ISC Research has published a new specialist report into governance practice in international schools. It is based on research conducted in May 2022 that follows up from baseline research in 2018. The report shares insights into governance practice and responsibilities from 129 survey respondents in 59 different countries. The respondents represented school Heads and Principals, senior leaders and board members of international schools. The report offers international schools a chance to benchmark their own governance structure against the results.
Here are just some of the research results and expert comments from the report.
How governing bodies are composed
International school governance is, most commonly, the responsibility of less than 10 people, with representatives of the school community varying widely between international school boards. Vanita Uppal OBE, Director of The British School New Delhi, stresses the importance of parents as part of the governing body in the report, while also discussing how schools may benefit from encompassing a variety of stakeholders. “If we are to believe that an effective school experience for a child is built on a strong partnership between all the stakeholders; the students, the teachers, and the parents, then a parent governor plays a critical role in cementing that partnership,” she said. Over half of the survey respondents (52%) reported a parent governor is a representative on their school’s governing body.
No international school that took part in the survey has a full breadth of board constituents that encompass a parent of an enrolled student, a parent with no child in the school, the headteacher or principal, teacher, school ownership representative and a school administrator.
The responsibilities of school governors
The responsibilities of the governing body can influence the strategic decisions made by a school, and therefore its culture and ethos. Our research shows that the range of responsibilities governing bodies undertake varies extensively, and the past two years have seen a shift in governance responsibilities for some schools.
Common responsibilities of many school boards include appointing the school Head or Principal, approving the annual school budget, ensuring financial stability of the school, approving capital expenditure, and formulating and maintaining the long-term plan for the school. Almost half of the respondents reported wellbeing of the Head or Principal is part of governance responsibility, suggesting that leadership wellbeing is as important as student and staff wellbeing. Ian Hunt, CEO and Chair of Haileybury Kazakhstan, emphasised the subject of leadership wellbeing in the report, urging all school boards to take responsibility for the wellbeing of the school Head/Principal. “Why would you invest significant sums in your staff and then not ensure that they are supported?” he said. Some international schools are demonstrating change within their governance practice in response to the challenges of the present day. In addition to leadership wellbeing, the report highlights how risk management is becoming a responsibility for more governing bodies. Download the specialist report now. It includes recommendations for change from expert contributors who all urge improved standards and accountability within international school governance.
Thank you to [YELLOW CAR] for sponsoring the report.