Puni School - 05/02/2018

School Context

Puni School is a contributing primary school catering for students in Years 1 to 6. It is located in a semi-rural area 6km west of Pukekohe. There are currently 223 students enrolled. Approximately 30% of these are Māori.

Puni School aims to create a learning community which is energetic, enterprising, inclusive and future focused. It promotes the REACH values of respect, ears and eyes for learning, acting safely, challenging oneself and having control over one’s actions.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board giving school-wide information about outcomes for students in reading, writing and mathematics.

An experienced principal continues to lead the school. The board chair is also experienced. There is a mixture of both long serving and new trustees on the board.

The school belongs to the Pukekohe Community of Learning |Kāhui Ako.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school is yet to achieve equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

While the majority of students at Puni School are achieving at or above national expectations, the school’s overall achievement is below national comparisons in writing and mathematics and equivalent in reading. This is a continuing pattern over a number of years except in writing where achievement has steadily declined. There is significant disparity for Māori students and for boys. 

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

The school needs to strengthen its response to Māori and boys who are underachieving, particularly in writing.

The school’s data for Year 3 to 6 students in both literacy and mathematics for 2017 shows acceleration. Of the Māori students identified as at risk at the beginning of 2017, nearly all made accelerated progress in mathematics and reading, and about one third did so in writing. Of the other students who were identified as at risk at the beginning of 2017 just over half made accelerated progress in mathematics and reading, and about one third did so in writing.

The school has not been collecting acceleration data long enough to determine whether these gains have been sustained over a longer period or whether those who have made accelerated progress but are not yet achieving at expected levels are on a trajectory to be ready for transition to secondary schooling in Year 9.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence?

Leadership builds relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community. Leaders are approachable and highly responsive to parent and whānau concerns, ideas and initiatives. Students participate and learn in a caring environment that promotes wellbeing in a holistic way. Relationships between teachers and students positively support learning. Teachers work well as a team. Their openness to change supports ongoing improvement.

There are many well-considered opportunities for children to experience success in a wide range of curricula and extra curricula areas. A set of interventions support children at risk of not achieving. Gifted and talented children have many opportunities to be challenged and progress in their learning. Teachers recognise the importance of student and community voice and use it as a key resource in developing a responsive curriculum. Māori content and perspective is becoming more visible in the wider school curriculum and there are plans in place to increase this in the coming year with a focus on local iwi history.

A number of initiatives within the school effectively engage parents and whānau as partners assisting in their children’s learning, particularly for children at risk of not achieving and for children with additional learning needs.

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

There needs to be a sharper focus on the groups and cohorts of students in the school who are at risk of not achieving. Leaders need to:

  • strengthen and align systems and processes, in particular, professional development, that promote consistent, high-quality teaching practice
  • review internal evaluation systems, such as assessment processes and teaching as inquiry, to ensure there is a focus on the progress being made by at risk students.

The collation and use of assessment data needs to be strengthened in order to ensure students’ specific learning needs are identified and to maximise the impact of targeted actions:

  • board targets need to focus on accelerating the progress of all students who are at risk of not achieving
  • teachers need to strengthen the way they use literacy and mathematics progressions to identify students’ specific learning needs and show clearly how they are responding to these through deliberate acts of targeted teaching.

The quality of formative assessment needs to be more consistent across the school.

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 Vulnerable Children Act 2014. 

Appraisal audit

ERO’s audit of the school’s appraisal system found that strengthening was required in a number of areas. School leaders need to ensure that teachers are appraised and attested in relation to current Education Council teacher standards, ensure teacher appraisal goals focus on student progress and achievement, and feedback and feedforward is focussed on improving teacher practice. 

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to teacher appraisal.

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

  1. ensure that teachers are appraised each year in accordance with Ministry of Education requirements.
    [State Sector Act 1988, s77C]

4 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership that builds relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community
  • a learning environment that is caring and promotes wellbeing
  • a broad curriculum that provides opportunities for students to experience success in a wide range of curricula and extra curricula areas
  • initiatives that effectively engage parents as partners in their children’s learning.

Next steps

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

  • building a comprehensive and strategic approach to support teachers to maintain a focus on accelerating those groups within the school most at risk of not achieving
  • strengthening the collation and use of assessment data to ensure students’ specific learning needs are identified and responses are seen to be having an impact on progress
  • targeted planning to accelerate learning
    [ERO will monitor and discuss progress with the school.]
  • internal evaluation processes and practices

[ERO will provide an internal evaluation workshop for trustees and senior leaders.]

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

5 February 2018

About the school 



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing Primary (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      48%
Girls       52%

Ethnic composition

Māori                   29%
Pākehā                 52%
Pacific                  10%
Indian                     4%
Other                      5%

Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

5 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

December           2014
October               2011
November           2005