A matter of priority: Priority learners, leadership and equity in rural New Zealand schools

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dc.contributor.advisor Kiro, C en
dc.contributor.advisor Hynds, A en
dc.contributor.author Wilkinson, Michael en
dc.date.accessioned 2017-05-03T21:26:31Z en
dc.date.issued 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32755 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract To address inequity in New Zealand’s schools, the Ministry of Education identified groups of students who historically faced inequitable educational outcomes as Priority Learners. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of rural school leaders addressing the issue of priority learners within their schools. Leaders from three rural North Island schools, including five deputy principals and three principals, participated. The study investigates how these school leaders’ understanding of priority frames school culture to both facilitate or limit the pursuit of equity for priority learners. The participants shared a range of perceptions regarding their understanding of equity and priority learners. The findings suggest that underserved student groups are not well understood and are not the priority. The experiences of the leaders were located in numerous individual students, which led to a perception that the problem was too big and too hard to solve. The very personal and individualised experience of leaders, possibly influenced by the small rural school context, led to deficit thinking, the erasure of difference and the work perceived to be unsustainable. By focusing on the minutia leaders avoided reflecting on the system, the teachers’ practice or their own roles in perpetuating inequities. Leaders experienced significant resistance in their work that they believed they were not capable of overcoming and this took a personal toll. Ministry accountability measures also appeared to enable leaders to avoid inquiry into systemic barriers to inequity and created tension between meeting targets and meeting the educational needs of priority learners. The leadership in teams was focused on managing tasks and problems rather than leading change and collaborations were focused on addressing perceived deficits in the student, the family/whānau and the community rather than the system. Well established in the research literature, leaders can be very influential in improving educational equity, yet this study discovered a number of leadership equity traps from the participants’ experiences that were barriers to achieving educational equity in their schools. This study has implications for school leadership professional development and learning, rural leadership, collaborative leadership, equity and social justice advocacy, change management and accountability. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264906303602091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ en
dc.title A matter of priority: Priority learners, leadership and equity in rural New Zealand schools en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Educational Leadership en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 624198 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-05-04 en


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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/

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