Despite a dramatic drop in student numbers, management at Kamo High School are confident better times are in sight.
At 1389 students in 2010, Kamo was the biggest school in Whangarei, but troubles at the school in recent years have seen the roll drop 24 per cent to 1049 this year.
Following a critical report by the Education Review Office last year, the Secretary of Education appointed a statutory manager to take over some of the roles of the school board.
The school community was further shocked when principal Bernie Taffs resigned unexpectedly at the start of this year.
By March 1, more than 130 students had dropped off the roll of 1184 predicted by the Ministry of Education for 2012.
Most of the loss was felt at Year 9 level, with new enrolments falling to 160.
However, plans are in place to see the falling roll trend reversed, statutory manager Chris Saunders said.
While Mr Saunders will continue his intervention at the school until the MoE is satisfied changes have been implemented, the appointment of a new principal and other senior managers by term three will be positive steps, Mr Saunders said.
Meanwhile, an interim team of senior managers have been introducing new management practices to address the problems identified by the ERO last year and the school's Board of Trustees have initiated a number of community meetings and consultations to get community input about the future direction of the school.
These, and other initiatives, will hopefully see the school turn a corner by next year, he said.
"We will be interested to see what the enrolment pattern is for 2013 with all that we've been through this year and the type of improvements we're trying to do."
The loss of students at Kamo sees Whangarei Girls' High School become the biggest school in Whangarei and the second biggest school in Northland.
Kerikeri High School tops the list of Northland schools, with 1428 students on March 1.
Whangarei Girls' High School gained a handful of students on February last year but had limited capacity to expand further, principal Anne Cooper said.
Whangarei Boys' High School also grew slightly from 2011, headmaster Al Kirk said.
Student roll March 1
Bream Bay 452
Christian Renewal 172