When Tomorrow Comes: contextualising the independent review of Tomorrow’s Schools


  • Michael Barker




Tomorrow’s Schools, education, policy, reform


The Tomorrow’s Schools reforms in 1989 fundamentally changed primary and secondary schooling in New Zealand. While the devolved nature of Tomorrow’s Schools has enabled higher levels of local autonomy, it has also been criticised for opening up schools to marketisation and contributing to inequality between schools. Around 30 years after the original reforms, a significant government-sponsored review was undertaken into whether the compulsory schooling system was still fit for purpose under the Tomorrow’s Schools settings. This article finds that there is a mismatch between the recommended structural reform and the resulting ‘reset’ of Tomorrow’s schools.


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Author Biography

Michael Barker

Michael Barker is a public policy professional based in Wellington. He has an academic background in education and occasionally writes and lectures on education policy. His recent works include contributions to the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies (2019) and Social Policy Practice and Processes in Aotearoa New Zealand (Massey University Press, 2021).