School governance, school leadership and school effectiveness
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 23:21 authored by Gareth David Leechman
Good school governance by way of school boards and school councils has long been recognised in the Australian Independent school sector and elsewhere as being a key factor in contributing to the development of high performing schools. This practice has now moved into government schools where current policies in Victoria and Western Australia devolve school management in some instances to locally created school boards and councils. This devolution of management responsibility away from centralised control in education has also occurred internationally. The use of school councils in government schools in England for instance, is well established and the growth of charter schools in the United States of America, over the past twenty years, has witnessed the increased need for locally created school boards and councils. The expansion of school councils emerged from the neo-liberal ideas of school choice and the belief that local school governance leads to greater autonomy, effectiveness and financially efficient schools which meet the needs of their local community albeit most often within regulatory frameworks for curriculum, assessment and teacher standards. Whilst research in the area of governance in general is quite significant, little research has been undertaken internationally, and in Australia, on the processes that lead to good school governance. In particular little research exists which relates to the relationships that exist between the chair of school council, school principal, members of school council and the school executive. This reflexive study used a mixed methods approach to analyse the processes of good school governance within 18 schools of the Anglican Schools Corporation in NSW Australia, which together represent a wide cross-section of school types and contexts. Its intention was to investigate and, if possible, create a good practice school governance framework. The study commenced with the development of a conceptual framework derived from the available corporate, organisational and educational literature. The next phase of research was qualitative in nature and involved one-to-one interviews with six chairs of council and nine school principals, further developing the framework. The final phase used quantitative research methodology to survey chairs of school council, school principals, members of school council and school executive teams about their opinions of the emerging framework. The good school governance framework generated by the study contributes to further research and theory development in the field of educational leadership, education policy, and school practice.