As a consequence of rationalisation of educational provision in Western Australia, MaddingtonSenior High School was closed in 1999. A new principal was appointed with the brief to create amiddle school. Following extensive refurbishment of physical facilities, appointment of new staff and major curriculum revision, the school was re-opened in 2000 as Yule Brook College.Re-structuring of the school was based upon application of research into effective teaching,
learning and school improvement to create a ‘middle
school’ learning community. Particular
attention was given to identifying the characteristics of school and classroom learningenvironments conducive to improved student educational outcomes. This influenced schoolleadership practices, staff selection, curriculum provision, class groupings and classroom design.Prior to re-structuring, The School Cultural Elements Questionnaire, the Classroom CulturalElements Questionnaire and the Parental Involvement in School Questionnaire were administeredrespectively to staff, students and parents to profile the prevailing culture of the school. All threesurveys were re-administered after one year of school improvement implementation. Survey datawere subject to one-way analysis of variance to identify stability and change in multipledimensions of the learning community culture. Results indicate significant changes occurredwithin the school over the one year period of re-structuring.
A major review of educational provision in the Western Australian Cannington EducationDistrict resulted in closure of three comprehensive senior high schools. This also resulted inestablishment of an upper secondary senior college and two community colleges that were basedupon the notion of middle schooling. One of the senior high schools was replaced by acommunity college on the same site. Prior to closure of Maddington Senior High School in 1999and the opening of Yule Brook College in 2000, a new principal was appointed. Although thisappointment was to lead restructuring and guide the development of the community college, itincluded six months as principal of the senior high school with existing facilities, staff andcurriculum provision. The principal sought the assistance of the Curtin University of TechnologyFaculty of Education to research the restructuring process, its progress and initial outcomes.In cognisance of school improvement literature emphasising that school improvement requirestransformation of the culture of the school (Dalin, Rolff and Kleekamp, 1993; Fullan, 1993),investigation of the change process centred upon a longitudinal examination of school culture. Inparticular, determining whether or not there had been changes in:
The professional beliefs, values and attitudes of staff;
The classroom learning environments; and
The nature and extent of parental involvement.
Background and Significance
The context for the study was lower secondary school reform in Western Australia. In recentyears, a number of secondary schools have implemented a variety of initiatives in Years Eight toTen with the intention of improving student outcomes through alternative curriculum structuresand instructional practices (Jackson, 1998 p.18). The theoretical foundation of this reform is