Understanding the priorities of Australian secondary schools through an analysis of their mission and vision statements

Kelly-Ann Allen, Margaret L. Kern, Dianne Vella-Brodrick, Lea Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The vision or mission statement of a school outlines the school’s purpose and defines the context, goals, and aspirations that govern the institution. Using vision and mission statements, the present descriptive research study investigated trends in Australian secondary schools’ priorities. Research Methods: A stratified sample of secondary school vision and mission statements across 308 schools from government, independent, and Catholic sectors in Victoria, Australia, was analyzed using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Findings: Academic achievement was the most common theme, with school belonging and mental health promotion themes cited by over half of the schools. School belonging was emphasized more often by Catholic schools compared with independent and government schools, and by rural schools compared with urban schools. Implications: Australian schools are seemingly adopting a dual purpose: to be academic institutions and well-being enhancing institutions. Understanding the priorities of schools using vision and mission statements may guide researchers, administrators, and teachers about how to better meet the academic and psychological needs of the students. The priorities of schools also have implications for how research in this area is communicated to schools, and this study provides a method for capturing these priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-274
Number of pages26
JournalEducational Administration Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • academic achievement
  • mission statement
  • qualitative analysis
  • school policy
  • school purpose
  • thematic analysis
  • vision statement
  • well-being

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