Sunday, 13 February 2011

Potential models for School Governance reform

Potential models for School Governance reform

I have recently reading a research paper written by Stewart Ranson and Colin Crouch from the Institute of Education, University of Warwick Institute of Governance. It was written in December 2009 but much of it is still valid. One part that caught my eye was potential models of school governance.

Debate within the national school governance policy community reveals three contending, and contested models for the reform of school governance:

1. The business model: schools are multi million pound businesses, too important to be governed by inexperienced amateurs. A smaller executive body of people with experience of running organisations can provide the appropriate support school leaders need. This model does not necessarily exclude people from the community.

2. An executive and stakeholder scrutiny model acknowledges the claims for a smaller executive, but does not want to sacrifice the function of accountability provided buy the stakeholder model. A hybrid model of governance is proposed with a small executive subject to the scrutiny of a broader stakeholder governing body.

3. A community governance model. Building on Education Improvement Partnerships, the challenge for governance is for schools in an area to work together to engage families and share responsibility for all the children in a cluster. The role for governors is to become leaders and enablers of community development.

Recommendations for the future governance of schools

A coherent framework of school governance is needed to support and secure the developing programme of educational change. Our research describes the way local authorities have been experimenting and innovating with new forms of governance. The leading local authorities are now looking to move beyond experiment to establish a coherent system of school and community governance. The principles for such a framework of governance should where possible, we argue, strive to accommodate and reconcile the tensions that presently frustrate the practice of good governance. Can the framework strive to accommodate:

• Multi-layered governance
• Executive and scrutiny functions
• Specialist and civic knowledge
• Difference and deliberation
• Professional and citizen membership

Taken from a 2009 Research Paper entitled 'Towards a new governance of schools in the remaking of civil society' by Stewart Ranson and Colin Crouch Institute of Education, University of Warwick Institute of Governance.

The full 68 page report can be downloaded from CFBT which funded the research.

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