It is part of educational folklore that Australian State school systems are highly centralised. A corollary of the lore is that schools generally lack the organisational flexibility to cater adequately for the diverse educational needs of their students. This article tests these beliefs as they relate to the States of Queensland and New South Wales. The research finds that the form of system‐level directives is more prescriptive in the latter State. In both States, however, the proportion of time which must be devoted to prescribed activities is less than many would expect, both for teachers and pupils. Even where head office directives appear to constrain, regional office staff can practise “benign neglect” in their policing of the directives, if they can see that there are educationally sound reasons for doing so. The article finds that there is sufficient substance in the folklore to give conservative principals an excuse to resist introducing innovations in their schools. Any principals who are determined to adapt their schools′ operations to better serve the educational needs of their students are however, unlikely to be prevented by central directives.
Stone, M. and Harrold, R. (1990), "The System the Ogre? Effects of System Requirements on Schools′ Curriculum Structures", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 28 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/09578239010140858Download as .RIS
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