Four Avenues : a school without walls? : a social history of Four Avenues Alternative School in Christchurch, New Zealand. (2004)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameMaster of Arts
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury. Sociology and Anthropology
AuthorsWhiting, Paulshow all
This thesis provides a social history of Four Avenues Alternative School in Christchurch, New Zealand, beginning with the school's establishment in the mid-1970s and ending with its closure in 1993. This thesis addresses the question of how Four Avenues maintained its place in the state education system for 18 years and how that place was threatened over time. Using microhistorical analysis, it discusses the school's history through the intensive study of three events in that history: 1) the opening of Four Avenues in May 1975; 2) the Department of Education's decision to close Four Avenues early in 1983; and 3) the Education Review Office (1993) audit that recommended Four Avenues' closure in 1993. These events are selected because they were points in Four Avenues' history where its survival was an open issue. This thesis argues three features of Four Avenues' history were important in helping it to remain open: the school's relationship to wider political events and circumstances, its relationship to Hagley High School / Hagley Community College, and the commitment of many within the school to the pedagogy they saw it as embodying. These three features helped Four Avenues to remain a part of the state education system; yet they also threatened its survival as a state school over time and eventually contributed to its closure.