School consolidation reforms are underway in regional New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The purpose of this paper is to establish an evidence base of research literature on school consolidation in regional, rural and remote locations.
A scoping study of empirical literature on school consolidation, with a particular focus on regional, rural and remote education, since the year 2000 was undertaken. A corpus of 35 papers were identified and subjected to analysis based on: year of publication, country of origin, unit of analysis, data sources, timeframe and theoretical model.
There remains a limited evidence base for the success of school consolidation reforms for turning around student outcomes. In addition, a number of social implications are experienced by communities losing their local school. These issues are amplified in regional, rural and remote locations.
School consolidation reforms are used by governments/systems wanting to reduce costs and address issues of student disengagement and under-achievement. Despite a lengthy history internationally, there is at best mixed evidence regarding these reforms. With a consider disparity gap between urban and regional, rural and remote school outcomes, robust evidence on the success of reforms has major policy implications for government, systems, educators and communities.
With reforms already underway in NSW (and elsewhere), the need for a rigorous and robust evidence base, such as this scoping study, is timely and significant.
Funding for this research was provided by the New South Wales Department of Education.
Eacott, S. and Freeborn, A. (2019), "Regional and rural school consolidation: a scoping study of research literature", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 477-491. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-08-2019-0318Download as .RIS
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