Small New Zealand Primary Schools: Current Policy, Its Impact and Some Alternatives

  • Graham Collins


This article examines current educational policy in New Zealand relating to small schools, considers the impact of this policy, and reflects on whether more positive alternatives might be found. Some recent research into the nature of current policy is reported, and its impact in a selective range of small primary school settings is discussed. It is argued that the current “two-track” central policy (which attempts to strengthen some small schools and rationalise others) is failing to achieve either of these goals, basically because it misunderstands or under-estimates the nature of the local community feeling associated with many small schools, and its impact on patterns of inter-school behaviour. After more than a decade of emphasis on self-management, a one-school, one-community mindset has been created in many districts. Unless this mind set is counteracted through new policy that enhances interactions between neighbouring schools, and extends the sense of community beyond the individual school, school re-organisation in New Zealand is likely to remain problematic.


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Author Biography

Graham Collins
How to Cite
COLLINS, Graham. Small New Zealand Primary Schools: Current Policy, Its Impact and Some Alternatives. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 13, july 2003. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 oct. 2020. doi:


Educational Policy and Administration