Education governance in macro-meso-micro level (Part 1): Challenges and Accountability

Year: 2016

Author: Gindidis, Maria

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper explores governance arrangements in Victorian government schools in Australia and draws on research into the effectiveness of current school review, school governance models. In particular, the paper highlights the dilemmas for four schools to adopt a new approach to school accountability models of governance that strengthen their school council’s strategic review and accountability functions. The new Victorian school review model ensures that schools engage in an annual self-evaluation and at least once every four years undertake one of two types of review: a peer review or a priority review. Schools undertaking a peer review select at least two peers from across the school government system and an accredited reviewer to conduct the review. The governance of poorly performing schools are subjected to a much closer scrutiny by a priority review and where governance is found to be inadequate education authorities intervene to redress this situation. Schools undertaking a priority review are supported by an independent review team that carry out a four-day intensive analysis of the school’s performance. Following a priority review, intervention and support may be initiated based on the diagnosed needs of the school.The research investigates a group of four schools at a meso level, reviewed in the period 2014 -2015. At a micro level, this research examines the smallest levels of interaction between the schools and reviewer. The research investigated the governance of 4 schools under the lens of the Department of Education’s newly established structures, which included a consistent set of state-wide performance measures and lead indicators, curriculum, assessment, reporting, teaching practices and leadership.At the macro level, this research seeks to present the process and impact of school reviews in Victoria today, examining the quality of the relationships and partnerships between the school and the wider community. The research employs auto-ethnography as the methodological approach. Mallet (2011) defined auto-ethnography as a form of autobiographical personal narrative that explores the author’s experience of life. This study draws on personal lived experience (Morse, 1994; Van Mannen, 1997) of an accredited school reviewer, reviewing the governance of Victorian schools.Auto-ethnography seeks to describe and systematically analyze personal experience in order to understand cultural experience. This approach challenges canonical ways of doing research and representing others and treats research as a political, socially-just and socially-conscious act. A researcher uses tenets of autobiography and ethnography to do and write. Thus, as a method, auto-ethnography is both process and product.