‘Rich’ and ‘Poor’ Schools Revisited

  • Liz GordonEmail author


This year the education research community in New Zealand is celebrating fifty years of the publication of the New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies. In this article, it is argued that the half century has been bifurcated by the shift from social democratic discourses of equality for all, to a market choice model of schooling after 1989. This article will explore the social and institutional effects of the policy change on the schooling system, especially in the context of a more unequal society. Key findings include the general diaspora, especially but not only by pākehā, from low decile schools. Schools in the bottom four deciles are all now much smaller on average than twenty-five years ago, and there is no sign of that unequalising process slowing down. Those schools are likely to be very heavily populated with children whose families live below the poverty line. There are social, ethnic and educational implications of the school population shift. Further, choice models have proven to be remarkably enduring and resilient.


Education policy History Sociology Inequality School decile 


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Copyright information

© New Zealand Association for Research in Education 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pūkeko Research LtdChristchurchNew Zealand

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