Independent Public Schools: Boards in transition
The Australian Council for Educational Leaders
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education/Fogarty Learning Centre
In 2009 the West Australian Government announced its intention to introduce a new Independent Public Schools (IPS) program, presenting it as a significant change in state educational policy. The IPS program signalled greater autonomy in four areas: compliance and legislative requirements, delivery and performance agreement, public accountability, and governance. The research reported in this article was focused on this transition from school councils to school boards in a sample of four West Australian government primary schools new to the IPS status. The purpose of this research was to explore these board members’ perspectives on, and experiences of, school governance during the transition to IPS. A qualitative case study approach was taken, with data collected from 38 board members from four schools and analysed with reference to the literature on good governance and the roles of school boards. Key findings related to board members’ capacity to identify and use relevant expertise in board membership, and their capacity to fully understanding the roles and responsibilities of boards and their members.