appraisal of the principal has not taken place. The board of trustees is required to annually assess the principal against all the professional standards for principals.[s77c State Sector Act, 1988; New Zealand Gazette; relevant employment agreement]

In order to improve practice, policies and procedures must be systematically reviewed and implemented to ensure full compliance with this and other legal obligations.

7 Recommendations

The board and school leaders should:

  • systematically address the areas for improvement outlined in this report
  • in addressing areas for improvement, maintain clear line of sight on raising student achievement and accelerating the learning and progress of those students at risk of underachieving. 

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

17 May 2016 

About the school


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 54%, Female 46%

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

17 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

February 2010

October 2006