The Beeby-Fraser ideal: is it time to abandon it?


  • John O'Neill Massey University



inclusive education, Beeby, Fraser, Tomorrow’s Schools, social justice


In 1939, C.E. Beeby, the director of education, alongside the minister of education, Peter Fraser, made a statement that has endured in New Zealand educational folklore: that ‘all persons, whatever their ability, rich or poor, whether they live in town or country, have a right as citizens to a free education of the kind for which they are best fitted and to the fullest extent of their powers’. This has underpinned aspirational visions of inclusive and egalitarian education in the past 80 years, but to what extent has this vision been realised, and is it still worthy of being an inspirational call to action? In this article, this statement call for a socially just education system is revisited, especially in light of the review of Tomorrow’s Schools (2018–19).


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Author Biography

John O'Neill, Massey University

John O’Neill is Professor of Teacher Education at Massey University. His research interests include the relationships between education policy and teachers’ work and learning.