Pragmatic policy development in the establishment of the school council at Fairvale Primary School

Year: 1994

Author: Roe, John

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Central to the Schools Renewal Program, the Department of School Education (New South Wales) has proposed the formation of school councils in each government school. Community participation and the principle of local decision-making is the premise on which councils are proposed. Two problem areas demanding educational solutions have emerged in the formation and operation of school councils; these are school staff support, and local community involvement. Strategies to cope with the needs of the staff, the local community, and the expectations of the Department of School Education have to be developed by schools.

This study provided indicators of the problems perceived by staff and the community in establishing a school council. The problem is also one of educational management, particularly of change. It is also a problem of achieving education towards democratic participation in school governance.

A survey was designed to probe and identify priorities and expectations relating to student welfare, facilities, educational attainment, reporting, curriculum development and school-community contact for school staff, school executive and parents. The surveys were administered to the school staff-executive, teachers, and ancillary members, together with a further sample of families representing the basic language groups in the school.

The policy directions for schools forming school councils will be assessed against the situation revealed by the surveys. Implications for the school's policy formulation and implementation will be considered.