Thank you for your patience as we continue to review and update our forms, templates, guidance, and other information following the lifting of the COVID-19 vaccination updates. In the meantime, our Advisory and Support Centre is available to discuss any governance or employment matters on 0800 782 435, or alternatively by email  –  (for employment advice) or  (for governance advice).

Working well as a board 

Ko te mahi tahi hei poari

As board members, you share a common purpose of ensuring all students receive the best possible education.

To achieve this, you have to work well as a board, respecting the strengths and diverse range of knowledge and skills each board member brings to the table. You also need to show leadership and develop a good understanding of one another’s roles. You need to understand the basics of governance and be willing to foster a strong board culture among your team.

Monitoring and reporting on the board relationship is also part of working well as a board, as is engaging with the wider school community to ensure they understand how you are progressing as a board.

Not sure where to start? Keep reading this guide – and check out the useful resources attached here to guide you.

You may want to sign up for the NZSTA professional development programme or contact us with your questions. The good news is there’s plenty of help and support available from NZSTA to help guide you.

Your responsibilities as a board

To fulfil your responsibilities as a board and to gel as a team, it’s a good idea for boards to have a code of behaviour setting out your board’s commitment to various behaviours. It’s easy, simply check out the template examples below.

What you need to know about the board make-up

All boards are a mix of elected/selected parent representatives (between three and seven on each board), the principal, a staff representative, a student representative (this applies to schools with students above year 9 only), proprietor’s appointees (state-integrated schools only and not more than four on each board), co-opted board members and appointed board members (the body corporate). For more information, take part in our professional development module on governance essentials and you’ll get up-to-speed in no time.


Why the role of presiding member is important

As a board, you must appoint a board member (who is not the principal, staff representative or student representative) to the role of presiding member. It is an important role. The presiding member is expected to develop and maintain a productive working relationship with the principal and ensure the smooth and efficient running of the school.


What board members need to work well as a team

Generally speaking, to work well together, board members need a clear understanding of everyone’s role and responsibilities and the board’s strategy, as well as a sound understanding of the day-to-day work of the board. It’s also important everyone understands the principles of good governance and the rules of expected behaviour for everyone on the board (which is where the board’s code of behaviour and policy framework will come in handy). Again, check out the resources below for more information on working well as a team.


How power and influence is distributed on the board

All board decisions must be made in the best interests of all students at the school, with all board members having an equal voice, an equal vote and equal accountability and standing. It’s part of being professional and good at your role. Don’t forget, if you have any questions about your role, you can contact NZSTA. We’re here to help.

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