The essence of the School Board’s governance role is to oversee all aspects of the School, appoint the Principal, and ensure a strategic approach to the School’s future by setting major objectives, policy frameworks and strategies. The Board must also monitor adherence to systems of risk management, ensure compliance with legal obligations and undertake periodic performance reviews.
It is not the Board’s responsibility to become involved in the day to day management and operations of the School. This is the responsibility of the Principal and the School’s senior management team.
Successful governance structures minimise problems, optimise performance and accountability. The essence of good governance lies in the ongoing development of a culture within the School that embraces ethics, honesty, transparency and high levels of integrity from all Members of the Board. Under the watchful eyes of its stakeholders, it is vital to recognise that no School can afford to neglect proper and effective governance processes.
Ultimately, it is the Board which is responsible for governance practices and the Board must therefore take responsibility for the processes by which the School is directed, controlled and made accountable. It is a vital ingredient of organisational success for Boards to establish and continually develop effective governance policies and practices.
Schools, irrespective of their size, complexity, history or affiliation, that establish, implement and actually apply (rather than pay lip service to) good governance principles, will be more successful in serving the needs of their stakeholders. Conflicts of various kinds are common within a school. The role of governance is to manage the conflict and ensure that through ongoing communication the interests of the stakeholders continue to be met.
‘A sustainable governance structure should produce stable and effective leadership which underpins achievement of the school’s objectives. It should also be sensitive to guarding the vision and values of the past and responsive to changes in community values and the preferences of the immediate stakeholders.’