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Self Managing Schools

Hi to all in Stockholm who attended the ‘Opting-Out Schools’ conference recently. It is obvious there is a strong movement there with many principals keen to work towards a more self managing model for schooling, similar to that currently operating in New Zealand.

The 1989 reforms opened up a whole new era for schooling, providing new opportunities for communities to more readily determine their own priorities. Principals gained far more autonomy, which made the working experience more challenging yet far more interesting. It was as if for the first time real decisions could be made without having to consult a bureaucratic agency. Closer relationships were able to be built with local communities and schools were able to work with parents to better meet the needs of their local students.

Changes in funding arrangements provided the greatest new opportunities for schools with savings being made in one area used to support other areas of priority.

Boards of Trustees, the elected group of parents charged with governing schools, were able to work alongside principals for the benefit of the students.

Would principals want to change back to the system in place prior to the reforms? I think not!

The self managing model provides opportunities for decision making at the local level, in each individual school, according to the needs and priorities as seen by parents and the principal.

I know some of you attending the conference will be travelling to New Zealand later in the year to visit our schools. I trust I have the opportunity to meet up with you when you are here. Welcome to New Zealand!

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