Trusteeship: a special opportunity for whānau

by Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education 2006/07

Overview

In this case study, long-serving school trustee and New Zealand School Trustees Association president Lorraine Kerr talks about the important contribution whānau can make to school boards, noting that boards need an ability to analyse, understand, and tackle complex problems in commonsense ways.

School boards of trustees are an important way for whānau to be involved in the life of their children’s schools. Research shows many schools still have a long way to go when it comes to improving the achievement of their Māori learners and are struggling to become more responsive to Māori learners’ needs.

All boards of trustees are required, in consultation with the school’s Māori community, to develop policies, plans, and specific targets that will improve the achievement of Māori learners.

Boards of trustees are responsible for ensuring that the principal and staff are provided with the tools and the know-how to determine what is working for, and with, Māori learners at their schools. They are also responsible for meeting the agreed targets for improvement. Boards must also monitor and report regularly to the community on the progress the principal and staff are making towards meeting the targets for Māori learner achievement.

Research shows whether boards of trustees are made up of parents or education professionals does not, in itself, make any difference to children’s levels of achievement. However, research shows the quality of governance does make a difference. Boards make a difference through the culture and expectation of success they establish through strategic planning and performance management.

Encouraging Māori with governance skills to join their board of trustees by election or co-option is one way to support improved educational outcomes for Māori learners. Māori now represent 19.3 per cent of trustees, which is an increase of 4 percentage points since 1998 (15.2 per cent). The proportion of Māori on boards of trustees is now only slightly lower than the proportion of Māori learners in schools (22.2 per cent in 2007).

Reflective questions

These questions might guide you as you read the case study:

  • Long-serving school trustee and New Zealand School Trustees Association president Lorraine Kerr talks about the important contribution whānau can make to school boards, noting that boards need an ability to analyse, understand, and tackle complex problems in commonsense ways. How could your school board identify the knowledge and skills it needs over the next few years to improve the learning outcomes of your Māori students? How could you attract whānau with the right knowledge and skills to your board? What relationships could help you achieve this goal and why?
  • Lorraine also discusses the importance of using data to make board decisions. How could you improve the way your board collects, analyses, and uses data? What data would help your board better serve its Māori students and Māori community?

Further reading

Education Counts Māori Education homepage

Boards of trustees homepage

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education. Read the latest evidence and data relating to Māori education. This report starts the process of reporting on Ka Hikitia Managing for Success Māori Education Strategy 2008–2012, which sets out the Ministry’s strategic approach to achieving education success for, and with, Māori.

References

Ministry of Education. (February 2009) Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education 2007/08. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Ministry of Education. (December 2007) Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education 2006/07. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Tags: Culturally responsive leadership

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