Bruce McLaren Intermediate - 31/08/2016


Bruce McLaren Intermediate School is beginning a process of renewal and change. The principal is committed to school wide improvement that will promote better outcomes for students.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

1 Context

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

Bruce McLaren Intermediate, in Henderson, caters for Years 7 and 8 students. The multicultural student roll is representative of the local community. Pacific students make up 50 percent of the roll with the largest group being Samoan. Māori students comprise 29 percent of the school roll.

Classes consist of groups of students from both year levels. Specialist teachers provide additional expertise and opportunities in technology learning areas. A Samoan language enrichment class opened in 2015.

Many teachers and school leaders are long serving in the school. The recently appointed principal brings relevant experience and expertise to the school.

The 2013 ERO report noted several areas of growth in the school’s performance. These improvements have not been sustained.

2 Learning

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

The school does not yet have systems and processes in place to use student achievement information effectively to make positive changes to outcomes for learners.

Teachers and school leaders are aware of low student achievement levels. Fewer than 50 percent of students achieve at or above the National Standard in reading, writing and mathematics. Overall Māori and Pacific students achieve at lower levels than other students.

Teachers identify children who need to make better progress and those who could benefit from additional support in reading, participate in a withdrawal programme. Teachers and volunteers work closely with these children to develop their reading skills.

The principal has outlined some key expectations of teachers. As a result teachers are beginning to strengthen their planning and to differentiate their teaching to better meet the learning needs of children.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported and monitored. Parents who spoke with ERO valued the regular nature of school leaders’ contact with, and monitoring of, their children. The school’s responsiveness to parents’ concerns about their children was also appreciated. The Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) provides good support to children and their families. Children consider her to be a trusted source of advice and guidance.

To continue to make more effective use of student achievement information, it is necessary to build teachers’ and leaders’ capability with assessment tools and processes. This should include:

  • setting purposeful and achievable student achievement targets
  • establishing systems and frameworks to collate, analyse and report student achievement information and to track and monitor individual student’s progress
  • developing systems to help teachers focus more closely on the progress of target students
  • teachers using information about students’ learning to plan programmes that will address gaps and extend learning opportunities
  • finding ways to better engage families in the school and building a collaborative partnership with parents about their children’s learning.

3 Curriculum

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

The school’s curriculum does not promote and support students’ learning effectively. The principal has identified areas that need developing and updating.

The school’s curriculum appropriately emphasises reading, writing and mathematics. Student access to digital technologies has increasingly improved. They use online resources to research and present their work and to support their learning. Some classes are using online environments that promote sharing and collaboration.

Teachers are trialling an inquiry approach to learning. An inquiry model has been developed that relates to the school’s heritage.

Students participate weekly in an ‘opportunities day’ that provides students with a wide range of cultural, performing arts and sports options where they can build on and extend their interests. Through these opportunities teachers are able to provide a richer curriculum for students.

It is timely for the school community to consider the aspirations they hold for Bruce McLaren graduates. Developing a graduate or school leavers profile would serve as a useful starting point in defining what is taught and how this contributes to the outcomes achieved by particular students.

School leaders and teachers need to consider how they can:

  • establish effective relationships with all students
  • engage students better in their learning through a culturally responsive and relevant curriculum
  • increasingly shift the focus from the teacher to the student, including students having greater knowledge about their progress and achievement, so they can plan for their next learning steps
  • develop a shared understanding of current high quality teaching practice.

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

Māori students make up almost 30 percent of the school roll. The principal is seeking ways to improve how the school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori.

Teachers are expected to teach basic te reo Māori in their classes. Students have opportunities to participate in cultural groups that could build their knowledge of waiata and tikanga Māori. Mau rakau learning is a recent addition to the school and provides a pathway through to credits at secondary school. Māori students are in leadership roles on the newly formed student council.

Teachers, senior leaders and the board of trustees should consider ways to support Māori students by providing opportunities for Māori cultural identity and language to become more visible in the school. This could also help the school to better honour its obligations to the Treaty of Waitangi and support understanding about bicultural practice for all students and staff.

4 Sustainable Performance

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

The school is not yet well placed to sustain recent positive developments or to make the required improvements to its performance.

The board is well led. Trustees are experienced and optimistic about the school’s future. They have managed a range of challenges well. The board is currently seeking additional trustees to encourage better representation from and for the community. This could provide opportunities for Māori representation to be elected or co-opted onto the board of trustees.

The principal has a sound vision for teaching and learning in the school. She has heightened expectations of teachers’ practice and students’ behaviour. These changes are impacting positively on the school.

Teachers, leaders and the board must increase their capacity to initiate and embed ongoing improvements. They should also use good internal evaluation processes to identify and investigate the effectiveness of initiatives and practices across all aspects of school operations.

A review of school policies should help clarify the extent to which the board is meeting all its obligations and legal requirements. The newly updated teacher appraisal process must ensure that teachers reflect on the impact of their teaching practice on outcomes for their students. These steps could help build a culture of evaluative reflection within the school, and more sustainable school improvement overall.

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students (the Code) established under section 238F of the Education Act 1989. The school has attested that it complies with all aspects of the Code. At the time of this review no international students were attending the school.

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.

Recommendations to other agencies

ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education consider providing support for the school to develop and implement effective, outcomes focused teaching practices.


Bruce McLaren Intermediate School is beginning a process of renewal and change. The principal is committed to school wide improvement that will promote better outcomes for students.

ERO intends to carry out another review over the course of one-to-two years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

31 August 2016

About the School


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Intermediate (Years 7 to 8)

School roll


Number of international students


Gender composition

Boys 55% Girls 45%

Ethnic composition





Cook Island Māori



other Pacific

other Asian












Special Features

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

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

31 August 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

Education Review

May 2013

October 2010

October 2007