Decentralisation, Change Reactions & Community Commitment

Year: 1995

Author: McKibbin, Charmaine, Cooper, Tom

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Current educational policy debates on decentralisation or devolution of responsibility from the centre of educational administration to the local school community, include encouragement for all stakeholders in that community to support school based management.

These moves within Queensland's Education Department, from a centralised system of management to that of more decentralised mechanisms, have requirements for extending parent support in schools. Parents have moved from more traditional roles of peripheral involvement, to those which require more informed, skilled, confident decision-making.

This paper will focus on the effects upon members of a school community of rising community expectations for more parent involvement in schools. By employing a case-study of parent participation at an inner city secondary school, the paper will describe some of the processes by which parents effected positive change in participation at their school.

The paper also discusses other factors involved in achieving this paradigm shift, e.g.

1. parallelism with government initiatives;
2. parent/researcher collaboration, and li> social and power relations.

Finally, some suggested explanations for successes and failures within this policy planning programme of more parent participation will be discussed.