Intermediate schooling in New Zealand has always been a controversial sector of the education system. For the first time since the implementation of two year intermediate schools over sixty years ago there is now opportunity for structural change. Since the 1989 educational administration reforms, the Educational Development Initiatives have enabled schools to restructure and a number of schools have, for a variety of reasons, decided to change their existing structure.
Through restructuring it was hoped that schools would be able to deliver a more appropriate education for the children in their community. To date, restructuring has not been widespread but where it has occurred it has raised a number of important educational and employment issues. Certainly there has been much debate and, in some cases, conflict. This restructuring process has spawned a number of reports that focus on the middle school area (Education Review Office, 1994; Stewart & Nolan, 1992). However, apart from two year intermediate schools there have not been any other forms of middle schools in New Zealand so there has not been any recent research that specifically has the middle school as its focus.
Recently, a number of intermediate schools applied to the Ministry of Education to add Form 3 and Form 4 classes, and in 1994 the Ministry gave the go-ahead to three of them. One of these new 'middle schools' is the subject of this paper. In 1995, a Form 3 class was added and in 1996 a Form 4 class was added. Such a restructuring provided a unique opportunity to monitor the process of change and to investigate the implications of an intermediate school moving towards a Form 1 to 4 middle school. This paper documents that process.
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