Nicola’s research aims to examine the extent to which policy and practice are consistent with the law in relation to student discipline in New Zealand schools. The reasons for any consistency will be considered along with the implications. Through exploring how laws relating to student discipline are applied and experienced within the complexity of the school environment, her study seeks to add to the emerging body of socio-legal research within New Zealand. Nicola is using a two-phase mixed methods research design. The first phase of her research involves a nationwide survey of principals to explore their views on current student discipline laws and their familiarity with laws relating to student discipline. The second phase of her research involves interviews with principals and trustees. The central focus of these interviews is the “law in action” section, which contains questions relating to student discipline scenarios. Responses to these questions are intended to provide a valuable insight into how principals and trustees interpret and apply student discipline laws, along with the factors which influence their decision-making. The findings from Nicola’s research may be used to inform law and policy reform in the area of student discipline, along with professional development for decision-makers.
Nicola is a registered teacher with over twelve years’ experience teaching at secondary school and tertiary level. She is currently employed by the University of Canterbury in a number of roles including as a lecturer in the Specialist Teaching Programme, an Accredited Facilitator specialising in secondary literacy and a Teaching Assistant in the School of Law. Nicola has extensive experience in supporting schools to meet the needs of priority learners through the implementation of evidence based interventions. Her work is driven by a strengths based, collaborative approach to meeting the needs of all ākonga.