Could principals be left off school boards?



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A Ministry of Education document concerning the update of the Education Act 1989 has sparked fears of the possibility that principals might not sit on Boards of Trustees in the future.

A letter was sent from the Ministry to participants of the consultation process, requesting further feedback on Board capability and composition, among other things. The document asked for ideas for improving the current statutory composition of boards. “For example, should principals and staff representatives be voting members of boards?” it read.

New Zealand Principals’ Federation president Iain Taylor said he had received many enraged emails from principals about the prospect. He said the arguments for principals needing to remain on the board were simple and clear.

“The relationship between the BoT and principal is critical to the successful running of a school.  It is the principal who follows the vision and direction of the school which is set by the BoT with the principal’s input. It is the principal who constructs and carries out policies advanced by the BoT. It is the input from the principal that guides the BoT in their governance role. It is the principal who provides all the pedagogical leadership for the BoT, which is critical especially when making property decisions.  It is the principal who provides all the evidential documents to keep the BoT compliant with all of their legislative requirements.”

Lorraine Kerr, president of New Zealand School Trustees Association agreed that the principal held an important place on the board and it was essential they were part of discussions about their school.

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