New Zealand primary and secondary school curriculums have been changed and adapted regularly and considerably since the first nationwide mandated curriculum was introduced 1877. This essay will work to respond to the O'Neill, Clark and Openshaw (2004) statement; while identifying and explaining the ways in which the New Zealand curriculum has been changed and adapted from 1877 to 1970. This essay will do this by first, investigating the 1877 Education Act and examining the ways the New Zealand curriculum has been changed by several of processes over this time period. Second this essay will, explain how The Education Act made the curriculum to begin with, which showed what educators believed was most important in New Zealand education. Third this essay will explain how education for Maori students differed to Pakeha students. Next, this essay will discuss the role women played in the New Zealand education and curriculum. Last, this essay will investigate the Thomas Report produced in 1943, and discuss the issues it made with the core curriculum and secondary schooling. .
Prior to introduction of The Education Act in 1877, education was neither free nor mandatory so only the wealthy could afford to attend (Swarbrick, 2012). The new legislation meant children up to the year eight were expected to go to school (Swarbrick, 2012). At the time there were approximately 730 public schools, 78 percent of which were one teacher, one classroom, small country schools (Swarbrick, 2012). Country schools were state funded by a 'capitation grant', unfortunately, this meant costs were linked to student's attendance (Swarbrick, 2012). However, being in the country meant children; had to partake in the running of the farm, or could not get to school due to the weather conditions. As a result the schools were insufficiently funded and keeping teachers attracted was difficult (Swarbrick, 2012).