School Governance

School Governance

Governance is the system by which schools are directed and controlled with matters such as: In whose interest is a school governed? Who has powers to make decisions for a school? For what aims or purposes are those powers used? Who else might influence the governance of a school? How are risks managed?

Separation of ownership from control

Problems arise with school governance where there is separation of ownership of a school from control of the school.

A school may exist as a separate entity independent of its owners (e.g Taibah schools) or the owners may also be part of the management team (St. Lawrence schools)

It is widely accepted that schools should be governed in the interests of their owners. However the interests of other groups, such as school’s employees, might also need to be considered.

Concepts of good governance.


Fairness refers to the principle that all stakeholders should receive fair treatment from those charged with governance.


Openness or transparency means ‘’not hiding anything’’ at least not intentionally. Intentions should be clear and information should not be withheld from individuals who ought to have a right to receive it. Transparency means clarity, it therefore means providing information about what a school has done (performance grades, sports activities, music dance and drama et cetera), what it intends to do in the future, and what risks it faces.


Independence means freedom from the influence of someone else. A principle of good school governance is that a substantial number those charged with governance should be independent, which means they are able to make judgments and give opinions that are in the best interest of the school, without bias or preconceived ideas.


Honest school governors are believed and are more likely to be trusted. This enhances the perception of parents and other stakeholders about the integrity of the school.

Integrity means acting in accordance with high standards of behavior and a strict moral or ethical code of conduct. The best governors are therefore expected to behave with integrity, by being honest and acting in accordance with their teacher’s code of ethics.


A good school is known widely by its reputation or character. A reputation can be good or bad. Reputation is based on a combination of several qualities, including commercial success and management competence. However a school may earn good reputation from investors, parents, employees and other stakeholders such as suppliers in other ways such as being environmentally friendly (eco- friendly).

Employees are more likely to want to work for an employer that treats its employees well and fairly.

Parents are more likely to bring their children to a school with a reputation for high quality and fair school dues. A school that is badly governed risks losing goodwill from parents.

Seven Principles of Public life as adopted from Nolan.

Selflessness: Holders of public life should not make decisions that are in their personal self- interest. Their decisions should be based entirely one concerns of the public interests.

Integrity: Holders of public service should not put themselves under financial obligation or other commitments to another individual that might influence how they act in the course of carrying out their work.

Objectivity: Holders of public office awarding contracts or making recommendations should base their decisions on merit.

Openness: Holders of public office should be as open as possible, about their decisions and the reasons for those decisions.

Accountability: Holders of public office are accountable to the public and should submit themselves to public scrutiny.

Honesty: Holders of public office have a duty to declare any conflict of interest they might have and should take steps to resolve them as and when they arise.

Leadership: Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by setting an example with their own behavior and giving a lead to others.