Local logics versus centralisation: A possible dilemma for the boards of trustees of New Zealand’s small primary schools

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Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society

Subject: Education

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ISSN: 1178-8690

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VOLUME 32 , ISSUE 2 (December 2017) > List of articles

Local logics versus centralisation: A possible dilemma for the boards of trustees of New Zealand’s small primary schools

Denis Slowley

Keywords : Boards of trustees; lay governance; board effectiveness; compliance; centralising policies; primary schools

Citation Information : Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice. Volume 32, Issue 2, Pages 69-80, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/jelpp-2017-0019

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 03-June-2019

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ABSTRACT

This article reports the findings of a study into the boards of trustees of two small primary schools in New Zealand, the boards of which had been deemed by the Ministry of Education to be “at risk”. Both boards also fitted into a broad band of schools identified by the Ministry of Education as most likely to have difficulty gaining a competent board. The study found that, while there were some issues about the understanding of the board’s governance role by individual trustees, the key concern appeared to be a conflict in the perceptions about the board’s role between the localised views held by the parent trustees and the centralised views held by the government and its advisors. The study also found that the centralising policies of the government had placed increasing compliance and regulations on the boards which were too complex for non-professional educators to adequately fulfil. Therefore, the article suggests that the government’s centralising policy initiatives are a key factor behind the growing number of boards of small primary schools being declared ineffective. The article also suggests that those policy initiatives are having an especially negative impact on boards where there are few parents available for the board or there is a small pool of parental expertise.

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