New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 101–117 | Cite as

Leadership Practices and Challenges in Managing Diversity to Achieve Ethnic Inclusion in Two New Zealand Secondary Schools

  • Carol Cardno
  • Manjula Handjani
  • Jo HowseEmail author


The rapid increase in the diversity of school populations in some urban settings in New Zealand creates a challenge for school leaders in relation to fostering ethnic inclusion as an important aspect of leading a school with a diverse student population. The purpose of this small study was to investigate the nature and challenges of diversity in two large multi-ethnic secondary schools in Auckland, New Zealand, and the ways in which these schools managed diversity to achieve ethnic inclusion. A qualitative case study approach was adopted to conduct in-depth interviews with senior leaders, curriculum leaders and pastoral care leaders to probe their understanding of the concept of ethnic inclusion and their perceptions of practices and challenges. The findings showed that while leaders claimed to be committed to improving the academic achievement of all students by using inclusive practices, there was little evidence of what the literature establishes as effective practice. Furthermore, diversity management through interventions were often exclusive to Maori and Pacific students with other ethnic groups generally ignored. The implications for practice include a need to widen the meaning of diversity and inclusiveness beyond the current focus on Maori and Pacific initiatives, a need for staff development on the topic of ethnic inclusion, and a need to engage in dialogue about minority ethnic group inclusion with the school community.


Multi-ethnic inclusion Managing ethnic diversity New Zealand Secondary schools 


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Copyright information

© New Zealand Association for Research in Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unitec Institute of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Aorere CollegeAucklandNew Zealand

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