The impact of school staff perceptions on parental choice of next school : A study into the perceptions held by staff in contributing schools about the schools they contribute to and the impact that may have on the marketing decisions of the next school.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
Can and do staff at contributing schools have an effect on the decisions parents and students make about their next school? The writer's experience as a past contributing primary school principal and a current intermediate school principal would suggest that the comments a teacher or principal makes about a another school may influence parents and students in their selection of their 'next' school. The study seeks to explore contributing school staff perceptions about the school/s they contribute to, their knowledge about the school/s, how they gain knowledge about the school/s, and the frequency they provide advice on school selection to parents or students. A key element of the study is the focus on the perceptions held by contributing school staff of the schools to which their school contributes. The New Zealand school system is an increasingly competitive school environment. New Zealand compulsory education is relatively fragmented with a wide range of schools being present within a self-managing framework overseen by a central Ministry of Education. Each school delivers individually tailored learning programmes based on a nationally mandated curriculum. This has resulted in a system of schooling that is inherently competitive and where parents have considerable choice about which schools their child may attend although enrolment zones or enrolment criteria can at times restrict this choice. The result of this environment is that many schools have to engage in both direct and indirect marketing to ensure their survival. This marketing may include a range of activities including open nights, community newsletters, a glossy school prospectus, or newspaper advertising. Contributing schools often act as information gatekeepers to prospective students and families, interpreting, allowing or not allowing information to pass on to students therefore the perceptions that contributing school staff have about a school may influence the advice they give or the access to students that they allow. A written survey was provided to all staff at three contributing schools. All three schools contributed to the same two intermediate schools. The survey contained multiple-choice questions, with a small number of open-ended questions. Staff in the case study schools showed little factual knowledge about the schools to which they contributed. The majority of staff felt they had no views for or against particular schools, nor were they asked directly for information about the 'next school' very often. The writer identifies an area for further study, suggesting a study involving Year 6 students, parents of year 6 students, contributing school staff and staff at the next school. This study would seek to compare the sources and type of information students and parents had about 'next school' selection and the influences contributing school staff may have on the type or content of information available.
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