Bream Bay College

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Findings

Students at Bream Bay College benefit from a broad, relevant curriculum that supports their learning and includes a wide range of co-curricular programmes and leadership opportunities. Good quality teaching practices support the engagement and achievement of students across the school. School leaders continue to seek out new approaches and opportunities to improve outcomes for students.

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

1 Context

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

Bream Bay College is a co-educational, Year 7 to 13 school that provides education for the young people of the Ruakaka district of Northland. The school has a bilingual unit for Year 7 and 8 students. Māori students comprise forty percent of the school’s roll which is mainly Pākehā.

The school aspires to foster a culture centred on respect, citizenship and achievement. Their vision is to develop well-rounded, innovative and culturally responsive thinkers, who contribute to a diverse world.

The school leadership team has focused on further developing collaborative approaches to improve learning outcomes for all students. In 2016, Bream Bay College joined a global education network, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). This initiative provides a framework for teaching and learning that focuses on developing skills and attitudes of deep learning competencies (6C’s).

ERO’s 2014 report recommended that the school strengthen internal evaluation to better respond to those students whose learning needed acceleration. It also identified that the board of trustees needed to report to the Māori community on the success of Māori students, including a focus on accelerated achievement for Māori boys. Trustees and senior leaders are making good progress in these areas.

2 Learning

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

The school uses achievement information very well to make positive changes to learners’ progress and achievement.

The school gathers a variety of data that builds a holistic achievement picture of each student over time. This includes information on their attendance, competencies, co-curricular involvement and academic progress. Reports developed are used by leaders, teachers and students to improve learning outcomes, particularly for those students who need their progress and achievement accelerated.

Student achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 declined in 2015 and regained some ground in 2016. Māori student achievement at this level has been increasing each year.

Leaders and teachers are implementing initiatives to reduce disparity.

These include vocationally-based pathways to qualifications and a focus on innovative practices (NPDL) to help promote engagement and accelerate progress.

The increasing numbers of students at Level 3 show positive shifts in their achievement levels.

Literacy and numeracy levels attained are consistently high. Leaders identify the challenges of students transferring these skills across the curriculum. Academic coaching is occurring at all levels but these processes could be more systemically developed to assist all students to understand their learning needs and strengths, especially at senior levels as they move from Level 1 to Level 2 NCEA.

Year 9 and 10 literacy and numeracy achievement information is collated and analysed to inform class programmes. This achievement is aligned with curriculum levels and the Junior School Diploma.

In Years 7 and 8, overall achievement in reading, writing and mathematics has remained relatively good over the last three years. However, there are some disparities in achievement at Year 7 and 8. The percentage of Māori students achieving National Standards is below the figure for all students achieving in reading, writing and mathematics. Some gender based differences are also in girls’ achievement exceeding that of boys in writing and reading.

Teachers and leaders are initiating inquiries into the effectiveness of their current practice and to identify how they could address identified disparities and accelerate students’ progress and achievement.

Students with additional learning needs and abilities are well supported by teachers and support staff. There is effective liaison between specialists and other resource personnel. The Accelerated Learning Centre makes a significant contribution to the educational success of many students. Their strategic and deliberate focus to support students through innovative approaches and targeted learning programmes helps bring about positive learning outcomes for students.

School leaders have identified they need to align the Junior Diploma with National Standards to provide greater clarity for students and parents about achievement.

3 Curriculum

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

The Bream Bay College curriculum supports and promotes student learning effectively. The curriculum is aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and increasingly to vocational and other pathway options. Teachers make learning meaningful and relevant for students in programmes that encourage creativity and collaboration.

Good quality teaching practices support the engagement and achievement of students across the school. Teachers are effectively using the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) to enrich student learning opportunities. These strategies support the engagement and learning of students, encourage collaboration and assist students to manage their own learning. Students have opportunities to learn in a range of authentic and community focused programmes using a range of technologies.

Learner focused relationships are acknowledged as the basis for effective learning. School leaders are investigating ways to seamlessly link the curriculum from Years 7 to 13 through their deep learning approaches.

The school successfully uses its Year 7 to 13 structure to enhance learning opportunities for Year 7 and 8 students through access to specialist teachers in many curriculum areas. Cross curricular connections give additional breadth and depth to student learning and engagement. Teacher strengths are used in a range of ways in the school’s curriculum and to respond to the diversity of student interests and needs.

The college offers a wide range of co-curricular activities. There are opportunities for students to build leadership capability and social competencies. The school has a variety of cultural, academic and sporting events that celebrate and promote student achievement.

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

The school is increasingly effective in promoting success for Māori students. The conditions for Māori students to succeed in their identity as Māori are improving and well supported by trustees, senior leaders and staff. The school is becoming more deliberate and strategic in promoting success for Māori learners. School leaders and teachers are working to address Māori boys’ disparity levels in school achievement.

Māori students report feeling more included in the life of the school and are well represented in leadership roles. Links with local iwi, marae and kaumātua are being strengthened. Te reo Māori is available through to Year 13. School kawa provides opportunities for students to lead karanga, whaikorero, waiata and haka.

Teachers and leaders are continuing to foster relationships and build learning focused partnerships with whānau and the Māori community for the benefit of students’ learning and future pathways.

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.

Sound governance is evident. Board decision-making is focused on improving outcomes for all students. Trustees are well informed about curriculum developments and student achievement. School systems and structures are coherent and aligned to school priorities.

School leadership is effective. The senior leadership team uses a range of strategies to establish a purposeful and successful learning environment. They use current educational research to build capability across the school through whole staff professional learning and performance management systems. Leaders of learning across the school are developing a range of innovative approaches and practices to improve outcomes for students.

ERO and school leaders acknowledge the importance of continuing to embed teaching as inquiry approaches to strengthen the school’s evaluation culture. 

Provision for international students

The school is a signatory to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice 2016 (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 the review there was one international student attending the school.

The school provides its international students with a good standard of education. Students benefit from the school’s pastoral care systems and the opportunities to participate in school activities. The school’s monitoring systems and internal evaluation processes are effective.

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.

Conclusion

Students at Bream Bay College benefit from a broad, relevant curriculum that supports their learning and includes a wide range of co-curricular programmes and leadership opportunities. Good quality teaching practices support the engagement and achievement of students across the school. School leaders continue to seek out new approaches and opportunities to improve outcomes for students.

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

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

10 July 2017

About the School 

Location

Ruakaka, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

20

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 15)

School roll

505

Number of international students

1

Gender composition

Boys 51%

Girls 49%

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
other ethnicities

42%
50%
2%
6%

Special Features

Bilingual Unit Years 7 and 8

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

10 July 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

June 2014
February 2012
November 2008

 

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.

Progress

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.

Conclusion

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

Location

Ruakaka, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number

20

School type

Secondary (Years 7 to 14)

School roll

463

Number of international students

2

Gender composition

Boys      54%
Girls       46%

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Asian
other European
other
Pacific

39%
54%
  2%
  2%
  2%
  1%

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