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New report highlights links between school isolation and practice – NZCER

Teachers in more isolated schools are more likely to have good morale, but are more likely to report concerns about vulnerable students’ ability to receive timely support. The findings come from a new NZCER data report, Teacher Perspectives from NZCER’s 2023 national survey of area schools. A collaborative report between NZCER and the NZ Association of Area Schools (NZASA), it explored responses from 652 teachers across 64 area schools. Area schools offer primary, intermediate and secondary education in one setting, and are typically located in rural areas across Aotearoa. NZCER collected responses across the below six areas, analysing statistically significant associations between responses, school isolation, and year level. Views on the year ahead Support for Māori students Support for Pacific students Student wellbeing Teachers’ working experiences, career plans, and support Professional learning and development (PLD)

Overall, teachers from schools with a higher isolation index were more likely to: Report having manageable workload Feel their school cares about staff wellbeing

Have a clear idea of upcoming policy changes that impact their work Have higher levels of morale Discuss and see the work of other teachers in their school Explore deeper ideas and theory that underpin teaching approaches Have received professional learning and development to support the progress of ākonga Māori and develop localised curriculum

Conversely, those teaching at schools with a higher isolation index were less likely to: Report vulnerable students could access timely school-based or external support

Use group learning or peer support strategies to help students build friendships “The size of these statistically significant associations is weak-to-moderate, but provide insights into area schools that are often missing from the national picture” notes Kairangahau Matua Mohamed Alansari. “It gives us a lot of interesting themes that we certainly would like to see further explored in follow-up qualitative studies.”


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