Parkside School

Education institution number:
School type:
Special School
School gender:
School for pupils with intellectual impairments
Total roll:

184 Wellington Street, Pukekohe

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Parkside School

Te Ara Huarau | School Profile Report


This Profile Report was written within six months of the Education Review Office and Parkside School working in Te Ara Huarau, an improvement evaluation approach used in most English Medium State and State Integrated Schools. For more information about Te Ara Huarau see ERO’s website.

This report is part of a nationally coordinated evaluation of 27-day specialist schools during the second half of 2023. This included the development of day specialist school evaluation indicators by ERO with significant input from principals, staff and the Special Education Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SEPAnz). 


Parkside School, located in Pukekohe, delivers a holistic education for ākonga aged from five to twenty-one years of age who have a range of special educational learning needs, intellectual and physical disabilities. The students are from Pukekohe and the wider Franklin region. 

All students enrolled have high or very high needs and are funded through the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). A team of specialists and therapists provide transdisciplinary support for students in consultation with whānau and staff. Each student has an individual education plan.

A specialist teacher outreach service provides support for ORS funded students enrolled in local schools.

Beyond the Wellington Street campus, there are 15 classes in 9 hubs in host schools across the wider Franklin region. A young adult transition centre located in the commercial centre of Pukekohe focuses on preparing students for life after school.

The school continues to navigate and manage roll growth pressures along with the employment and property demands associated with this.

The school’s mission statement seeks to positively affect all aspects of the students’ development: intellectual, social, emotional and physical, and to facilitate the students’ maximum potential in preparation for the whole of life.  This goal is supported and enacted through the school’s vision, values and principles. 

Parkside School’s strategic priorities for improving outcomes for learners are:

  • within and across school communication: communication pathways are efficient, followed by all stakeholders and promote optimum progress for students 
  • curriculum: a refreshed school curriculum that actively supports the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and reflects the voice of our ākonga and school community
  • physical space for wellbeing: learning environments and buildings that are accessible for all students and fit for purpose. 

You can find a copy of the school’s strategic and annual plan on Parkside School’s website.

ERO and the school are working together to evaluate to what extent the school is developing effective communication pathways that are known by all, efficient and promote optimum outcomes for all students.

The rationale for selecting this evaluation is that the leadership team identified the need to review and evaluate within and across school communication to: 

  • respond to the ongoing geographic spread of students
  • address the complexity of current communication systems  
  • strengthen communication with families as the school roll grows
  • develop and extend links with the local community.

The school expects to see communication pathways accessed by all, prioritising the best interests of students at all times.


The school can draw from the following strengths to support its goal to develop effective communication pathways that are known by all, efficient and promote optimum outcomes for students. 

  • Positive relationships and high expectations that support learners to reach their learning goals underpinned by a transdisciplinary approach. 
  • A highly responsive and cohesive leadership team that utilises well established systems to provide strategic direction and a culture for school improvement. 
  • Leadership that creates conditions for innovative solutions to sustain improved outcomes for learners.
  • Whānau and learner voice effectively supports planning for learning and wellbeing.
  • Teachers and staff effectively support learners being competent communicators.
  • Schoolwide practices that effectively support calm and settled environments.

Where to next?

Moving forward, the school will prioritise: 

  • identification of current communication pathways and setting up an evaluation of their effectiveness
  • the continued development of the school’s action plan in relation to its evaluation focus. 

ERO’s role will be to support the school in its evaluation for improvement cycle to improve outcomes for all learners. ERO will support the school in reporting their progress to the community. The next public report on ERO’s website will be a Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report and is due within three years. 

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

16 May 2024 

About the School

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Parkside School

Board Assurance with Regulatory and Legislative Requirements Report 2024 to 2027

As of April 2024, the Parkside School Board has attested to the following regulatory and legislative requirements:

Board Administration




Management of Health, Safety and Welfare


Personnel Management






Further Information

For further information please contact Parkside School Board.

The next School Board assurance that it is meeting regulatory and legislative requirements will be reported, along with the Te Ara Huarau | School Evaluation Report, within three years.

Information on ERO’s role and process in this review can be found on the Education Review Office website.

Shelley Booysen
Director of Schools

16 May 2024 

About the School 

The Education Counts website provides further information about the school’s student population, student engagement and student achievement.

Parkside School 

School Context

Parkside School is located in Pukekohe and provides special education for students aged 5 to 21. The school’s roll of 150 includes 51 Māori students. Parkside School is the base school and has five classes. There are 12 satellite classes hosted by other schools in Pukekohe and the Franklin district. Almost all students have high or very high needs and receive ongoing resourcing scheme (ORS) funding. The school also provides a specialist outreach service for ORS funded students who attend other schools in the local area. 

The school’s mission is to support the unique social-emotional, cognitive and physical needs of students and to provide a positive learning environment which prepares learners to live and participate in their community. Learning opportunities are designed to meet students’ needs through:

  • increasing their communication, literacy and numeracy skills
  • developing wellbeing and self esteem
  • experiencing life skills, interdependence and positive life outcomes.

The school’s core values acknowledge that:

  • all students can learn in different ways and at different rates
  • all students have individual abilities and needs
  • all students belong, are respected and valued
  • when the school enrols a child, it also enrols the family and whānau.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, school-wide information about outcomes for students in the following areas:

  • achievement of individual goals.

Since the previous review in 2014 roll numbers have steadily increased. There have been some changes to leadership and the teaching team. The principal, deputy principal and majority of trustees are experienced and long serving in their roles. Te Waka Tapawhā was established in 2016 for students over the age of 18 years to support their transition into the community.

The school is a member of the Pukekohe Community of Learning |Kāhui Ako (CoL).

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 is highly responsive to Māori and other students’ individual learning and wellbeing needs and is achieving equitable outcomes for all.

The school’s data shows high levels of overall goal attainment for all students. This has been a consistent pattern over time. The data is not yet collated specifically for the numbers of students who have achieved their own learning goals.

During the onsite phase of the ERO review leaders collated the individual student goal data for 2016-2017. This showed most Māori students are achieving all of their individual goals. The majority of all other students achieved their goals in 2016 and term 1 of 2017, with most achieving all of their goals in term 3 2017. Data from 2018 is yet to be collated and analysed.

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

The school’s individualised approach to learning ensures that Māori and all other students have the opportunity to make progress, accelerate in and achieve their own learning goals.

Leaders, teachers, specialists, parents and whānau use a wide range of appropriate learning information to develop challenging and realistic goals for each student. IEPs (individual education plans) and ITPs (individual transition plans) are used effectively to guide staff, monitor progress and share outcomes and future direction with parents. Students are encouraged to have ownership of their own learning and monitor their progress through visual and written prompts.

Trustees are well informed about how students are being supported to make progress and achieve through the range of specialist programmes and planning.

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 school has a highly responsive and inclusive culture for learning. An extensive range of specialist support programmes and therapies address the complex needs of all students. An individualised approach to supporting students and their families enables positive transitions into, through and beyond the school. Effective liaison has increased the variety of work placement opportunities and supports the positive integration of students into the wider community. Kapa haka enriches cultural learning and provides opportunities for students to develop leadership. Māori students are affirmed in their language and culture.

Strong communication with parents and whānau enables positive partnerships for learning. Parents’ aspirations for their children are acknowledged and valued. There is a collaborative approach to goal setting. Individualised advice and guidance for parents supports learning and behaviour at home. A variety of events, including the annual family camp encourages whānau engagement and participation.

Effective teaching strategies support individualised learning pathways. Comprehensive individual plans are developed in consultation with teachers, specialists and families. They prioritise learning and wellbeing. Authentic contexts and multi-sensory learning strategies are relevant to the needs of students. Students’ communication is enhanced through the use of appropriate tools and assistive technology. Visual prompts promote students’ independence and self-management. Literacy and mathematics learning is naturally integrated into classroom programmes.

Sensitive and respectful relationships between adults and students create a positive environment for learning. There are opportunities for students to learn together and work co-operatively to develop positive social skills and relationships. Teachers develop students’ knowledge of their own learning goals and value their contributions.

Leadership builds relational trust and effective collaboration at all levels. Strong pastoral care and personalised support is provided to students, families and whānau. A strategic approach to developing teacher capability is evident in the comprehensive induction programme for teachers, specialists and support staff. Leaders contribute to research and the wider education community. Trustees are fully committed to the school and ensure the appropriate provision of professional learning and development to improve outcomes for learners.

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

Leaders now need to collate and report to the board on students’ progress and achievement to support ongoing internal evaluation of school programmes and practices.

Leaders and teachers should continue to develop shared understandings and teaching practices to further enhance students’ engagement for learning.

There is a need to further strengthen the teacher appraisal system to:

  • review school guidelines to ensure alignment to the Teaching Council requirements
  • formalise and document targeted observations on teaching practice in relation to goals
  • ensure consistent implementation school wide.

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified non-compliance in relation to personnel management.

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

  1. ensure procedures set in place to obtain and consider information from New Zealand Police for core and non-core workers are followed
    [Vulnerable Children Act 2014, regulations 5-8 of the Vulnerable Children Regulations 2015, requirements for safety checks of children’s workers, Education Act 1989, sections 78c to 78cd].

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 provides students with equitable opportunities to learn and succeed
  • a curriculum that is highly responsive to students’ individual needs
  • strong relationships that enable positive partnerships for learning within the school and community.

Next steps

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

  • refining the reporting on student achievement to further enhance internal evaluation
  • implementing a robust appraisal system for teachers and leaders.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

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

Phillip Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

13 March 2019

About the school

Ministry of Education profile number1435
School typeSpecial School
School roll150
Gender compositionBoys 68% Girls 32%
Ethnic compositionMāori 34% 
Pākehā 53%
Asian 5% 
Other 8%
Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)Yes
Provision of Māori medium educationNo
Review team on siteNovember 2018
Date of this report13 March 2019
Most recent ERO report(s)Education Review June 2014 
Education Review January 2010
Education Review February 2007