International Association of Educators   |  ISSN: 2834-7919   |  e-ISSN: 1554-5210

Original article | International Journal of Progressive Education 2021, Vol. 17(6) 324-354

The Growth of Independent Education Alternatives in New Zealand

Lucila Rudge

pp. 324 - 354   |  DOI:   |  Manu. Number: MANU-2107-02-0002

Published online: December 03, 2021  |   Number of Views: 198  |  Number of Download: 555


The New Zealand schooling system is well-known for its progressive and innovative approach to education (Couch, 2012; Mutch, 2013; Wells, 2016). Their national curriculum is inclusive and flexible, allowing schools and teachers to select the content they deem necessary to meet the competencies in the designated learning areas (Ministry of Education, 2007). Additionally, the NZ education system provides choice to parents by offering a range of alternative approaches to schooling, such as Steiner Schools, Montessori Schools, Catholic Schools, or Kura Kaupapa Mãori (Mãori language immersion schools). Within such progressive public schooling system, one would not expect that there would be interest in alternative private schools. Yet, this study found the opposite. To examine the growing interest in independent alternative programs in New Zealand, this study uses a qualitative multiple-case study design of four independent educational programs in the North Island of New Zealand.

Keywords: Alternative Education, Progressive Education, Holistic Education, Independent Schools, Private School

How to Cite this Article?

APA 6th edition
Rudge, L. (2021). The Growth of Independent Education Alternatives in New Zealand . International Journal of Progressive Education, 17(6), 324-354. doi: 10.29329/ijpe.2021.382.22

Rudge, L. (2021). The Growth of Independent Education Alternatives in New Zealand . International Journal of Progressive Education, 17(6), pp. 324-354.

Chicago 16th edition
Rudge, Lucila (2021). "The Growth of Independent Education Alternatives in New Zealand ". International Journal of Progressive Education 17 (6):324-354. doi:10.29329/ijpe.2021.382.22.

  1. Clark, E. (1991). Environmental education as an integrative study. In R. Miller, New directions in education: selections from Holistic Education Review (pp. 38-52). Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press. [Google Scholar]
  2. Clark, E. (2001). Designing and implementing an integrated curriculum: A student-centered Approach Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press. [Google Scholar]
  3. Corbin, J. and Strauss, A. (2008) Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Sage, Thousand Oaks. [Google Scholar]
  4. Conley, B.E. (2002). Alternative schools: A reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.  [Google Scholar]
  5. Couch, D. (2012). Progressive education in New Zealand from 1937-1944: Seven years from idea to orthodoxy. Pacific-Asian Education, 24(1), 55-72.  [Google Scholar]
  6. Eisler, R. (2000). Tomorrow's children: A blueprint for partnership education in the 21st century. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. [Google Scholar]
  7. Eisler, R., & Miller, R. (2004). Educating for a culture of peace. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. [Google Scholar]
  8. Egan, D. (2020). An exploration of psychological wellbeing in Irish Forest Schools. Doctoral Dissertation, Mary Immaculate College, Ireland.  [Google Scholar]
  9. Ed Innovators NZ. (n.d.).  [Google Scholar]
  10. Falk, J. H., Heimlich, J. E., & Foutz, S. (2009). Free-choice learning and the environment. Lanham: AltaMira. [Google Scholar]
  11. Flake, C. (1993). Holistic education: Principles, perspectives, and practices. Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press. [Google Scholar]
  12. Fletcher, J., & Everatt, J. (2021). Innovative learning environments in New Zealand: Student teachers’ perceptions. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 1–21. [Google Scholar]
  13. Forbes, S. (2003). Holistic education: An analysis of its ideas and nature. Brandon, VT: Foundation for Educational Renewal.  [Google Scholar]
  14. Free Forest School. (n.d.) Our outdoors. Retrieved from  [Google Scholar]
  15. Forest School Foundation. (2020, Oct 9). A brief history of forest schools around the world. Retrieved from [Google Scholar]
  16. Gardner, H. (2011). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books. [Google Scholar]
  17. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine. [Google Scholar]
  18. Goleman, D. (2020). Emotional intelligence. New York, NY: Bantam Books. [Google Scholar]
  19. Goleman, D. (2013). Social intelligence: The new science of human relationships. London: Arrow Books. [Google Scholar]
  20. Harris, F. (2018). Outdoor learning spaces: The case of forest school. Area, 50(2), 222-231.  [Google Scholar]
  21. Kearney, A.C. (2009). Barriers to school inclusion: An investigation into the exclusion of disabled students from and within New Zealand schools. Ph.D. Thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.  [Google Scholar]
  22. Koegel, R. & Miller, R. (2003). The heart of holistic education: A reconstructed dialogue between Ron Miller and Rob Koegel. Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice, 16(2), 11-18. [Google Scholar]
  23. Kraftl, P. (2013). Geographies of alternative education: Diverse learning spaces for children and young people. Bristol: Policy Press. [Google Scholar]
  24. McGregor, G., & Mills, M. (2012). Alternative education sites and marginalised young people: ‘I wish there were more schools like this one’. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16, 8, 843-862. [Google Scholar]
  25. Miller, J. P. (2014). Whole Child Education. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [Google Scholar]
  26. Miller, J. (2019). The holistic curriculum. Toronto, Canada: OISE Press.  [Google Scholar]
  27. Miller, J., Nigh, K., Binder, M., Novak, B., & Crowell, S. (2019). International handbook of holistic education. Routledge.  [Google Scholar]
  28. Miller, R. (1990). What are schools for? Holistic education in American Culture. Vermont: Holistic Education Press.  [Google Scholar]
  29. Miller, R. (1993). Introduction: Vital voices of educational dissent. In R. Miller (Ed.), The renewal of meaning in education: Responses to the cultural and ecological crises of our times (pp. 6-24). Brandon, VT: Holistic Education Press.  [Google Scholar]
  30. Miller, R. (2002). Free schools, free people: Education and democracy after the 1960s. Albany, NY: State University of New York, NY Press. [Google Scholar]
  31. Miller, R. (2006). Making connections to the world: Some thoughts on holistic curriculum. Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice, 19(4), 19-24. [Google Scholar]
  32. Ministry of Education. The New Zealand Curriculum. Wellington, NZ: Learning Media Limited.  [Google Scholar]
  33. Mutch, C. (2013). Progressive education in New Zealand: A revered past, a contested present, and an uncertain future. International Journal of Progressive Education, 9(2), 99-116. [Google Scholar]
  34. Nairn, K., & J. Higgins. (2011). The Emotional Geographies of Neoliberal School Reforms: Spaces of Refuge and Containment. Emotion, Space and Society, 4, 180–186. [Google Scholar]
  35. Nava, R. (2001). Holistic education: Pedagogy of universal love. Brandon, VT: Foundation for Educational Renewal. [Google Scholar]
  36. New Zealand Government. (2018). Leading innovative learning in New Zealand schools. Crown Copyright.  [Google Scholar]
  37. Noddings, N. (2005). The challenge to care in schools: An alternative approach to education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. [Google Scholar]
  38. Noddings, N. (2013). Caring, a feminine approach to ethics and moral education. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. [Google Scholar]
  39. O’Connor, P., & Holland, C. (2013). Charter schools: A right turn for education. New Zealand Journal for Educational Studies, 48(1), 140-147.  [Google Scholar]
  40. Reeve, J., & Tseng, C. M. (2011). Agency as a fourth aspect of students’ engagement during learning activities. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36(4), 257-267. [Google Scholar]
  41. Riddle, S. & Cleaver, D. (2017). Working within and against the grain of policy in an alternative school. Discourse Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 38(4), 498-510.  [Google Scholar]
  42. Rudge, L. (2010). Holistic education: An analysis of its pedagogical application. Saarbrücken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing. [Google Scholar]
  43. Rudge, L. (2016). Holistic pedagogy in public schools: A case study of three alternative schools. Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 5(2), 169-195. [Google Scholar]
  44. Schoone, A. (2017). Joy, grace and transformation: the pedagogy of tutors in New Zealand’s alternative education centres. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 21(8), 808-821.  [Google Scholar]
  45. Taylor, M.E., & Boyer, W. (2020). Play-Based Learning: Evidence-Based Research to Improve Children’s Learning Experiences in the Kindergarten Classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal 48, 127–133. [Google Scholar]
  46. The Forest School Parent Handbook. (2019). p.1-15.  [Google Scholar]
  47. The school system. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2019, from [Google Scholar]
  48. Vaughan, K. (2002). The politics of alternative education in New Zealand. Education Links, 65, 12-17. [Google Scholar]
  49. Wasburn-Moses, L. (2011). An investigation of alternative schools in one state: implications for students with disabilities. Journal of Special Education, 44(4), 247-255.  [Google Scholar]
  50. Wells, R. (2016). A learner’s paradise: How New Zealand is reimagining education. EdTech Team Press.  [Google Scholar]
  51. Woods, P.A. & Woods, G.J. (Eds.). (2009). Alternative education for the 21st century: Philosophies, approaches, visions. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. [Google Scholar]
  52. Yin, R. K. (2014). Case study research: Design and methods. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. [Google Scholar]