What is a board of trustees?

Every state and state-integrated school and kura in New Zealand must have a board of trustees. The board of trustees is a crown entity – it is part of the public sector.

Parent representatives are elected for a term of 3 years by school or kura parents. The trustee elections are the biggest democratic event in New Zealand.

First and foremost a board is accountable for student progress and achievement to its parents, school community and the Crown.

What is the makeup of the board?

  • Parent representatives +

    Represent the needs and aspirations of their community.

    Ensure the best possible outcomes for all students at the school or kura.

    Do not necessarily need to be a parent, but they must be nominated by a current parent of the school or kura.

    Parent representatives hold a three year term.

  • Principal/Tumuaki +

    Is a full member of the board.

    Is the educational leader of the school or kura.

    Is the CEO and the board’s chief advisor.

     

     

     

  • Staff representative +

    Is elected by the staff (teaching and non- teaching).

    Is not a staff advocate (they must make decisions in the best interests of all students at the school or kura).

    Staff representatives hold a three year term.

  • Student representative +

    This only applies in schools with students above year 9.

    The student representative brings a student perspective to board decision making.

    Student representatives hold a one year term.

  • Proprietor’s appointees +

    Proprietors of integrated schools are able to appoint up to four proprietor appointees who are responsible for ensuring the special character and property are protected whilst ensuring the best outcome for all students.

    Proprietor’s appointees’ terms in office may vary as determined by the proprietors.

  • Co-opted trustees +

    Co-opted trustees are optional positions available to the board to ensure gender, skill or ethnicity gaps are filled and must ensure the best outcomes for all students.

    Co-opted trustees’ terms in office may vary as determined by the board.

Back to Menu

How do the principal/tumuaki and board

work together?

 The board of trustees are the governors of the school or kura.

The principal/tumuaki is responsible for managing the school or kura.

One vision, different roles

The board of trustees sets the direction for the school/kura through its charter and policies and determines “what” we want to achieve.

The board entrusts the principal or tumuaki with the implementation of the charter and policies on a day to day basis and determines how the boards expectations will be met.

 Through an effective internal evaluation programme the board then measures the performance of the school or kura against the expected outcomes and targets.

The board and the community

Back to Menu

What can I expect from the board?

Expectations

Effectiveness

Concerns

The board of trustees is a crown entity and is accountable for the performance of the school or kura to parents, the school community and the crown and in particular, the board is accountable for the on-going improvement of student achievement.

 

The board is responsible for designing the future of the school or kura and ensuring plans and targets are developed, monitored and reviewed.

 

The board ensures decisions are made in the best interests of all students with respect and integrity and ensures culturally appropriate processes are in place.

 

The board of trustees is the employer of all staff at the school or kura and must ensure that all requirements of a good employer are met.

 

The board consults with the community as a critical part of developing and monitoring the school or kura charter, and for the board to be assured that community expectations and aspirations are considered in the decision making process.

 

The board communicates with the school or kura community through regular updates on how the school or kura is performing in relation to the charter goals and targets and ensures that effective regular reporting on student achievement occurs.

 

The board of trustees should ensure it has the required skills and knowledge to perform its duties through trustees attending ongoing professional development. NZSTA run a comprehensive programme to support boards of trustees.

There are two types of evaluation that parents should access. One of these is the internal evaluation conducted by the board of trustees which includes an annual report on the performance of the school or kura.

 

The second evaluation is external and is conducted by the Education Review Office (ERO).

 

Individual school or kura reviews can be found at http://www.ero.govt.nz/

Each school or kura should have their own policy/procedure outlining the process for handling concerns and complaints. If a parent has a concern they should contact their school for a copy.

 

Concerns should always be dealt with at the lowest level of involvement i.e. if you have a concern with your child you should contact your classroom teacher or follow your school's procedure. Copies of this policy/procedure should be available from the school or kura.

Back to Menu

Frequently asked questions...

  • What information does the board have about my child?    +

    In its governance role the board will at times have access to information regarding students, for example concerns and complaints or student discipline matters.

    Where the information can identify individual students, this must be kept confidential and comes in the public excluded part of a board meeting.

  • What does ‘in committee’ mean and why does the board have the right to use this?    +

    This means that members of the public, including media, are not able to attend this part of the meeting unless they have been invited for a specific purpose e.g. their expert advisory skills in the employment area. It is also known as ‘public excluded’ and is used when dealing with issues around privacy of individuals or groups.

  • What if I have a concern?    +

    If a parent has a concern then each school or kura should have their own policy/procedure outlining the process for handling concerns and complaints. Contact your board chair.

    Concerns should always be dealt with at the lowest level of involvement i.e. if you have a concern with your child you should contact your classroom teacher or follow your school's procedure. Copies of this policy/procedure should be available from the school or kura.

  • Who looks after the finances of the school?    +

    The board is responsible for the finances of the school or kura. The board approves a budget that allocates government and local funding appropriately to develop a learning environment that meets the needs of all students and is aligned to charter goals and plans. The budget is monitored at each board meeting.

    The board must ensure that annual accounts are prepared which meet audit office requirements, and are then made available to the school or kura’s auditor. These accounts form part of the school or kura’s annual report.

Back to Menu

As a parent, how do I become a trustee?

Board members need to be committed to the school or kura with a vested interest in designing the future of the school or kura to ensure the success of ALL students. They need to clearly recognise the role of governance and be disciplined in carrying it out.

 

Schools and kura around the country seek approximately 12,000 parent and staff representatives during each triennial election. From time to time schools and kura may look to fill casual vacancies or to co-opt trustees to fill skill, gender or ethnicity gaps. Your school or kura should keep you well informed when these occur.

By standing at the next board election...

 

For this you need to be nominated by a parent of the school or kura community.

By standing or being selected when a casual vacancy arises.

By being appointed or co-opted...

 

To enquire about any up and coming vacancies that may be available, contact your local school or kura.

What is involved in being a trustee?

What would be expected of me as a trustee?

A trustee is expected to have the time and skill required to perform the role.

 

A trustee is expected to attend all board meetings and be fully prepared to participate and engage in decision making. There are usually at least two meetings per term.

What can I expect as a trustee?

A trustee contributes to the strategic direction of the school or kura so that all students are able to attain their highest possible standard in educational achievement.

 

A trustee experiences personal growth and is involved in exciting challenges.

 

A trustee is paid a nominal fee for attending board meetings. The fee is set by each board.

Back to Menu

For more information

Becoming a trustee

 

About NZSTA

 

About student discipline

 

 

For individual school/kura reviews

 

NZSTA contact details

NZSTA has developed a number of e-learning modules

that may be accessed here:

www.nzsta.org.nz/professional-development/e-learning

The modules take approximately 30-40 minutes to complete in full.

Back to Menu