Thursday, March 22, 2007

School Governance

We are currently having Board of Trustee elections in New Zealand. From what I've heard it is quite a unique system where the central government has delegated a large part of the governance roll to the Board of Trustees of each school. The BoT consists out of parent representatives, the Principal and a staff representative (high schools have a student representative as well).

In this system the Board is responsible for the governance role and the Principal (and management team) for the management of the school. A little bit like the directors of a company and the CEO. In general schools in NZ have quite a lot fo freedom in terms of self management and how they deal with the curriculum.

Generally speaking I believe the system works quite well, but there are some pitfalls:

  1. There are some grey areas between governance and management. As long as the Board and the Principal get on fine it is not a problem, but when they disagree a lot the seperation of roles can be an issue.

  2. Some communities strugle to find enough suitable and quilified people to take on this role and this can disadvantage some schools.

  3. Some decissions of the central government can make it hard for the Boards to fulfil their role.

I would be very interested to know how govrnance and management is handles in other systems.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Up up it goes

After many months of planning and research our new block of learning spaces (note: not classrooms) is finally showing some visible signs of going up. I have been involved with a number of building projects, but this is by far the most exciting.

My Board and I decided that we will not add another set of rectangular boxes to our school - we will design something that supports learning - not stifles it! I was able to go on a fact finding mission to look at new trends and study what designers are saying about what spaces should look like for the new learning we are trying to establish. A good boook to read is The Language of School Design: Design Patterns for 21st Cantury Schools by Nair and Fielding