Bruce McLaren Intermediate - 07/02/2018


Bruce McLaren Intermediate is undergoing significant schoolwide improvement that is likely to promote better outcomes for students. The changes already implemented are producing a more settled and positive school tone. The board and principal are committed to transforming the school.

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

1 Background and Context

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

Bruce McLaren Intermediate in Henderson caters for Years 7 and 8 students. The roll reflects the local multicultural community. Māori students make up 30 percent of the roll and 35 percent have Pacific heritage, with Samoan being the largest group. Students can choose to learn in a Samoan language enrichment class.

A new principal was appointed prior to the 2016 ERO review. Several teachers and leaders are long serving at the school. Specialist teachers provide students with additional learning opportunities in the areas of technology. Over the past 18 months the school has begun a rebuilding phase.

Students benefit from an increasingly positive and settled school tone. There is a growing pride in the school, among students. Collegiality among teachers supports their individual and collective development.

The 2016 ERO report identified areas for review and development that included improving teaching practice, lifting student achievement, and strengthening cultural responsiveness and internal evaluation. Given the range of issues the school was facing, ERO decided to undertake a longitudinal review to help build internal evaluation capability as school leaders addressed the priority 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

Priorities identified for review and development as part of ERO’s 2016 review process included:

  • the effective use of student achievement information to support and lift achievement
  • building positive relationships between teachers and students
  • establishing high professional expectations of teachers
  • implementing culturally responsive approaches to teaching, including promoting the identity, language and culture of Māori students
  • building a professional culture of reflection and evaluation.


Positive beginnings have been made in addressing all the priorities identified in the 2016 ERO report. The principal has led improvement in the school and been well supported by the board. There is now a strong and ongoing drive to ensure that effective teaching results in positive outcomes for students.

The findings from the 2016 ERO review have been used well to plan specific actions for improvement. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has provided professional learning and development in the teaching of mathematics and writing. This new learning, together with developing culturally responsive approaches, is helping to shape the programmes that teachers provide for students.

Considerable work has been done to increase teachers’ understanding of assessment processes and to improve the use and dependability of student achievement information. Realistic schoolwide targets have been set for lifting achievement in reading, writing and mathematics. Systems have been established for teachers to identify and track the progress of students who need to achieve better.

Senior leaders and teachers are aware of the need to continue to improve student achievement. A schoolwide focus on writing has resulted in pleasing improvement for all groups of students, particularly compared to results in 2016. The data also shows Māori students have progressed better in reading, and Pacific students show similar improvement in mathematics.

Building teachers’ capability to reflect on how their teaching impacts on outcomes for students is a next step. This would support a focus on accelerating the progress of those who need to achieve better. The involvement of parents and whānau in learning partnerships to support their child’s learning is crucial for those learners who are most at risk of not achieving.

Good progress has been made in developing practices that support students in terms of their identity, language and culture. This work has been well led and modelled from within the school. As a result, Māori students report heightened appreciation of their place as tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand. They report that they see their culture valued by the school.

The expectation that teachers be more culturally aware and responsive to students’ diverse cultural backgrounds has resulted in stronger relationships between students and teachers. Students with Pacific heritage who spoke with ERO appreciated this positive change.

The principal’s high professional expectations of teachers is outlined and documented in frameworks for professional practice. These expectations continue to help teachers to implement the required changes and embed them in their everyday teaching. Ongoing monitoring of how well the expectations are being met will be necessary.

Internal evaluation processes have been established. These have helped the school to make decisions about what developments to focus on next. Teacher and student perspectives and views have provided insights into how well aspects of school practices and systems are working or are valued. Senior leaders should ensure the review of the appraisal process supports teachers to achieve the endorsement of their practising teacher certificates and school goals. 

Key next steps

The principal and the board agree that the areas for review and development are to:

  • further embed initiatives that have been introduced to promote greater consistency of effective quality teaching across the school
  • maintain the momentum of positive change by distributing leadership opportunities further to support improvement
  • maintain the high expectations of teachers to adopt current best practice and to increase their awareness of the impact their practice has on outcomes for students
  • improve student achievement by building a shared understanding of how to successfully accelerate students’ progress.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

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

The school is better placed to sustain and to continue to improve and review its performance.

The school has undergone significant change in the last two years. The priorities for change are appropriate and integral to the school’s ongoing development. There is further change and improvement planned for the future.

The principal and board are appropriately focused on the key areas for improvement. They are committed to the ongoing and positive transformation of the school. Principals in the Henderson Community of Learning/Kāhui Ako have also proved to be a useful source of support for the school.

The strategic appointment of teachers has increased the internal capacity of the school to lead and maintain change. While key leaders are in place, it is important that further leadership capacity is built to distribute responsibility for the school’s next stage of its improvement journey. These leadership responsibilities could be helpful in the planning and implementing of initiatives that focus on raising student achievement.

The board operates with the minimum number of trustees. The chair leads the board and supports the principal well. Trustees have a committed and responsible approach to the governance of the school. The board should plan for succession to ensure that there are members of the school community who will feel confident to step forward into trustee roles. This succession planning could help to ensure that the school’s sound governance continues.

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.


Bruce McLaren Intermediate is undergoing significant schoolwide improvement that is likely to promote better outcomes for students. The changes already implemented are producing a more settled and positive school tone. The board and principal are committed to transforming the school.

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

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 February 2018

About the School 


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys      54%
Girls       46%

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
Middle Eastern
other Pacific Peoples
other Southeast Asian


Special Features

Social Worker in Schools (SWiS)
Attached satellite classes: Arohanui Special School

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

7 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

August 2016
May 2013
October 2010