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Some like it liminal: Finding a place for the last alternative state high school in New Zealand

Karen Vaughan

At the end of 2001, Auckland Metropolitan College ('Metro'), the only state-funded alternative secondary school in New Zealand, was finally closed.  The closure came after six years of intense debate between the school community and the Ministry of Education over Metro's future and followed eight highly critical Education Review Office (ERO) reviews in as many years, making it one of the most reviewed schools in New Zealand.

Support for Metro to remain open came from not only its own students and staff but from neighbouring schools who saw Metro as a place to house the 'at risk' students who potentially damaged the reputations of their own schools.  In this article, the metaphors of 'liminality', 'outsourcing', and being 'out of place' are used to understand how, in New Zealand's quasi-market educational context, Metro was left trying to meet the needs of students with no other place in the system under conditions that produced the school as both in danger, and a danger to, the education system, inevitably failing against ERO standards of effective schooling.

The full journal article is published in:
Education and Social Justice, 4 (3), 2002. p. 52-59

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Karen Vaughan