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School governance in New Zealand - How is it working?

Cathy Wylie

This paper draws on the findings of a number of national surveys of primary schools conducted by NZCER since 1989, and in secondary schools since 2003. It includes new analysis from the latest 2006 survey of secondary schools, which questioned principals, trustees, teachers and parents. The paper also looks at other evidence about how boards of trustees are faring, including Education Review Office reports, and examines the research literature on school governance both here and overseas.

It concludes there are problems of capacity and capability in some boards of trustees but no evidence the system is about to fall over. On the contrary, there are good reasons for strengthening the board model. It makes a number of recommendations, in particular about the support boards need to allow them to focus more on strategic planning and analysis of student performance, and to assist with principal appointments and appraisals.

The Minister for Education Steve Maharey has indicated there will be a government review of the role of boards of trustees and this paper is intended to contribute to that debate

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