Boards of trustees have a stewardship role that involves planning for and acting in, the interests of the school and its community. Student learning, wellbeing, achievement, and progress are the board’s main concerns.
Successful boards work in partnership with school leaders and staff for the benefit of students. Each has their respective roles and responsibilities but is dependent on working cooperatively with the other to be able to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
Good communication is an important part of being on a board, as trustees need to be able to talk to one another, share information, ask questions, and discuss important issues. In doing so, you develop relationships based on trust and work effectively together as a board.
A board’s main responsibility is to ensure that all students at their school are achieving well. This includes making sure that the Principal and staff are supported and resourced to achieve high-quality teaching and learning. To do this, trustees need reliable and detailed information from school leaders about the learning and wellbeing of children at their school.
A trustee is part of a governance team. All boards include up to three school-based trustees: the Principal, a representative elected by staff, and, for schools with students in Year 9 and above, a representative elected by the students. The majority of boards have five trustees elected by parents and caregivers but the board can decide to decrease the number of parent elected seats to three or to increase them to a maximum of seven. Boards of state schools can also co-opt additional members, up to a maximum of one less than the number of elected parent seats on the board. Boards decide to co-opt for a variety of reasons, usually to ensure a good balance of skills, experience, gender, or ethnicity. At Hillmorton High School we have five elected parent representatives, two co-opted representatives, and three school-based trustees and we would like you to meet the team.
As a board, you need to understand your full range of responsibilities to perform well. The good news is the key work areas of every school board are set out in law and cover important governance-related areas such as strategic leadership and setting the vision for your school, legal compliance, policy development, and defining the delegations of your Principal.
In a nutshell, you are responsible for school leadership and strategy and for having the policies and processes in place to monitor and report on your school’s progress and to engage with your school community.
How to become a trustee
NZSTA is working very hard to encourage parents and whānau participation on school boards in order to help share and support the education of their children. To that end, NZSTA has rolled out the Korari Programme for anyone interested in finding out about standing for the school board elections and having a say in the education of their children. Attached are links to the resources for the Korari programme for those interested in becoming a trustee and the Community Member Guide to the Role of the Board of Trustees.