Bream Bay College - 27/06/2014

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Bream Bay College is a co-educational, Year 7 to 14 school that provides intermediate and secondary education for the young people of the Ruakaka district of Northland. Students come from the local communities of Ruakaka, Waipu, Takahiwai, One Tree Point and surrounding rural areas. The school has a Māori bilingual unit for Year 7 and 8 students. Māori students comprise thirty-nine percent of the school’s roll which is mainly New Zealand European/Pākehā.

The 2012 ERO report identified concerns about aspects of the school’s governance, leadership, curriculum and the achievement levels of Māori students. In 2012, Bream Bay College’s board of trustees accepted ERO’s offer of an Arotake Paetawhiti review process that set up agreed areas of development to assist with school progress.

During 2012 and 2013 ERO visited the school, reviewed documentation and evaluated school progress. The final phase in the Arotake Paetawhiti process in April 2014, involved an analysis and review of Bream Bay College’s confirmed achievement results from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

The 2014 ERO report assures the Bream Bay College community that progress has been made in the agreed areas for development.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

The agreed priorities identified for review and development were:

  • the school’s board of trustees gaining a better understanding of its governance role, meeting its legal obligations and improving the quality of strategic planning and direction for the school
  • the school’s leaders improving their capability with self review, ensuring the full implementation of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC)
  • evaluating the school’s student achievement data to usefully target and assist learners at risk of not achieving
  • supporting Māori students to achieve academic success and be affirmed as tangata whenua in terms of their language, culture and identity in a bicultural school context.


The school is benefitting from the cohesiveness and stability of the leadership team. The principal and senior leaders have improved their capabilities to evaluate the school and recognise where and when targeted actions are necessary to support student achievement and wellbeing.

The Bream Bay College curriculum has been more closely and effectively aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum. The NZC vision, principles and values are woven through school learning programmes. Students are aware of the different pathways that are available to them through the curriculum, including links with tertiary providers and local employers.

The school’s achievement information is being supported by Auckland University’s Starpath Initiative. Academic counselling continues to strengthen students’ responsibility for tracking and monitoring their own progress towards achievement. Students report that the system of mentoring based on the house system and delivered through house deputy principals, deans and whānau teachers is making a considerable difference to their motivation and success.

The school’s assessment policies and processes for internally assessed qualifications have been verified positively by NZQA.

School leaders and teaching staff have taken useful steps to raise Māori achievement. They have developed effective strategies to work with Māori students at Level 1 and 2 NCEA who are at risk of not achieving. Māori girls are progressing at or above school targets. Māori boys’ achievement is still below the school’s targets.

The board and school leaders have consulted with Māori whānau in a meaningful way. Hui have been held within the different Māori communities. Feedback from whānau continues to indicate that they would like to see more development of te reo and tikanga Māori content in the overall school curriculum. Teaching and learning programmes are now including and acknowledging the history of the local area.

Teaching staff are showing a substantial interest in developing their bicultural competencies in order to fulfil the requirements of the teachers’ registration criteria.

The University of Auckland has provided facilitators to assist with teaching programmes in the Māori bilingual unit and te re Maōri classes. The Tikanga Rōpu group is actively planning a more in-depth Māori education plan for the school. They are interested in becoming more involved in strategic curriculum direction-setting for success as Māori. There are clear links to the Ngati Wai iwi education initiative in the area.

The Ministry of Education has provided specific, necessary, professional development for the school where needed since 2012.

The principal and school leaders should now address the following in the next phase of school improvement:

  • strengthening self review through specific narrative statements about what is working well and what needs to change, particularly in regard to those groups of students at risk of not achieving
  • providing more written evaluation to accompany the student data provided for the board in relation to overall student progress and achievement. This information could assist the board with resourcing decisions.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

School performance has improved. The board of trustees and senior leaders are likely to sustain this improvement through self review. Consultation is assisting the board to purposefully consider the school’s long term direction and develop a more purposeful and cohesive strategic plan.

ERO has confidence in the capability of the board of trustees. Productive working relationships are evident. Trustees are working diligently to improve their effectiveness as governors. They collaborate with school leaders to promote the safety and wellbeing of students.

The board has addressed its obligations to fulfil legal requirements identified in the 2005, 2008 and 2012 ERO reports. Charter target-setting and annual variance reporting has been improved. A set of policies aligned to the National Administration Guidelines is in place and is being reviewed. National Standards for students in Years 7 and 8 are being reported twice a year to the parent community as required.

School leaders are reporting to the board frequently on the achievement of students overall, and of groups of students. Some evaluation that leads to action plans is improving the educational needs of particular student groups.

Middle leaders, teachers and support staff are working hard to provide and facilitate learning programmes that reflect the essence of the NZC and focus on the curriculum pathways relevant for each learner. Staff demonstrate high levels of commitment to the students they teach and support.

The school is well resourced in terms of buildings, facilities, materials and equipment, including student access to information technology.

The board of trustees needs to be mindful of their formal obligation to report to the Māori community on the success of Māori students, including a future focus on accelerated achievement for Māori boys.

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.

In order to improve practice the school should ensure that the school’s self review of compliance with Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students is more systematic and thorough.


Bream Bay College has effectively addressed its priorities for improvement since 2012. ERO has found that the board of trustees is managing their role in governing the school and meeting legal obligations. School leadership is more effectively targeting the needs of priority learners to assist them to make progress and achieve. With the involvement of the Māori community, Māori students are being more effectively affirmed through their language, culture and identity.

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

Dale Bailey
National Manager Review Services
Northern Region

About the School


Ruakaka, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 14)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys      54%
Girls       46%

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other European


Special Features

Bilingual Unit Years 7 to 8

Review team on site

November 2013

Date of this report

27 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

February 2012
November 2008
November 2005