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Comprehensive post‐primary schooling in New Zealand: 1935‐1975

Gregory Lee (Associate Professor in History of Education at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand)
Howard Lee (Professor of Policy and Leadership Studies in Education and Head of the School of Educational Studies, Massey University College of Education)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 24 June 2008



In light of contemporary critiques of New Zealand comprehensive schooling published mainly in the popular press, it is timely to re‐examine the origins of and the rationale for the widespread adoption of this model of education. The comprehensive schooling philosophy, it was recently alleged, has produced a situation in which ‘as many as one in five pupils in the system is failing’ and where ‘there is a large group at the bottom who are not succeeding’. This group was estimated to include some 153,000 students out of the total current New Zealand student population of 765,000. In this context, however, Chris Saunders and Mike Williams, principals of Onehunga High School and Aorere College in Auckland respectively, have noted that having underachieving students in secondary schools in particular is not a recent phenomenon. A large ‘tail’ of poor performing high school students has long been a cause of concern, Williams suggests.



Lee, G. and Lee, H. (2008), "Comprehensive post‐primary schooling in New Zealand: 1935‐1975", History of Education Review, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 56-76.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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