Puriri School - 20/05/2013

1 Context

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

Puriri School is a small rural, two teacher school situated near the Coromandel town of Thames. The school was established in 1878 and remains the source of considerable community pride. Māori students work productively alongside their peers in classrooms and the playground. Parents and families are welcomed in to the school and actively involved in school life. They make an important contribution to school fundraising and a range of community events.

Relationships at all levels of the school are strong and positive. Teachers work well as a team. They know students and families well and the principal has a close working relationship with the board of trustees. Trustee training has enabled the board to have a clear and effective understanding of their governance roles.

The tone in the playground is respectful. Older students play an important role in supporting their younger peers, and students of all ages generally play happily in the large playground area. Both classrooms are settled, with very high levels of respectful interaction and on-task learning behaviour shown by students during ERO’s visit.

Since the previous ERO review the teaching team, board of trustees’ leadership and the school roll have remained stable. The school has responded positively to the recommendations in that ERO report and is currently in the process of reviewing its curriculum.

2 Learning

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

Teachers use a variety of appropriate strategies and tests to gather information about student achievement. They use this information, along with observations of student learning behaviour, to make overall teacher judgements about achievement in relation to the National Standards in reading, writing and mathematics. This data shows that a significant majority of students is achieving at and above the relevant National Standard. All of the Māori students in the school are achieving at or above the expected National Standards.

Effective systems are in place for identifying students achieving below National Standards and these students are provided with an intervention to address their learning needs. Progress within these interventions is closely monitored and shows that most students make good progress.

The board receives achievement information from the principal. This information enables trustees to be well informed about achievement levels and to make resourcing decisions that are responsive to students’ learning needs. Appropriate school-wide targets have been set that enable teachers to focus on the learning needs of students achieving below expected levels.

Parents have many opportunities to be informed about how their child is achieving. They are welcome in the school to discuss student progress and achievement, attend regular interviews and receive written reports about student achievement in relation to the National Standards.

The school has identified, and ERO agrees, that there is a need for teachers to further develop the way they use information from assessments to plan for individuals and small groups. This development is likely to provide more targeted teaching to address students’ ongoing learning needs. To achieve this it will be necessary for teachers to work closely together to develop a consistent school-wide approach for the use of data, and establish a shared understanding of how this impacts on their teaching practice.

ERO and the school also agree that there would be benefit in exploring teaching strategies that enable students to more fully understand the way assessments work. This is likely to enable students to be more involved in monitoring their own progress and determining their next learning steps.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum effectively promotes and supports student learning. It aims to ‘offer purposeful learning experiences that encourage and foster life-long learning’, and clearly shows how the school is giving effect to The New Zealand Curriculum. The school curriculum emphasises the importance of literacy and mathematics, and provides teachers with broad guidelines about curriculum delivery. The current curriculum review is necessary to ensure it continues to reflect the vision and values of the school community and the uniqueness of the school. The review will also be useful as the school reconsiders and documents its approach to gifted and talented education.

Parents have been surveyed to establish local curriculum goals and the school is exploring ways to ensure that consultation about the curriculum is widespread and effective.

Teachers have worked hard to create learning environments that reflect, support and celebrate student learning. These environments are contributing to the high levels of student enthusiasm, motivation and engagement with learning observed by ERO. Students observed were enjoying their learning and the close supportive relationships with their teachers. Teachers use a range of effective strategies to engage students in learning and support students requiring additional support.

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

The school has a clearly defined vision about success for all students, including Māori. The board is well informed about Māori achievement and the school knows that Māori students achieve well in reading, writing and mathematics. The principal and teachers consult with the small number of Māori parents informally and have included a statement in the charter about the school’s approach to promoting success for Māori students.

ERO and the board agree that as the school undertakes a review of its curriculum, it should take into account the place of te reo and tikanga Māori, and review the way the school environment, practices and teaching interactions reflect New Zealand’s bicultural partnership.

Aspects of this review should also consider professional development to increase teachers’ capability and confidence in te reo and tikanga Māori, and the possibility of a sequential Māori language and culture programme from Years 1 to 8.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is well placed to sustain and improve its performance because:

  • the school has successfully engaged with its parent community, involving them as partners in their children’s learning
  • trustees are strongly supportive of the school and focused on maintaining the central role of the school in the community
  • board leadership is experienced, knowledgeable and committed to school improvement
  • the principal and teachers are strongly committed to promoting the school and raising student achievement
  • the positive and inclusive school culture provides a sound foundation for student learning and engagement
  • the are good systems in place to monitor the environment and keep students safe while at school.

ERO and the school agree that the documented detail of strategic and annual planning needs further development. Attention to this aspect of strategic planning is likely to provide a more thoroughly documented basis for school review, development and improvement.

In addition, it is necessary to ensure teachers’ appraisal processes include documented professional goals that:

  • are consistent with school direction and priorities in curriculum development
  • show how teachers are systematically developing their teaching practice with a view to raising student achievement
  • include opportunities for ongoing reflection and feedback about the way teaching practice is developing.

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.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

20 May 2013

About the School



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 10 Girls 9

Ethnic composition

NZ European Pākehā


Other European




Review team on site

March 2013

Date of this report

20 May 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Education Review

August 2010

October 2007

September 2006