The school that I currently teach at in Rotorua was formally a decile 9 school but changed to a decile 7 school in 2015. We have a role of near 600 with a diverse culture. Māori students make up 25 percent of the school roll as well as a large amount of other English as second language speakers. Otonga was formally unzoned which has resulted in a diverse socioeconomic status at our school and means many children travel from around Rotorua to attend. Last year Otonga became zoned, as a result of overflowing class sizes.
Rotorua is considered quite a low socioeconomic area in New Zealand but Springfield is considered a desirable and higher income district. The median income for Springfield is $35,100 compared to $26,900 for Rotorua. The unemployment rate for Springfield is 5.1% compared to 10% for Rotorua (Statistics New Zealand, 2013). The status of our community is quite high and therefore the expectations on our school are extremely high. Although only a decile 7 school, we compare ourselves and our achievement to decile 9 schools who have a higher socio-economic status. We have many initiatives in place to try and help our struggling learners. This includes Numicon and ALIM groups for maths, rainbow reading and early words. There is also ESOL groups run for our English as a second language speakers, which mostly consists of Asian students.
The culture that our school strives to have is a collaborative culture where we are setting our students up to have the skills to work in a 21st century workplace. We strive to give students a voice in their learning and where there is mutual respect between the community of practice. The issues that we have in our school culture is that although we strive to be collaborative, this is not happening school wide and therefore rather than collaboration, it is more along the lines of Balkanisation. This is when teachers are neither isolated nor work as a whole school, rather small collaborative groups form (Stoll,1998). This has been seen by some teachers team teaching by their own choice and the rest of the team teaching individually. Overview planning is done together then branches off into what the classroom teacher really wants to do. To overcome this, I feel that decisions need to have a shared goal which is co constructed rather than directed. There needs to be professional development around the ever changing face of education and with mutual respect their should be less Balkanisation.
When looking at Stoll and Fink’s model our school culture can be seen as cruising. We are effective in affluent areas, pupils achieve in spite of teaching quality, we aren’t quite at a stage where we are preparing pupils for changing world and we possess powerful norms that inhibit change. Looking to the future we need to change our school vision (which we are in the process of) so that our students and teachers “know where they’re going and having the will and skill to get there” (Stoll,1998).
Education Review Office. (2014). Otonga Road School – 28/07/2014. Retrieved
Ministry of Education – Education Counts. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2017, from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/data-services/directories/list-of-nz-schools
Statistics New Zealand. (2013). 2013 Census QuickStats about a place:Springfield. Retrieved from http://www.stats.govt.nz/tools_and_services/tools/TableBuilder/income-tables.aspx
Stoll (1998). School Culture. School Improvement Network’s Bulletin 9. Institute of Education, University of London.