Epuni School

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Education institution number:
School type:
School gender:
Not Applicable
Total roll:

Waiwhetu Road, Fairfield, Lower Hutt

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School Context

Epuni School, located in Lower Hutt,caters for a diverse range of students in Years 1 to 6. Of the 93 children enrolled 27 are Māori and 16 are of Pacific heritage. Fifteen children receive English Language Learner (ELL) funding.

The vision statement ‘Whai ake i ngā whetū - Reaching for the stars together’ supports the school’s mission to value, support and grow learners' strengths, passions and creativity to develop a love of learning as they discover the world.

The values of Manaakitanga – Respect, Tūtika - Responsibility, Manawaroa – Resilience, and Whanaungatanga – Relationships guide school culture and practices.

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

  • achievement in reading, writing and mathematics

  • progress and achievement in relation to the school targets and supporting interventions

  • attendance and wellbeing.

Since the November 2014 ERO report, there have been changes to staff including the appointment of a new principal and deputy principal. All board members since last elections are new to the role. 

The school is currently part of the following Ministry of Education initiatives: Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L), Accelerating Literacy Learning (ALL) and Accelerating Learning in Mathematics (ALiM).

The school is a member of the Naenae Kāhui Ako.

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 continues to progress the achievement of equitable and excellent outcomes for most learners. Since 2016 rates of achievement have continued to improve over time for most groups.

School reported data for 2018, indicated that most students achieved at or above curriculum expectations in reading, writing and mathematics.

Māori students’ achievement has improved over time but remains lower than that of their peers in all core curriculum areas.

There is disparity for girls compared to boys in mathematics. An appropriate target, in the 2019 annual plan, is to raise achievement in this learning area.

At the end of 2018, nearly all Year 6 students achieved at or above expectation in reading and most in writing and mathematics.

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

School data shows that the majority of target students, including Māori, accelerated their learning in writing and maths. In reading, some target students made more than expected progress.

Consistently reporting rates of progress and acceleration for groups of students to better determine the effectiveness and impact of practices is a next step for the school.

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 collaborative leadership team has a clear vision to develop a shared understanding of effective systems, practices and processes to improve equity and excellent outcomes for all children. Leaders and teachers are committed to improving their response to childrens’ learning and wellbeing needs. Whānau involvement, external expertise and a range of community resources enrich the school’s provision for children.

Establishing and strengthening key organisational and learning conditions to support improved learning has been appropriately prioritised by the leadership team. Provision of relevant professional learning and a developing collaborative approach across the school is promoting improved teacher capability and practice.

Targets to accelerate the learning of those students who are not achieving at expected levels are appropriately set by trustees and leadership. Useful systems for identifying, measuring and reporting progress and outcomes for these learners are in place.

Responsive planning and resourcing contributes to the delivery of relevant programmes to cater for students with identified and complex needs. Suitable processes and practices support the transition of all learners into, through and out of the school.

Respectful and positive relationships are highly evident. A strong focus on implementing the recently developed school values and an emphasis on inclusion promotes a sense of belonging and connection to the school.

Routines and expectations are well communicated and known. Environments are appropriately organised to foster children’s participation in learning. A range of opportunities are available for students to develop leadership capability.

Input of whānau, students and staff is valued. Their voice contributes to decision making aligned to school priorities. Parents, whānau and the community are welcomed and involved in school activities.A useful range of communication strategies is used to share information about achievement, and school developments and events. Further promoting whānau involvement in meaningful learning partnerships is a focus.

Trustees receive useful information from leaders to set priorities and resource appropriately. Relevant training and support from the New Zealand School Trustees Association for board members promotes shared understanding of the trustee role and responsibilities, strengthen organisational capacity, and meet statutory requirements.

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

Further strengthening of the alignment of school processes and practices to strategic priorities is needed to achieve a more cohesive approach for equity and excellence in student outcomes.Following a period of significant staffing and leadership changes, the school is working towards collaboratively establishing effective systems and processes that should sustain and continue to improve school performance.

Leaders have identified the need to continue to develop shared understandings ofThe New Zealand Curriculumlevels to inform overall teacher judgements. This should allow staff to more accurately measure rates of progress and achievement of all children, and in particular those students at risk of not achieving educational success. Deeper analysis of achievement data for groups at risk of not achieving is needed, when reporting progress and acceleration.

Trustees, leaders and teachers acknowledge and value the cultural identity of whānau and families. Meaningful opportunities for children to participate in learning and events that reflect the diverse community is evident.The school has identified the need to more effectively gather Māori whānau and Pacific families’ voices to determine valued outcomes for their children and contribute to decision making. This should assist the school to strengthen its response to these learners.

The school is currently reviewing and developing the curriculum to be more responsive to the diverse needs of students’ wellbeing, culture, language and identity. Continuing to develop expectations for effective teaching practice across all learning areas should enable the development of shared understandings to better promote positive student outcomes. Ongoing development should include:

  • reflection and response to whānau Māori aspirations for Māori learners
  • reflection and response to Pacific heritage family aspirations for their children
  • identification of expectations for effective culturally responsive practices across all learning areas
  • clear articulation of a localised curriculum
  • provision of guidelines for moderation practices in reading, writing and mathematics.

Teachers and leaders are reflective and review supports decision making for ongoing improvement leading to changes in practice. A next step is to develop a shared understanding of effective inquiry and internal evaluation, across all levels of the school. This should enable trustees’, leaders’ and teachers’ to measure what has the most significant impact on raising achievement and inform ongoing strategic direction and decision making.

A suitable performance management framework has been introduced that has the potential to support teachers to grow their practice and meet Teaching Council of Aotearoa requirements. Ensuring the robust implementation of the existing model should further support teachers to inquire into the effectiveness of practice.

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.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO‘s overall evaluation judgement of Epuni School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • leadership that sets clear direction and goals for improvement

  • well promoted school values that nurture learner success and wellbeing

  • positive parent and whānau relationships and community involvement with the school that promotes a sense of belonging.

Next steps

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

  • a school curriculum that provides responds to students’ identity culture and language, and the local context expectations for effective teaching practice and better

  • better monitoring and reporting the progress and acceleration of all groups at risk of not achieving educational success

  • building internal evaluation processes and practices, to better understand the impact of programmes and initiatives on acceleration and achievement for learners at risk of not achieving.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

25 March 2019

About the school


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing School (Year 1-6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 47, Female 46

Ethnic composition

Māori 27

Pākehā 24

Pacific 16

Other ethnic groups 26

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

25 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review November 2014

Education Review November 2010

Education Review June 2007


Epuni School is a positive and welcoming place for students, their families and the community. Learning is meaningful and enjoyable for students. The majority achieve in relation to the National Standards. Assessment information is used well to support some students to meet these expectations. The continuous drive for improvement places the school well for promoting student success.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

1 Context

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

Epuni School in Hutt City provides education for students in Years 1 to 6. At the time of this ERO review, there were 90 students enrolled, including 41 Māori and 25 Pacific students.

The principal has led the school for many years. She is well known to the community. Since the October 2010 ERO report, two teachers and some board members are new to the school. Other personnel have long associations with the school and provide continuity.

School development has continued. The principal and teachers have participated in professional learning for fostering student success through strengthening assessment, cultural responsiveness and relationships with parents, families and whānau.

The school and wider community are partners in the Common Unity Project Aotearoa, an initiative for developing life skills with students and local families. A play group and music school also operate on site. Inclusion and active community involvement are part of school culture and significant for students' curriculum experiences.

2 Learning

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

Leaders, teachers and trustees use information effectively to respond to students' learning needs and interests and promote their success. Data is regularly analysed and reported to relevant people to use in planning for improvement.

National Standards data for reading, writing and mathematics is collated to establish a picture of achievement schoolwide. The 2013 end-of-year judgements in relation to the Standards showed that the majority met or performed above these expectations in the three areas. Moderation between Epuni teachers and those from other schools in the professional development cluster has helped leaders and teachers to be confident that judgements made are accurate and fair.

Patterns across groups are identified and analysed to raise performance. The school knows which groups and individuals to target and areas of teaching to develop. In 2014, the focus has been on assisting Māori and Pacific students to meet the Standards in specific areas and on increasing numbers performing above the Standards in writing and mathematics. All National Standards data is evaluated for the purpose of supporting priority learners and continuously improving practice.

Teachers know their target students. Assessment information is used to set expectations for progress and plan for specific learning needs. Teachers consider how to make a difference to the rate of progress and regularly reflect on success, using subsequent assessments. Records show progress as a result of targeted teaching and judgements in relation to the Standards over the year. Teachers are at different stages in the level of critical reflection they bring to this process and the principal is working toward consistency.

Additional learning support is provided for students through literacy and mathematics interventions. Some of these are through specialist agencies or targeted interventions. While conclusive data was not yet available to judge the total impact made, some progress information shared indicates that these strategies are worthwhile for students requiring more assistance.

Students with high and complex needs are well catered for in an inclusive environment. Planning for their learning and progress is collaboratively done by teachers, parents and specialists. Goals are evaluated and reviewed regularly to be sure students' needs are met.

Parents receive useful information during the year to support understanding of their child’s progress and achievement. Written reports show achievement in relation to the National Standards, next steps for learning and how these can be supported at home. Other communications assist the focus on partnerships for learning.

Teachers continue to work on using strategies to engage students in discussing their learning meaningfully. Information from student reflections is linked to teachers' inquiries into their effectiveness for supporting learning and accelerating progress.

3 Curriculum

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

The Epuni School curriculum purposefully promotes student learning, presence and engagement.

The principal shares high expectations and clear guidelines for teaching and learning. Since the previous 2010 ERO report, the school community has revisited its curriculum. The mission, vision and context for learning have been reviewed to incorporate the aims of the Common Unity project, which provides an authentic context for responsive curriculum design. The principles, values and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum remain embedded in the framework.

Students, parents and the wider community participate in meaningful opportunities linked to sustainability, nutrition and the natural environment. Gardening, recycling and knitting projects are real-life contexts for students to learn across the curriculum and be productive through hands-on activities. Teachers help students to develop their understanding of the value of cooperation, participation and self management for being life-long learners.

Student wellbeing is fostered. Culture is acknowledged and valued. Relationships between teachers, students, their peers and participating adults are positive. The principal, board and staff have worked with the Ministry of Education's Pasifika Education Plan 2013 – 2017 to develop an action plan for promoting positive and responsive partnerships with Pacific families. The aims support the need to raise Pacific achievement.

Students are well engaged in their activities. Teachers use strategies that make learning a positive and enjoyable experience. Continuing with current professional development programmes is likely to enhance consistency of effectiveness across curriculum areas and classes.

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

Māori students experience positive relationships with their peers and teachers. They contribute purposefully to all aspects of school life. Māori students’ culture, language and identity are reflected in relevant cultural contexts for learning. Students know their language is valued through teachers' use of te reo Māori. Teachers are in their third year of studying the language through a wananga provided Mauri Ora programme.

The 2014 focus, for promoting success for Māori as Māori, is on productive partnerships. The school can show how it has worked toward this. The Māori action plan has been reviewed to reflect the updated aims of Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2013-2017. Members of the Māori community have formed a whānau support group. This team is active in discussing achievement data, making suggestions for student and teacher learning and curriculum design. Links with the local marae help to reinforce school understanding of te ao Māori and whānau aspirations for student outcomes.

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. Ongoing reflection and evaluation lead to continuous development. Goals and actions for moving forward are interconnected and monitoring systems generate good information. The board, principal, teachers and community are well informed and collectively responsive to the findings of reports.

Trustees are committed to serving students and the community well. They bring a range of skills and expertise to their role. They have taken advantage of training opportunities in all aspects of governance. Board planning focuses on priorities for development and is supported with action plans in key areas. These provided a basis for evaluation and setting next steps for development. Board business is conducted efficiently and focused on student wellbeing and success.

School leadership is effective in promoting a welcoming and inclusive culture where learning is a shared experience. The principal models high expectations and open communication. She is supportive of her staff and community. Good performance is systematically promoted through honest and constructive discussion. Teachers engage positively in critical reflection across several dimensions.

Parents, whānau and the wider community are welcomed and purposefully included in the life of the school. The principal, teachers and trustees continue to consider and develop practices that extend these relationships and enrich partnerships for learning. As part of curriculum review, students and families have collectively designed a symbol to visually represent their school and what it stands for. The vision is shared.

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.


Epuni School is a positive and welcoming place for students, their families and the community. Learning is meaningful and enjoyable for students. The majority achieve in relation to the National Standards. Assessment information is used well to support some students to meet these expectations. The continuous drive for improvement places the school well for promoting student success.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in four-to-five years.

Image removed.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

18 November 2014

About the School


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Contributing (Years 1 to 6)

School roll


Gender composition

Male 46

Female 44

Ethnic composition



NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups





Review team on site

August 2014

Date of this report

18 November 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

October 2010

June 2007

May 2004