Reserve Breakout Session

Community involvement in school governance decision making in Aotearoa New Zealand: What does research say?

Presenter/s: Melanie Drake
Type: Research paper
Keywords: Self-managing schools, community participation, multi-cultural communities


The conference themes of ‘Leading together’ and ‘Leading well’ raise interesting questions around school governance in New Zealand schools, particularly within the parameters of community and whānau involvement and participation.

With the introduction of a decentralized education system in the 1980s, a key feature of schools as self-managing systems, was that community voice would be prioritised in local school settings through school Boards; comprising of parents, caregivers and community members.

Our research interest lies in community involvement in decision making; How do Boards ensure that community voice is heard and represented at this top level school leadership? How does community participation unfold in school governance matters, particularly those matters that involve the need for strategic or visionary decisions to be made? For this presentation, we deliberately focus on the dimensions of community participation and multicultural communities across Aotearoa through the undertaking of an integrative systematic literature review, including studies that use different methodological approaches. Our presentation will highlight what existing literature reveals regarding community involvement in school governance decision making generally, and in Aotearoa, specifically Boards ‘leading well’ and ‘leading together’ in school governance; key themes for this conference, and critical dimensions of community involvement in Aotearoa’s self-managing school leadership framework.


Melanie Drake

Dr Melanie Drake will be presenting.
Other researchers on the project are Associate Professor Ruth Boyask and Dr Maryanne Macdonald.

Dr Melanie Drake is a lecturer in the School of Education at Auckland University of Technology. Melanie’s research interests encompass a wide spectrum of educational leadership dimensions, including values education, school practice, school governance, and management practices.

Associate Professor Ruth Boyask’s work at Auckland University of Technology is driven by a desire to ensure socially critical research examines and informs public education, especially its systems of schooling. She researches in school reform, curriculum, policy, and leadership.

Dr Maryanne Macdonald’s research explores intercultural dynamics in school systems. She applies critical theorist approaches to examine education policy and practice, with the view of ensuring equity for all students.