The board is entrusted to work on behalf of all stakeholders and is accountable for the school’s performance. It emphasises strategic leadership, sets the vision for the school, and ensures that it complies with legal and policy requirements. Policies are at a governance level and outline clear delegations to the principal.
The board and principal form the leadership team, with the role of each documented and understood. The principal reports to the board as a whole with committees used sparingly and only when a need is identified in order to contribute to board work. The board is proactive rather than reactive in its operations and decision making and does not involve itself in the administrative details of the day-to-day running of the school. The board is encouraged to ask the right questions. Enhancing student achievement is its focus.
All of New Zealand's state and state-integrated schools have a board of trustees. The board of trustees is the Crown entity responsible for the governance and the control of the management of the school. The board is the employer of all staff in the school, is responsible for setting the school's strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff, and students, and ensuring that its school provides a safe environment and quality education for all its students. Boards are also responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance, and administration.
Trustees are elected by the parent community, staff members and, in the case of schools with students above Year 9, the students. The principal is also a member of the board. The board can also co-opt additional trustees. Co-option cannot be used to fill casual vacancies on a board; a board must hold a by-election to fill the casual vacancy or fill the casual vacancy by selection having first given consideration to the requirements of section 105 of the Education Act 1989.
A standard board of trustees' membership includes:
the principal of the school
one staff elected trustee
co-opted trustees, and
up to four trustees appointed by the proprietor (in state integrated schools only).
Becoming a School Trustee – this three-minute motion graphic is for use with prospective trustees and briefly outlines what governance is all about.