The challenges in moving from one school structure to another : leading a school on two sites : a case study : research project report.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
Recently New Zealand schools have faced an ongoing climate of Education Reviews with many schools being restructured or closed as a result. For schools faced with the reality of possible closure, it is imperative that they explore other alternatives to maintain choice for the local community which they serve. One such alternative has been to develop a merger between two or more schools where the schools involved merge onto one central site, often establishing a new school identity at the same time. This research project explores a case study of a merger between a large urban primary school and a small two teacher rural primary school in New Zealand, who took the concept of a merger between two schools, but instead adapted the process where they operated under one name and one shared Board of Trustees, but continued to operate from the two original school sites with classes coming together for specific school wide events. This study explores the leadership and management challenges that the school leaders faced as they established their merger, and addresses four key areas as a result - how to create a model and develop a vision for the merger, staffing considerations, issues surrounding communication systems, and the lack of support structures which is a dominant factor and one that is also explored in relation to the other key challenges. The findings are also related to current educational issues in regard to the leadership of small schools in New Zealand and the education review process. The issues and challenges raised in this research paper are intended to provide information which address how such a merger impacts on school management and leadership. As it appears that no similar studies have been undertaken in New Zealand in this particular setting, it will be of particular relevance for schools facing education reviews or for schools seeking an alternative option to the traditional merger process or intended closure of their school.