Are school visions sustainable? Assessing the relevance of Senge’s notion of shared visions
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Contemporary schools, in the pursuit of developing community, will seek to build statements of vision based on values that focus action and become the impetus for the daily renewal of commitment by those bound to these statements. In New Zealand, a current focal point for Education Review Office reviews is the ability of schools to maintain sustainable performance. This paper reports on a small-scale pilot study undertaken at an establishment (new) school that has strong foundation statements of vision, mission and values. The question at the centre of this investigation is how this new, and rapidly expanding, school will maintain and sustain its visionary focus, in particular, its concept of community, through the growth cycle. A concept of shared vision is proposed by Peter Senge as one of his ‘ five disciplines of learning organisations’. Senge’s theorisation includes notions of the genesis, development, anchoring, advocacy and long-term sustainability of visions. This pilot study seeks to establish the relevance of Senge’s model to the question of vision sustainability in the case study school. The design is based on a series of semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders associated with the early establishment of the case study school.