What is a Trustee?
Our communities need great boards to help build great schools
- are active leaders in our schools; We need more people willing to use their skills and experiences for the benefit of students
- have an important role of supporting strong professional leadership and ensuring effective teaching for all students through informed governance.
Both parents and people from throughout the wider community can be school trustees. It is important that boards represent the diversity of their school communities to ensure a bright future for all our children. The trustee elections give parents of children at state and state-integrated schools the opportunity to vote for candidates who will make a positive difference for all students at their schools. It is an important responsibility, and all eligible parents should use their vote in an informed way.
"Board members are entrusted by the community to ensure the success of our schools and a bright future for our children. We need an education system where all children are expected to succeed and one where we all take shared responsibility in ensuring this happens. As a member of a school board you can make things happen - you can make a difference."
- Lorraine Kerr, NZSTA President
How about becoming a trustee and using your skills and experiences to help shape a positive future for our children?
What is a school board of trustees?
Every state and state-integrated school in New Zealand has a board of trustees. Boards bring families, communities and schools together to work for a quality education for our children.
The board of trustees is a Crown entity. It is the employer of all school staff and sets the school's overall strategic direction. The school's principal is the board's 'chief executive' and manages the school operations in line with the board's policies.
Who can become a trustee?
The membership of the school board includes elected parent representatives, an elected staff representative and the principal. If the school has students above Year 9, the board also includes a student representative. If the school is a state integrated school, it may have up to 4 proprietor appointees on the board.
What do trustees do?
School trustees have a very important role in making sure every child at the school can reach their highest possible standard in educational achievement. If you want to know more about what trustees do, view here.
Here are some of the things they do:
- Work with the principal and consult with staff, students and the community
- Set the educational goals and strategic direction of the school
- Monitor progress and inform parents on how the school is progressing against its annual targets and on the development of the students
- Decide how the school's funding will be spent
- Select the school's principal and support the development of all staff
- Ensure the school is a physically and emotionally safe place for all students and staff, and is inclusive of and caters for students with differing needs
- Oversee the management of staff, property, finances, curriculum and administration.
What sort of skills do trustees need?
Trustees are active leaders in their schools and need a balance of skills and experiences. They need to work well in a team, be able to put plans in place for the school's future, ask challenging questions and have good communication skills. It helps to have strong links to one or several of the school's communities, as well as an understanding of financial matters and the education sector, and experience in managing people.
How do I become a trustee?
There should be information about who is on the board and how to make contact on your school's website. You can also ask your school about going along to a board meeting to see how it works. The board chair or any other board member can also answer questions about what the board does. Contact your school if you want to find out about standing for election, nominating someone else or voting in the election - they will be happy to help.