Friday, January 16, 2009


These materials were prepared co‑operatively under the Training and Support Programme for School Headteachers in Africa in the 1990s. They were updated considerably in Guyana in 2000 and again in 2008 to meet the needs of the Guyanese educational context.

Governments in developing Commonwealth countries wishing to reproduce or adapt the materials in whole or in part in any language should inform the Commonwealth Secretariat which may be able to offer some assistance in doing so.

For further information, write to the Director of the Education Programme, Commonwealth Secretariat, London.


Education Programme
Human Resource Development Group
Marlborough House
Pall Mall
United Kingdom



National Centre for Educational Resource Development
3, Battery Road,

Prepared for publication by the MPU, NCERD
Originally designed and formatted by Geoffrey Wadsley.
Updated design and format by NCERD staff in partnership with

© Copyright Commonwealth Secretariat & Ministry of Education, NCERD Guyana 2009

Notes on Assessment
Please note that each of the unit contains two kinds of activities as follows:

1. Reflection – You will see these from time to time throughout the text. They are in white type and highlighted in black. E.g. Reflection. You are not required to submit your thoughts on these issues to your Master Trainer. You may make notes if you wish but they are your own personal reflections on the issues raised.
2. Activities – These are formal assessments which you will have to submit to your Master Trainer as part of your portfolio. You should number them in the same way as the units and carry out the activity as stated.

Module 7 - The Management of Schools

The purpose of this module is to enable heads to gain an understanding and insight into the nature and dimensions of school management, and thus help them work effectively with the various groups and bodies which have a part to play in the good management of each school.

Let us first of all remind ourselves of the distinction between leadership, management and administration. A good head would be capable of all three and particularly his / her key role as a leader. We will deal with this in much greater detail in Module 8 “The Leadership of Schools”. In simple terms, the leader creates the vision and engages the staff to fulfil that vision. The manager creates order and structure to oversee and undertake the process and the various stages required to achieve the task. The administrator deals with the day-to-day issues that are required for the whole process to run smoothly, meet the requirements of the law and achieve the desired results. In short, what will be done, how it will be done and the doing!

In this Module, we will examine the process of management. There are many people and organisations involved in the management of a school and they all have their part to play. We will not only examine the role of headteacher in this but also look at the responsibilities of other outside stakeholders such as the parents, the children, the regional departments of education, the community and the central ministry.

Individual study time: 18 hours

After working through this module, you should be able to:

§ identify the various bodies which have a role to play in the management of schools
§ understand the legal and other bases for school governance
§ distinguish between different levels of educational management
§ have an insight into the role of the central Ministry of Education in the operations of your school
§ understand the rationale for having a Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
§ have insights into the constitution, powers and roles of the PTA
§ indicate the way and manner in which staff, pupils and various school committees assist with the management of the school
§ understand the concept of school and community links and identify some of the bodies which have links with your school and the contributions they make to the school
§ identify possible areas of school-community conflict and ways and means of minimizing them
§ understand the rationale for community inputs into the school curriculum.

The module is divided into six units.

Unit 1: Defining the parameters of school management 2 hours
Here you will recognise the parameters of school management, consider the context of school governance in the management of your school, and outline what the concept of school governance embraces.

Unit 2: Legal basis of school governance 3 hours
This unit deals with the legal basis of school governance. You will recognise a purpose of, and difference between, education acts and ordinances, bylaws on education, legislative and executive instruments on education, policy statements and administrative instructions concerning education.

Unit 3: School managers and PTAs 4 hours
In this unit, you will examine the relationship of school management and PTAs, identify their responsibilities and roles and suggest ways in which you, as head of the school, can use this relationship to improve the performance of your school.

Unit 4: Relationships between schools and other agencies 3 hours
Here you will consider the relations of your school with other agencies, including issues such as defining levels of education management and the relations of your school with regional and state authorities, as well as with district authorities and other agencies involved in the management of your school.

Unit 5: The role of teachers, pupils and parents in school management 3 hours
In this penultimate unit, you will recognise the various individuals and groups within your school who are partners with you, the head, in its management.

Unit 6: The role of the community in school management 3 hours
In this last unit, you will recognise the importance of working with local and extended community groups and the stakeholders of the school in order to provide an effective partnership with them which is in the best interests of all concerned.

Unit 1 Defining the Parameters of School Management

The success of every school depends on the way it is led and managed. The need for the efficient management of schools has placed much more emphasis on the nature and quality of the work of the head as the leader of a team of professional educators and as the manager of the supply and effective use of resources (human, financial and material). The head therefore needs to gain clear understanding of all the forces and factors which contribute towards management of the school.

Throughout this module, we will often refer to the governance of schools rather than management. Although to a certain extent these terms are interchangeable, we wish at this stage to make a distinction between the two. By management we mean the day to day planning, organising, resourcing, directing and controlling the outputs of the school to enable it to reach its desired goals and mission. This is generally done by one or more people at different levels in the school, each with separate roles and responsibilities. E.g. head, DHMs, SMs, HODs etc. To a certain extent, some aspects of school management can also be external from the inputs of such bodies as the departments of education, the PTA and the community.

On the other hand, by governance we mean those areas of school management which are enshrined in law or regulation over which the head has little control; for example, the requirement to follow the directives, circulars or guidelines of the Ministry of Education which apply to all schools and are not generally negotiable. We refer to management, therefore, as all aspects of the organisation of a school, whether internal or external. Governance is a specific form of management, which is less flexible and relates to the authority of certain persons or groups who have legal responsibility for a school such as the Ministry of Education, the Regional Democratic Councils and Town Councils, the Heads of the Departments of Education and School Boards where they exist.

This, of course, is not to say that the head does not have legal responsibilities but we wish to differentiate between that in which the head has a choice of action and that in which he / she is legally obliged to act in a certain way. E.g. the admission of students, the implementation of the national curriculum etc.

Individual study time: 2 hours

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit, you should be able to:

§ define the parameters of school management
§ be aware that there are laws and regulations within which your school must operate
§ identify the various bodies which have a part to play in the management and governance of your school.

The head, even as the chief executive of the school, does not act alone or on his / her own authority, but rather carries out his / her assignments within the context of laws, regulations and circulars, administrative instructions and directives originating from the government, which, as the representative of the people, has the original authority to determine the type of education a country should provide for its citizens.

Schools, whether public or private institutions, also have a number of stakeholders in their activities. Their management is therefore done through a coalition of interests working together, but performing different functions, all aimed at enabling each school to operate and to achieve its aims and objectives. The head, who as the chief executive, is responsible for directing and overseeing the day to day activities of the school, must know which agencies, groups and individuals, constitute this coalition of interests.

Laws, regulations and instructions

Activity 1.1
Are you aware of the different types of laws, regulations and instructions within the context of which your school is run?
1) Try to list some of them and indicate whether they are part of the laws of Guyana or are regulations from outside of the school.
2) Do you think these laws and regulations make your life as a head easier or do they restrict your actions in creating an effective school? Give your reasons.

We hope that the list you have produced includes laws, regulations and instructions such as:

§ The Education Acts
§ The Education Strategic Plan
§ Education Code and amendments
§ Code of Conduct for Teachers
§ Policy Guidelines from the MOE
§ Guidelines from the Department of Education
§ Local laws and bylaws
§ Circulars from the CEO
§ Guidelines from the Principal Personnel Officer

With reference to the second question, you may have mixed views. Principally, we should accept that the Government, through its executive arm the MOE, is the legal representative of the people and, as such, has the right to make regulations which are for the most part for the greater good of the people, whether you agree with them or not. In some ways, these regulations may restrict your actions and in others, they will protect you in your role as head. On the whole, however, they will create a structure in what you do and allow you to focus on day-to-day matters without having to formulate overall policy.

It would be valuable for you to check with other heads, and with the District Education Officer, how complete your answer is. Obtain (perhaps from your DEO) a list of the laws, regulations and instructions which relate to your school. Ensure that your school has a copy of each relevant document available for reference.

We must realise that, in the first place, schools are established and operate within the context of laws, regulations and other legislative and executive instruments passed by government to give direction as to the way formal education in the country should be organised. These laws and regulations are operationalised through policy guidelines which issue from the Ministry of Education and other authorities in the form of administrative instructions, circulars and directives.

Who is involved in the governance of schools?

Activity 1.2
Consider how many individuals and groups have a part to play in the management and governance of your school.

1) First of all, look at the staff of your school and list the roles of those who have any input into its effective management.
2) Now, look at the external bodies who have an impact on the management, whether directly or indirectly, and say to what extent they have an influence on the way you operate.

The list you have put down probably includes:

1) Internal organisation – all post holders including head, deputy head(s), SMs, HODs and level heads, student government
2) External bodies – all those working outside of the school from the highest level including:-

§ the National Assembly
§ the Ministry of Education
§ the Regional Administration including REXO, Regional Chairperson and Chairperson of the Education Committee.
§ the Regional Department of Education including REDO and DEOs
§ the PTA
§ former pupils and Alumni Associations
§ the immediate community, including employers, religious and community leaders, etc.

The influence they have over your school and your decisions largely depends on the authority they hold to affect your decisions e.g. MOE etc and the extent to which you create a partnership with them and allow them to have a role e.g. PTA and the local community.

Again, it is important to realise that the Government of Guyana exercises its responsibility for providing education for its people through the Ministry of Education and other bodies at the state, regional and district levels. e.g. the Regional Democratic Councils. These different bodies, units and agencies all have a part to play in the management and governance of schools.

Also, schools, as public institutions in which there are a number of stakeholders, cannot be allowed to be run only by the paid staff led by the head according to their own inclinations. Yet it is not possible for all the stakeholders and the public to be there to oversee the running of a school. This is why the role of the head is so crucial in bringing all of these people together to ensure that all of their reasonable aspirations for the education of the children are met.

The school community itself, comprising the staff and pupils, constitutes the immediate group of people with whom the head is in constant touch. For the efficient and effective management of a school, these members of the immediate community must participate in its management. Thus, the staff and pupils of each school have a part to play in this through various mechanisms.

Furthermore, the influence of the larger community in which the school is situated, is becoming increasingly important in the way a school is operated. This larger community is itself made up of different components, such as employers, religious and community leaders and these groups in their different ways may play important parts in supporting the school. They, therefore, should be included in its future direction. That is not to say that they deal with the day-to-day running of the school but will have an influence on the course the school will take to satisfy community needs.

Activity 1.3
Try to conceptualise for a moment the varying roles that individuals have in the management of your school. Consider also briefly the issues of accountability and professionalism that we discussed in Unit 6 Monitoring of School Effectiveness.

1) To what extent do you hold those for whom you are responsible in your school accountable for their share of the management activities of the school? Give examples.
2) Given that external persons and organisations also have an influence on school management and policy, to what degree do you think they also can be held accountable for their actions?
3) How would you describe the professional relationship that you would have:
§ with those who work with you in the school?
§ with those who are not part of the immediate school community?
4) Since you are accountable for all that goes on in your school, to yourself and to everyone else, how would you attempt to deal with an external organisation which held views with which you did not agree?

You may find that some staff do not want to be held accountable and that they may not be motivated to take on that responsibility. They may tell you that they are not paid enough or their conditions of service are not good enough to be held accountable. The simple fact, however, is that they have chosen to do this job, especially if they have responsibilities such as a middle or senior leader, and therefore, it is not negotiable that they will not be held accountable for their actions and management decisions. What they do will have a positive or negative effect on pupil learning. The latter is unacceptable and therefore they must be responsible for what they do. The test you face is to support them and motivate them in the challenge.

All official organisations, especially those with a constitution such as a governing body or the PTA, must be held accountable for their actions because of the impact it will have on the children. All departments set up by the government, such as the MOE and the Departments of Education, are automatically accountable for their actions because they are the executive arm of the government and doing the work of the people of Guyana.

Look back again on the definition of professionalism given in Module 6. Follow this description of professional actions and you will not go far wrong. However, you are legally responsible, as head, for your school staff and it is your duty to behave in a professional manner with them even if sometimes their actions do not make you feel inclined to do so. However, in the case of the local community, it is more a case of negotiation and listening to their needs and trying to address them rather than their dictating the way you will run your school. Ultimately, if you do not do a good job, you will be held accountable by them, so you must listen to their needs and concerns.

And finally, since you are answerable for your actions, unless the organisation with which you disagree is responsible for the supervision of your school, such as the MOE or Department of Education, you must make the final decision about school policy. However, remember to be tactful about the way you do it.

In this introductory unit, we have looked broadly at what the concept of school management embraces and the distinction between management and governance. We have touched upon the laws and regulations within whose context schools operate and the various bodies, agencies and groups who all bear a part in the governance of schools. These relationships are summarised in the diagram below and are explored more fully in the units which follow.

Thus, in later units we will look at the way the head is the coordinator of all management activities in the school through the school staff, the students, the Ministry, the parents and the local community.

National Assembly
Ministry of Education
Regional Administration
Boards of Governors or Management Committees
Education Departments
Staff and pupils
Wider Community
Parent Teacher Associations
Religious Leaders
Employers’ Organisations
Community Leaders
Well-managed schools

Unit 2 Legal Basis of School Governance

As we have seen in Unit 1, the management of schools may be seen on two levels – that which is in the control of the school leadership team and that which is external to the school. Management does not take place in a vacuum or in a random way but rather occurs within the context of laws, regulations, administrative instructions and directives which issue from the Ministry of Education and Government. The constitutional responsibility for educational provision rests with the state and the government, as an agency of the state, has the authority to formulate policies and enact laws concerning education, raise revenues and operate government schools or devolve powers to other agencies or individuals to open and operate private schools. It is these laws enacted by government, expressed in acts, decrees or ordinances, and reflected in various educational bylaws, legislative and executive instruments and other regulations, which constitute the legal basis for school governance.

The various laws and regulations on education, which themselves derive from educational policies formulated by government, are translated into administrative and management instructions, directives and guidelines which determine how schools are managed.

The main purpose of this unit is to assist the school head to understand the sources of authority which determine how the school is to be managed, and through this, to be guided as an educational leader.

Individual study time: 3 hours

Learning outcomes
At the end of this unit, you should be able to:

§ explain what an education policy is
§ explain what education laws are, and be aware that such acts, decrees, ordinances and bylaws affect the way you manage your school
§ describe what executive and legislative instruments on education are and how they affect the management and governance of your school
§ describe what administrative instructions are and how they affect the operations of your school
§ explain why your school requires its own policies and regulations, what these are, and what procedures you have for their further development.

Education policies

Activity 2.1
Taking the school curriculum as an example and considering the way in which your school is structured, identify and describe the effect of government policy in this area on the way you have developed your curricular programmes in the school.
Some of the ways in which school structures and programmes have been determined through government policies include the following:

§ the length of each cycle in the education system: for example, nursery provision in early years, the primary school cycle spans six years and therefore consists of Grades One to Six, while the secondary cycle spans five years and consists of Grades Seven to Eleven (Forms 1 – 5)
§ the selection and content of subjects taught at each level as part of the Guyana National Curriculum
§ specific timetables within nursery and primary schools
§ the minimum qualifications of teachers at each level of the education system
§ the age at which pupils start formal schooling in Nursery Schools

All of these will have an effect on your programmes of study and the curriculum you offer. However, ultimately, you are responsible for what goes on in the classroom and you must be prepared to adapt (where it is permissible) to meet local needs.

Education policy is the overall plan laid down by government embracing general goals and procedures in the provision of education. It is intended to guide and determine present and future decisions connected with schools and pupils, and the roles to be played by parents and other interested bodies. Education policies only become compulsory when included in legislation and enforced through the courts of law.

Education laws
Activity 2.2
In Unit 1, you identified the education acts, decrees or ordinances which determine the way your school is operated.

1) Consider one or two of them (perhaps relating to strategic planning through the SIP, the curriculum or school admissions as examples) and identify what you consider to have been the government objectives in passing such laws.
2) To what extent have these acts or laws been successful in achieving their objectives in the operation of your school?

For major government educational policies to be implemented, laws in the form of acts or decrees are promulgated to back them. These laws are the rules by which Guyana is governed and which every citizen should respect. (Consider the words of the Guyana National Pledge). It is important to note that such laws, including those on education, do not become static but are amended or changed to suit new circumstances as the country develops.

In some situations, it is possible to find schools which are not operating within the law. For example, some schools have class sizes which are larger than those prescribed by law. It is often quite difficult to provide the national curriculum, particularly in practical subjects in a school with no electricity; or in languages, for example, when there is no teacher available. Another problem is school finance, where the government may set limits on how schools may obtain funding, but where funds have to be raised due to a severe lack of resources.

School heads must know what the law is and they must strive by every means to operate within it. Heads must also be an advocate for the school when resource provision restricts their ability to comply with the law. For example, the head of a school without any electricity next door to a school that has it, must lobby the authorities until the situation is rectified. On the other hand, law makers must understand the realities of educational provision and must pass laws which make sense.

In effect, schools are governed by the legal instruments, known as education acts, which are usually proposed by the Office of the Minister of Education and passed by the Guyana National Assembly. Each education act will build on the strengths of its predecessors and cancel legislation which is no longer necessary. Therefore, in reading the latest education act, one must be au fait with all of its precursors.

It is also important to note that besides major laws in the form of acts or decrees on education which are national in character, there are other subordinate laws, made by town councils and regional democratic councils which affect education in specific areas. These are known as bylaws. These local democratic organisations have wide powers to make bylaws on such matters as education, health care and sanitation. Hence, the Town Councils and RDCs have much influence on educational provision in their areas. It is, therefore, important for you as a school head to know what bylaws on education are in force in the area in which your school is located.

Executive and legislative instruments on education
An executive instrument is a certificate issued by the executive branch of government for a certain order to be carried out in connection with a specific issue. In the field of education, it sometimes becomes necessary to acquire land to construct schools. If this poses a difficulty but land is available, the Ministry of Education can make an order to acquire the portion of land in question. This order is tabled in the National Assembly and, if ratified, the land can then be acquired. Compensation will be paid to the owner.

A legislative instrument is an order issued by the legislature on an aspect of national importance. This order, which has the force of law, regulates activities within a specific domain of national life. A legislative instrument might be issued, for example, to establish decentralised political administration in which regional councils are given certain functions and powers with respect to the provision of education. As you are aware, the Town Councils and RDCs in Guyana are heavily involved in the provision of education, especially in funding certain aspects of it.

Are you aware of any executive or legislative instruments which have influenced the operations of your school or the schools in your district?

In 2008, the Ministry of Education underwent a process by which further decentralisation of its functions was proposed and agreed. Out of this came proposals for the reorganisation of many of the functions of the MOE, strengthening some areas and delegating some tasks to regional education offices. You will already be aware to what extent your Town Council or RDC is involved in the education process. The area in which changes in legislation are having the greatest influence on schools is in the level of authority being delegated to the PEO (Georgetown) and Regional Education Officers. Decisions, for example, about the opening, location, size and closure of schools are increasingly being made locally.

However, we must be aware that, with the decentralisation process, comes greater accountability both for departments of education and schools. Heads must be aware of their duties in these areas.

Administrative instructions
The two main ministries in Guyana which are involved in education provision are:

§ The Ministry of Education – this is the executive arm of the government for educational affairs. The political head is the Minister of Education, the administrative head is the Permanent Secretary and the professional head is the Chief Education Officer. For further details of their functions, see Module 2, Unit 2 – Government Organisation and Functions.
§ The Ministry of Local Government – this ministry is responsible for the democratic process of the local representation of the people through the RDCs and Town Councils.

However, others will be involved such as the Ministry of Finance in the funding of schools and the Ministry of Health relating to Health and Family Life Education and other health issues such as HIV / Aids, Diabetes education etc. One major function of these government ministries or departments involves the application of general policy to particular areas or activities.

Many administrative functions permit the exercise of discretion by those in positions of authority; hence, powers of policy execution are exercised by a large number of officials, from the officers of the Ministry of Education to heads and classroom teachers, each of whom is given some powers of discretion. Thus, senior officials usually issue administrative instructions to schools in the form of directives or guidelines. These instructions are generally issued through circular letters or at staff meetings at various levels.

Activity 2.3
One of the problems with administrative instructions is keeping an up-to-date file of them and in ensuring that the staff are informed of them. How well are these being kept in your school and how well are your procedures for keeping your staff informed working.

Develop a simple policy for dealing with administrative instructions from different sources. You should consider the following:

§ Reading the communication
§ Analysing the implications for you and your school
§ Filing the communication for easy access when needed
§ Communicating the guidelines / instructions to staff
§ Monitoring their compliance with the instructions.

You should try to read these directives as soon as they arrive or very soon after. It is a good idea to keep a folder with information for reading and set aside a time each week which is devoted to just that task. You will not need to read everything and often there will be an executive summary at the front which you can skim for its appropriateness for your situation.

You might want to use a pencil to highlight areas which are applicable to you without damaging the document. You may even wish to take notes of the main points and you will need to consider the implications for your school. Implementation of the instructions may require you to discuss the matter first with your senior leadership team to create an action plan and, of course, simply to keep them informed.

Your choices for storage might include a catalogued ring binder classified into date, sender or topic. You may wish to use a filing cabinet with individual files labelled with the topic e.g. Admissions, National Curriculum, Financial Regulations etc. Whichever you choose, it is a good idea to keep a separate list of all communications as they come in with three columns so that you will be able to find them easily. You may wish to give certain staff access to this. See below for an example of how to record communications.

You will only need to communicate to staff those issues which concern them. Teachers do not wish to be burdened with administrative information which does not impact on their role. This is best done through a staff meeting when teachers have an opportunity to ask questions. However, sometimes you may need proof that teachers have been informed, especially if later they will have to change their practice. The staff communications book is the best method for this and, even better, if you have reproduction facilities, give each teacher their own copy. Schools which are fortunate enough to have computers could use email, intranet or, in this technological world, a private blog which can only be read by certain named people. See Unit 6 for instructions in how to monitor performance.

Directives, Instructions and Guidelines

Date -----------Communication----------------------------------Filed In

Nov 2009 ------Guidelines for admissions to secondary schools ------Admissions
Dec 2009 -------National Curriculum – Grade 9 Spanish -------------National Curriculum
Feb 2010 -------Directive on corporal punishment -------------------Pupil behaviour
Mar 2010 -------Use of financial virements --------------------------Finance - votes
May 2010 -------Managing pupil behaviour --------------------------Pupil behaviour

The power to create policy
All officials at different levels within the education sector have the power to form policies and issue directives. However, these are usually only for those persons for whom they have supervisory responsibility. The more senior the official, the greater scope they have for creating policy which will affect the whole system. However, such policy at ministry level is usually a joint effort between different officers with their own distinct responsibilities and, therefore, perceptions about what should be done. However, the distribution of discretionary powers is not fixed and, at present, there is a trend in Guyana to devolve more power and responsibilities to heads of school. Thus, heads have traditionally been expected just to do as they were told; to react to the directives given by the central authority. Now, more often, heads are expected to be proactive in developing, in consultation with others, policies and regulations for their own school and to implement these through school-based plans and School Improvement Plans.

Every school needs to have its own set of policies and regulations. You will already have regulations, or rules, governing the behaviour of pupils and procedures for setting standards of discipline, but do you explain the rationale or purpose of these in a school policy statement? Schools require policies in many areas for example, with regard to:

Learning and Teaching
Special needs - pupils with learning difficulties, disabilities and physical disabilities
Reporting pupils’ progress
Extra -curricular activities
Language across the curriculum
Financial procedures

If you feel you need to know more about how to manage change in your school, have a look at Unit 8 in Module 2, Principles of Educational Management.

Activity 2.4
1) List three areas in which you, as head of your school, have developed policies and regulations to promote the development of your school
2) Identify any more areas where you think school policies are needed, and explain what you intend to do to develop them.

Every school needs to have its own set of policies and regulations. You will already have regulations, or rules, governing the behaviour of pupils and procedures for setting standards of discipline, but do you explain the rationale or purpose of these in a school policy statement? Schools require policies in many areas for example, with regard to:
o Learning and Teaching
o Homework
o Special needs - pupils with learning difficulties, disabilities and physical disabilities
o Assessment
o Reporting pupils’ progress
o Extra -curricular activities
o Language across the curriculum
o Financial procedures

If you feel you need to know more about how to manage change in your school, have a look at Unit 8 in Module 2, Principles of Educational Management.

School policies and regulations
We have discussed earlier how important it is for headteachers to have expectations of their staff. These are best communicated in a staff handbook so that all staff are very clear about what they have to do, how they should behave in certain circumstances, their professional conduct, what they are accountable for and the consequences of not following the agreed policies. This is not to say that you should produce an overbearing document which will make teachers feel uncomfortable and restricted, but one which gives them clear, sensible and logical directions about what they should do that will be in the best interests of the children.

We are aware, of course, that reproduction facilities in many schools might be difficult, but the payback for keeping staff informed of your expectations of them will be worth the expense. Such information is best kept in a loose, leaf file provided for all teachers, which they must surrender to their replacement when they leave the school. Why loose leaf? This is because your policies will be updated on a regular basis, like the law of the land, and old policies can easily be removed and substituted for new ones, keeping the staff fully informed at all times. These policies can also be a useful resource in staff development sessions when you will give practical advice on how to implement them.

Keeping teachers fully informed enables you to discuss their performance with them, congratulating them when they do well and supporting and encouraging them when improvements need to be made.

In this unit, we have looked at the issue of laws and regulations which underpin school governance. We have examined different kinds of laws which form the basis of school governance such as education acts and legislative instruments. We have considered the nature of educational policies and how administrative instructions and guidelines may apply to these particular issues. We have given careful thought to who has the power to issue directives and their scope.

Consideration has been given to the reading, analysis, storage and dissemination of such information and you have been encouraged to find your personal solutions to how you will deal with these.

Lastly, we have noted the importance of heads of school developing their own policies and regulations, as part of the process of school-based planning, making clear expectations, professionalism and particularly accountability.

Unit 3 School Managers and Governing Bodies

In Guyana, schools are governed in different ways. The vast majority of schools are government controlled schools, led and managed by the headteacher with the support of the Regional Department of Education and the MOE. The legal responsibility for the schools lies with the MOE and the management is delegated to the headteacher.

A small number of schools, again led and managed by the headteacher, are governed by a board of governors, the members of which are collectively responsible for the provision of education in that school. They have a legal obligation and must follow a constitution which lays down their responsibilities in law.

Currently, an increasingly large number of schools are operated on a private basis and, likewise, are managed by the trust, foundation, religious body or company that funds the school, through the leadership of a headteacher. You may be the head of any of these types of school in your career and it is important that you understand your responsibilities in relation to these other groups and how you should work with them.

Because of the importance of education in national development, the government and the public must have a vital interest in the management of schools. To ensure that the interests of these stakeholders are brought to bear, management committees and boards of governors are sometimes set up to exercise control over them. The term that is used for such bodies sometimes varies, so in this unit we use the term ‘governing board’. There is a move towards increasing the number of schools governed by a board in Guyana but, for practical reasons, such as the ability to recruit suitably qualified and committed board members, these plans are on hold.

In order that the head may relate to, and work efficiently with, the school’s governing board, it is important that he or she understands the role and powers of the board and how it may operate to the best advantage in the management of their school.

However, regulations relating to governing boards frequently change and therefore the information we provide in this unit will be general in nature and will give you a flavour of the legal requirements. If you become heads of such a school you must familiarise yourself completely with the mode of operation of such schools.

In relation to private schools, some are governed in the same way as board schools and others on a very informal basis. This unit will give you a flavour of the former and cannot cover the many combinations of the latter.

Individual study time: 4 hours

Learning outcomes
By the end of the unit, you should be able to:

§ describe the constitution of the governing board
§ identify the powers of the governing board
§ explain the roles of the governing board
§ describe the membership of the governing board
§ demonstrate how relations between the school head and the governing board may be developed
§ explain some of the rules and procedures which govern board meetings.

The flowchart below provides a summary of operational elements that influence the ability of the boards of governors and management committees to operate through the heads and their staff in well-managed schools.

The constitution of the governing board

Activity 3.1
From what you have read above and considering that there are different governing authorities for schools in Guyana, identify the following:-
1) What is the name of the body that has the responsibility for overseeing the management of your school?
2) From what sources and through which instruments does that body derive its authority to oversee the management of your school?

If your school is one of the majority and is a government school, then you are managed and supervised by the department of education in your region which has delegated powers from the MOE. Its authority comes from the Government of Guyana which is elected on behalf of the people. You are therefore answerable to the local community and the country.

If you are head of one of the few board schools, you are accountable to the board, which, in turn, is answerable to the Minister of Education through the Board Secretariat. In order to ensure that governing boards operate on some common principles, every board has a constitution that provides basic guidelines and the legal framework for its operators. The constitution is usually approved by the Minister of Education and it provides the blueprint for a board’s operation as a legal entity. The constitution of a board of governors usually derives its powers from an education act or similar legislation. We should note, however, that there are likely to be differences in the constitutions of public and private schools, with those of the private schools, where there is a constitution, being less strictly defined.

The operational elements of school boards of governors
and management committees
School Management Committees and Boards of Governors
Relations between the school head and the school board
Relations between the school head and the chair of the board or trustees.
By-laws and operational procedures
Well-managed schools
Specifically, the constitution of a school board addresses issues that are intended to provide for its effective functioning.

The constitution of the board
Powers and functions of the board
Composition of the membership of the board
Appointment of the Chair and tenure of office of members
Powers and duties of the school head
Appointment of staff of the school
Management of the school fund
Preparation of an annual budget
Approval of the budget
Monitoring the annual budget
Support of the headteacher and school staff
Selective monitoring of school effectiveness
Grievance Procedures
Legal issues
Maintenance of buildings
Health and safety
Personnel issues

It should be noted that, although overall responsibility for some of these issues, lies with the board, many of them may be delegated to the head for which he / she becomes accountable to the board.

The powers of governing boards
One of the most critical and sensitive matters concerning school boards is the extent and limits of its powers of authority. If there is too little, heads may be left too much on their own; too much and the heads may become frustrated by undue interference. Understanding where these limits are is essential for both the school head and all members of the board.

If you have experience of school boards, trustees or management committees, consider for a moment how they might assist you in managing your school and whether there are any areas that you consider a hindrance. If you have no experience, try to speak to someone who does.
Whether you find the board a support, a help or a hindrance, the way in which you work with it and whether it is successful or not will depend on your relationship with the chair and those appointed to it. You must work on this good relationship in the best interests of your staff and children.
Some of the powers of school board of governors or management committee include the following:-

it is a corporate body with perpetual succession
it may sue and be sued in its corporate name
it may acquire property both movable and immovable on behalf of the school
it may develop and control the general policy of the school

As there are powers of a school board or committee, so also are there limitations to the powers that it may exercise. The limitations may include the following:

The board cannot dispose of school property or create a charge against any such property without the written approval of the Minister
To avoid conflict of roles, a school governing board shall, exercising its powers and policy functions, be careful not to encroach on the day-to-day management authority and responsibility of the school head. The head has full delegated powers and responsibility for the policy and day to day running of the school.

It is also important to note that, while an individual member of a board, deriving his power from the board as a corporate body, may act in his capacity as a board member for and on behalf of the board, he / she cannot, as a private citizen, transact business on behalf of the board.

The roles of governing boards
The major role of a school board of governors or management committee is to ensure the effective and accountable use of resources in the provision of public or private education. We must be clear that the board is not a totally autonomous body and must comply with the law in all areas, especially those relating to the provision of education. If this major role is expanded to include more schools in Guyana as part of the further delegation of powers as has happened in many countries, the following components may need to be included:

1) The governing board should ensure that the school is conducted to provide educational services in accordance with the provisions of the relevant educational laws and regulations that may be in existence or may come into existence from time to time.
2) It needs to develop and control the general policy of the school within the framework of the board’s constitution and any bylaws and regulations relating to education.
3) Meetings of the board should be held regularly and on a schedule set by policy to discuss the dispatch of school business.
4) The governing board causes the school annual budget to be prepared, approved, and submitted to the appropriate education authority for the provision of the government grants for the operation of the school in the ensuing year.
5) It ensures that all funds of the school are properly managed and accounted for by the head.
6) It causes the school to submit to the relevant education authorities such information, returns and audited accounts as may be required by such authorities from time to time.
7) The governing board may cause an annual survey of the school to be conducted to verify the physical operation of the school in relation to the financial expenditure incurred during the year.
8) It holds the head of the school responsible for the effective operation of the school and for the provision of information to the board to enable it to be up to date and to make informed decisions on the school.

It should be noted that where, in a board school, there is no board appointed due to lack of available personnel or any other reason, the authority for the school will revert to the Head of the Regional Department of Education with much greater delegated powers to the headteachers. The Minister of Education is responsible for appointing the board.

The governing board may delegate many of its duties to the headteacher. However, it remains fully accountable to the parents and the Ministry of Education. Basically, headteachers are responsible for the day-to-day running of the school including leadership, management and administrative tasks. The board should support the headteacher in this work and provide a framework and vision in which he / she can work.

Membership and qualifications of governing boards
Since school boards have a major responsibility for providing leadership and direction in the management of schools, membership of a board must be made up of individuals of reputable standing in their respective communities. As a school head, you must know the basis and rationale for the identification and selection of members of the public who are to serve on your school board.

Reflect on the manner that you believe individuals should be selected for appointment to serve on a board of governors. Consider the qualifications necessary for someone to be appointed, the bodies or groups that are to be represented and the conditions which may disqualify an individual from being appointed.
In seeking members for board, you should look for people who will have something positive to contribute. Such a quality may derive form their personality, experience or contacts. You need people who can argue constructively and work with others for the good of the whole school community. One should not need to be an educationist to be appointed. In most cases, unless a person is disqualified by statue of law, any literate adult may qualify for membership of a school board provided:

§ he / she is a citizen of Guyana and of voting age
§ he / she is resident in the community or district in which the school is situated
§ he / she is a member of the religious body if he / she is to represent the religious body to which a school is affiliated (in private schools).
The size of a school board usually ranges from nine to 21 members, representing as many as possible of the various identifiable groups which have interests in the school. You should remember that the strength of a team would be improved by having a range of people with different qualifications and with different interests in the school. There are dangers in having boards, which are too small or too large; too small, and it may be seen to be an unrepresentative clique, too large and it may divide into factions so that decisive action becomes difficult. The bodies you have identified as being represented on a school board may include:

§ the general public
§ the traditional council of the area in which the school is situated
§ the religious body to which the school may belong
§ the Parent-Teacher Association
§ the former Students’ Association
§ the Town or Regional District Council or Education Department
§ local employers
§ the staff of the school

Usually, a person may be disqualified for appointment to a school board if:

§ he / she has a criminal record and has not been granted a pardon
§ he / she has been declared insolvent or bankrupt and has not bee discharged
§ he / she is adjudged to be of unsound mind or has been detained as a criminally insane person
§ he / she is disqualified from holding public office by any law for the time being in force
§ his / her economic or business interests are linked to those of the board or school.

Relations between the school head and the school board
As a head, you are the chief executive of your school and usually an ex officio member of your school board. You are the link between your school and the board on the one hand, and the Ministry of Education and the Regional Department of Education on the other. In the first capacity, you are expected to advise and keep the board informed on matters relating to the management of the school. You have to provide relevant data to guide the board in its deliberations and to help it make policy decisions for the school. In the second role, you have to provide, in co-operation with your board chairperson, a channel for information to flow between the board and the appropriate educational authorities.

Reflect on the role of a board of governors and your own role as the school head, think about some of the actions that you should take to enable the board to fulfil its functions.
The head’s relationship with the school board should be one of partnership based on a mutual understanding of each other’s role and responsibilities. We hope that some of the actions you have identified as necessary for enabling the board to fulfil its functions include:

arranging for board meetings in consultation with the board chairperson
preparing the annual budget estimates for consideration and approval by the board for onward transmission to the appropriate educational authority
preparing and presenting annual Income and Expenditure accounts to the board
assisting with appointments to the school board
preparing and presenting on a regular basis, reports on all aspects of the operation of your school
From this, you will realise that as a head, your relationship with your school board is that of a facilitator, enabling the board to perform its functions. While the board depends on you and your staff for information and professional expertise on educational matters, you and your staff should look to the board for support and direction in your operations.

Some rules and procedures governing school board meetings
Constitutions for boards normally set out a framework within which the business of the board is transacted. Within this framework, however, school boards have the flexibility to develop their own policies and practices to ensure the orderly and productive conduct of meetings. Although rules and procedures for conducting business at board meetings may vary form one board to another according to the context in which the school finds itself in, most schools boards follow the accepted rules of parliamentary procedure for the conduct of business. For an introduction to some of the principles in managing meetings, study Unit 7 in Module 3, Personnel Management.
The following are some of the rules and procedures for conducting school board meetings:

1) There must be a Chairperson who is normally elected from among board members.
2) There must be a Secretary (sometimes called the Clerk) to the board who is usually appointed by the board or who is sometimes the deputy head of the school.
3) The frequency for meetings must be established. They are usually once a term with additional meetings for the approval of the budget and extraordinary meetings for important issues which occur mid term.
4) A quorum for meetings must be established. That is, there must be a minimum number of governors present if action is to be ratified by the board.
5) The minutes (sometimes called notes) of board meetings must be taken, usually circulated to board members and safely kept.
6) Board authority in the form of a common seal must be established for use on board documents.

To enable the board to consider and make decisions on issues that need immediate attention before a full board can be convened, a school board appoints a Standing or Executive Committee from among its members. This committee usually consists of three to five members of the board who can be called to meetings at short notice. The committee meets in between board meetings to deal with pressing or emergency issues, which are then reported to a full board meeting for ratification. This committee has full powers to act on behalf of the board. However, it must act in accordance with the agreed wishes of the board members. This committee is fully accountable to the board.

In exceptionally urgent situations, when a meeting cannot be called or a meeting is not quorate (insufficient members to form a quorum), the Chairperson may act on behalf of the board. However, he / she is totally accountable for his / her actions.

The board may also appoint an Advisory Committee to advise it on issues that require technical and other advice, often from external sources. Thus, membership of this committee may include both board members and others from outside the board.

The board may also appoint an ad-hoc committee as a task force or a work committee to investigate a specific issue and to report back within a specified time. Its membership may also include temporary members invited by the board. Such a sub-committee may work on issues such as the curriculum, the budget, buildings and maintenance or personnel issues such as the appointment of staff.
The Governance of Private Schools
There are many private schools in Guyana and they operate in a different context but are still expected to provide quality education. Whereas the governing boards of Government schools are responsible to the Minister of Education, those of private schools may be responsible to a group of trustees under whose auspices the school operates. However, in many cases, there is no such body. These schools, therefore, are ultimately responsible to the clientele they serve – the parents, the pupils and the community. This is why it is very important that such schools are recognised by the Ministry of Education

There are many different types of schools in Guyana from those completely in control of the MOE to others on the far end of the scale that are totally independent. They are managed in different ways. However, they all have one thing in common – a headteacher who carries out the day-to-day running of the school. Many schools have a body to which the head is responsible. This may be a governing board in a state school, a management committee or trustees in an independent school. The head must work effectively with whoever has control.

In this unit, we have considered the importance of boards of governors and management committees in the management of schools. The constitution, which provides the legal framework under which boards operate, has been reviewed in order to emphasise the powers and limitations which are conferred on boards.

The role of school boards and management committees and the appointment of members have also been considered. The relationships which should exist between the head and the school board have been identified and explained. We have also made clear details of the procedures for the conduct of school board business, both in full board meetings, sub committees, standing committees and chairperson’s powers.

Unit 4 Relationships between Schools and Other Agencies

An important aspect of the head’s functions is establishing appropriate relationships with the various agencies that contribute to the quality of school management. This unit aims to provide you with a greater operational knowledge of the various agencies that have authority in one way or another over the way schools operate. The focus is on the duties and rights of the various agencies that are responsible for helping to establish operational procedures and standards in schools.

Individual study time: 3 hours

Learning outcomes
By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

§ describe the norm-seeking role of the Ministry of Education
§ identify the main levels of educational administration and management
§ explain how relations with the various stakeholders in education affect the nature and quality of school management.
§ identify specifically the management and governance role in schools of the central Ministry of Education, the Regional Administration and Education Departments, the MERD Unit and NCERD and how they affect the management of your school,

The flow chart below indicates some of the agencies who may exercise their responsibility for establishing procedures and standards in schools.

Relationships between schools and other agencies

Ministry of Education
Regional Administration
Department of Education
Allied Arts
Ministry of Education
Regional Administration
Department of Education
Allied Arts
M.E.R.D Unit

Quality of Education
The norm-setting role of the Ministry of Education
Activity 4.1
Identify some of the areas in which the Ministry of Education determines the way your school operates.

The areas you have identified may include:

§ The standards of teaching and learning
§ The curriculum components and content by course and by level
§ Benchmarking tools in all areas of school life
§ The nature and type of physical facilities your school has such as classrooms, furniture, learning resources etc.
§ The type of educational equipment in use in your school
§ Your personnel, i.e. the types and number of teaching and non-teaching staff
§ The management of your school finances.
The functions of the Ministry of Education at the national headquarters level with regard to school governance are mainly normative; that is, they establish norms or standards for the operation of schools. By defining principles, setting standards and establishing guidelines for the operation of schools, the Ministry of Education is able to direct the educational system towards the national goals.

In Guyana, this is a major task for the MOE. Many challenges are faced and, although the provision of an equal education for all is uppermost in the work of the MOE, it is beset with difficulties. The geography of the country, travel difficulties, personnel issues, the recruitment of staff in the hinterland, the retention of teachers and communications generally have an impact on its ability to provide an educational system which is truly equal and conforms to the norm in all cases. This norm setting is often also described as strategic management. The MOE has a strategic plan that is implemented and monitored continuously and reviewed every 5 years.
Levels of educational administration

Activity 4.2
Consider the structure of the Ministry of Education in Guyana and identify the different levels of educational authority from the Ministry of Education in Georgetown down to the individual school.
Two clearly distinct levels of operation characterise the educational system; there is the Ministry of Education and various national agencies at the highest level and there is the level of individual schools where the actual teaching and learning take place. Between these two extremes are intermediate levels. Heads have to deal with authorities at each of the various levels in the running of their schools.

For a fuller account of the organisation and functions of the government, study again Unit 2 in Module 2, Principles of Educational Management.
Relations with the Ministry of Education
In view of the importance of education in the development of human resources in Guyana, the Guyanese Government has a direct involvement in the education of its people. The involvement of government in the provision of education is through the Ministry of Education. In Guyana, this participation in educational provision is being decentralised more and more and much of the accountability for a quality education for all children lies with the regional administrations and education departments. The MOE provides overall direction and a monitoring function but allows decisions to be made at a local level with answerability to the people through local democracy.
Activity 4.3
How are the following national bodies involved in the provision of education in your school?

§ the National Assembly
§ the Ministry of Education;
§ the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD)
§ the Planning Unit;
§ the Ministry of Finance;
§ the Curriculum Unit and / or the BEAMS project;
§ the Book Distribution Unit (BDU)
§ the MERD Unit
§ the Exams Board.

This involvement of the government in the provision of education takes many forms and includes, amongst others, the following:

1. The Cabinet (made up of the President and Ministers) and the National Assembly are responsible for the approval of national policy and the enactment of laws relating to education.
2. There is a Senior Policy Making Group usually made of the Minister of Education, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief Education Officer and deputies, the Director of NCERD and senior representatives from a range of educational programmes.
3. The Planning Unit provides an analysis of educational data that may be used to determine such issues as the age for entering formal education, the provision for teacher training and the duration of schooling at different levels amongst many others.
4. The Ministry of Finance controls the flow of government resource to education.
5. The Curriculum Unit in NCERD and long-standing projects such as BEAMS (Basic Education Access and Management Support 2004 -2009) oversees curriculum development and standards in education.
6. NCERD, along with curriculum development, provides every aspect of in service educational support from training materials to specific teacher / management workshops, printing facilities to media ICT support, resource development and library facilities for teachers / educators / managers as well as all of the country’s test development needs.
7. The MERD Unit monitors, for the government, educational practice and standards in schools and advises teachers, heads, managers and policy-makers on ways to improve.
8. The Book Distribution Unit, as its name suggests, is responsible for ensuring that the resources purchased by or developed by the various arms of the MOE are allocated fairly and efficiently to schools all over the country.
9. The Exams Board approves and monitors appropriate forms of national pupil and teacher assessment to enable continuity and standards across the country.
10. The Teaching Service Commission appoints, disciplines and dismisses teachers.
Since government intervention in the provision of education is through the Ministry of Education, you need to know, as a school head, the different bodies and agencies within the Ministry of Education which deal with the different policies and regulations affecting the operation of your school.

Relations with State or Regional Authorities
Activity 4.4
1) Consider each of the items included in the table below and indicate at which level – national, regional, district or school – the responsibility lies for its provision. Note that in some areas the responsibility may be shared.
2) To what extent would you judge that dealing with matters at the district or regional levels of education is more or less beneficial for the efficient and effective operation of your school than with Ministry of Education? State your reasons.
Levels of responsibility


Location of schools

Size (enrolment) of schools

Employment of teachers

Posting, promotions of teachers

Choice of curriculum

Choice and purchase of textbooks

Operation of exams

Inspection of schools

Appointment of boards of governors

Payment of teachers’ salaries

Budget allocation and control

Organisation of Parent Teachers’ Association

School calendar

School rules and regulations

Educational management training
In-service training

Pre-service training
Education administration has been decentralised in line with government policy and other ministries. This was done to accommodate the great diversity among the regions in the country; so that day-to-day decisions, that best suit the local conditions, could be made.

The main argument for decentralising the management of education is to allow communities to decide what they want for themselves. Centralised systems may appear to promote fairness in the distribution of resources but, in fact, the large bureaucracies that are created are often inefficient and slow to react to change and local needs. Decentralising does have problems in ensuring local accountability; sometimes the bureaucracy of the centre may be replaced by local bad practices. A lot of training in leadership and management skills is required to ensure that regional and local administration is efficient and effective.

Whereas the location and size of schools is now decided locally, the employment and promotion of teachers are done through the Teaching Service Commission, whilst the payment of teachers is done through the Ministry of Finance and the Regional Authority. There is a national curriculum and textbooks are purchased both locally and centrally. Likewise, there are national examinations and those which form the normal part of formative assessment developed by individual schools. Schools should be inspected at all levels – nationally by the MERD Unit through inspection of regions, locally by the Departments of Education and by schools in the form of their own self-evaluation procedures.

Budgets for schools are decided nationally, allocated locally and administered by schools themselves. In-service training, in the same way, is provided at all three levels. Pre-service training is provided nationally through the University of Guyana and CPCE but there is much local and school involvement through distance learning.

Of course, all such issues such as rules and regulations, parental involvement and calendars and planning are carried out by the schools themselves. So, as you can see, the management of schools is very much a shared role with the headteacher
leading and coordinating the whole process.

And finally, education management training and especially the programme you are now involved in and reading is a national programme provided by NCERD.
Relations with the Regional Education Department
Activity 4.5
In what ways and to what extent would you say that in Guyana the REDO and his / her staff is the key level of authority influencing the ability of heads to manage their schools effectively?
The process of decentralisation of educational management in Guyana is according much more importance to the office of the Head of the Regional Department of Education – the REDO or PEO in Georgetown. It is this office which actually has to deal with issues affecting the implementation of educational programmes in schools. Generally speaking, the degree of decentralisation of functions from the centre to intermediate levels diminishes as one moves from the primary grade, through secondary, to the higher grades of education. At all levels, issues relating to planning and statistics, the management of facilities and equipment, the management of teaching and learning and the curriculum as well as issues of school welfare, must be dealt with. However, due to limitations of staff, which may exist in some smaller schools, some of these issues are referred to the regional officer. As a school head, you need to be aware of your local situation, but your DEO must be kept fully informed.
Relations with the MERD Unit
Activity 4.6
Reflect on the work of those who monitor and evaluate the performance of your school (MERD, DEO, yourself).

1) Describe how inspectors may contribute towards the raising of educational standards in your school.
2) Suggest ways in which school inspectors and DEOs could assist further to improve the effectiveness of your school
3) Given the limitations on resources, would you say that inspectors should work to ensure minimum standards in all the schools or to ensure the highest possible standards in some schools?
It is intended that the effectiveness of schools should be enhanced through the monitoring and evaluation of inspectors. For this reason, the Ministry of Education in Guyana has set up the MERD Unit and has charged it with the responsibility of conducting the periodic inspection of regions and their schools with a view to evaluating the quality of their work.

The function of the Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Development Unit is quite complex since it exists both to ensure the maintenance of minimum standards as well as the attainment of the highest possible standards in all schools. These include the following:

Standards of accommodation and equipment
Standards of teaching and learning
Implementation of the national curriculum
Standards of achievement of pupils
Standards of management, discipline and the overall ethos of the school.

Given that the MERD Unit has this function to promote higher standards of effectiveness, teaching and learning and efficiency in schools, it is essential for heads to maintain a close liaison with their Regional Education Office so that they may be assisted in setting minimum standards and working for even higher standards in their schools. For further clarification on the role of the MERD Unit and the monitoring of school effectiveness, see Module 5.
In this unit, we have examined the relationship the school head needs to establish with the different agencies which play some part in the governance of the schools.

The role of the Ministry of Education in setting standards and norms for school operations has been explained and the different levels of educational management and administration have been identified. The reasons why the school head should relate well to the Ministry of Education and the Regional Department of Education have been stressed.

The relationship of Central, Regional and District Education Offices with the school has been highlighted for the guidance of heads.

The role of the MERD Unit in promoting both the minimum and the best standards in teaching and learning, as well as the overall leadership, management and ethos in schools, has also been emphasised.

Unit 5 The Role of Teachers, Pupils and Parents in School Management

The rapid expansion of student enrolments in recent years, coupled with inadequate resources to cope with the ever-increasing demand for educational provision, has made school leadership and management a much more complex and difficult enterprise now than a few decades ago. To ensure effective and successful management, the school head must not only be innovative, resourceful and dynamic, but also be able to interact well with people both within and outside the school. These include staff and pupils, parents, members of the Parent Teacher Association and many other members of the community. All of these need to be brought, in some way or other, into the decision-making process if they are to remain supportive of what you, as head, are doing.

In other words, for the purpose of achieving success as a manager, the head must create an environment of participation in the running of the school.

In this unit, we shall examine the roles that each of the various partners within the school must play in order to enhance its effective and purposeful management. In the next unit, we will look at ways of including the outside community in the same way.

Individual study time: 3 hours

Learning outcomes
By the end of this unit, you should be able to:

§ identify the role of the staff in school management
§ demonstrate how pupils may participate in the decision-making process
§ explain the purpose of school committees
§ define the role of parents in the management of the school

A summary of the partners within the school involved in school management is given below.

School Management

Senior Leadership Team
Student Government
Middle Leaders
Level Heads
Prefects & Monitors
Parent Teacher Association
Teaching Staff
Non-Teaching Staff

The role of staff in school management
The more opportunities are given to members of your staff to participate in school management, the greater is likely to be their sense of commitment and ownership of school programmes.
Activity 5.1
1) Identify the various duty posts of responsibility for teachers in your school.
2) Describe the responsibilities and duties attached to each of the posts you have identified in (1) above.

The duty postsThe posts of responsibility for teachers which you have identified probablyteachers that you have identified probably included the deputy head, senior teachers, academic heads of department in a secondary school or level heads in primary schools as well as house staff in boarding schools – where you run a boarding system. . In fact, as head, you should ensure that everyone who is appointed above the level of a regular class teacher has identified responsibilities that are linked to a job description. If you want to learn more about how to write a job description, refer to Unit 4 in Module One, Self-Development for Educational Leaders.
The following might have been included in the list of duties and responsibilities you identified:

Deputy Head: Clearly, the deputy head has as major role to play in supporting the head in every aspect of school life and standing in for the head whenever required. Deputy heads are often given responsibility for academic matters, including for example, timetabling, examinations and assessment. However, it is best to work to people’s strengths. It may be that your deputy is better at working with children and supporting them than dealing with the academic side of school life. You may be well versed in the curriculum and strategies for teaching and learning. In which case, you should share out the duties accordingly. However, we must always remember that we must provide opportunities for staff to learn in areas where they are not strong. Appropriate delegation of duties, to give someone experience, is important here. The working relationship between the head and deputy is critical for the success of a school.

Senior Teachers: Your school may not be large enough to have a deputy head. If this is the case, it is essential that you are supported by any senior teachers in the school and that they form part of the Senior Leadership Team. We must remember that the senior teachers are usually the most experienced in the school and they are not given the role purely because of this, through the right of years of service. Their experience must be used effectively and their role clearly identified through a job description. They must have identified tasks to perform which are linked to creating an effective school. You may wish to consider, amongst others, the following:-

§ Monitoring and evaluation
§ Assessment and examinations
§ Curriculum development
§ Pastoral care and pupil welfare
§ Community relations
§ Development of learning and teaching strategies
§ Coaching and mentoring of new staff

Heads of Department or Level Heads: One important area of school management where the head must involve the staff and delegate some authority and responsibilities is the organisation of subject departments or year groups. The head must recommend the appointment of heads of departments from among those staff who show the most initiative, are the most suitably qualified, are hard working and get the best results. Note that in Guyana, promotions are done through the Teaching Service Commission. Short listing is done using criteria, which include appraisal grades and reports received. It is important that you advise the TSC well on the suitability of your teachers for the post. You would do this, of course, on merit and ability rather than years of service. Some heads allow themselves to be influenced by friendships with staff. If the wrong person were chosen for this reason, it would not only be unprofessional but potentially damaging to the children’s performance.

The specific duties of heads of departments and level heads include the effective delivery of the curriculum in their subject area, monitoring performance and involving staff in their departments in the decision-making processes through regular departmental meetings. Other responsibilities are to ensure an adequate supply of relevant text books, learning materials and equipment as well as supervising the work of other teachers.
First and foremost, they must work hard to improve the quality of learning and teaching in their departments or year groups.

Form or class teacher: This position is found mainly in secondary schools where, because each class is taught by a teacher who is a specialist in his or her own field, a form teacher is appointed for each class to look after the welfare and academic progress of the pupils. Form teachers are expected to provide guidance and counselling services to students.

All other teaching and non-teaching staff: These staff do not normally have a post of responsibility over and above their normal teaching or support duties. However, they have a stake in the school and hold valuable opinions. They must be consulted in areas that are relevant to them, listened to and, where appropriate, have a say in the management of the school.

Democratic leadership – we need to express a word of warning here. This form of leadership is one of the styles that we referred to in earlier units. However, schools cannot be wholly democratic institutions. As head, you were appointed to lead. In a democratic society, a school which allows participation in its decision making process by all of its stakeholders, could be considered democratic. However, you, as head, are responsible for all that goes on in the school and, if you feel that a particular decision is not in the best interests of the staff or students, or simply impossible, you must have the final word. You will, of course, be held fully accountable for your decision and you may be criticised for it, but you must stand firm and not go against your own beliefs unless overruled by a higher authority.

Pupil participation in school management
Pupils are in closer touch with each other through peer interaction than staff are with them. No school can succeed without involving pupils in some of the decision-making processes and even in the general management of the school.
Activity 5.2
1) “Should pupils should be involved in the way their school is managed because they demand it, because it is their right and , or because it might beis good for the school.”? Which view doConsider this view and explain whether you support and why:it wholly, partly or not at all. Give your reasons.
2) Identify and describe some of the areas where you think pupil involvement in the management of your school has helped to make it better.
3) Identify threeIdentify some other areas in which you think your pupils could be more actively involved in aspects of school management.
You could find good arguments why all of these statements could be supported. However, in principle, all stakeholders should have a say in the education process and the children are stakeholders. It should be their right and it will be good for the school. It is only likely that they will demand a say in the management if they have been left out. This would have to be Somerectified.

Some of the ways in which pupils are involved in decision-making and the management of the school are through:

pupil monitors
the prefect system
student government or school council
pupil questionnaires
class prefect
The prefect system
The prefect system, which is as old as the formal school system itself, is a potent tool for student participation in school management.

The head may wish to set up a prefects’ council, not only to serve as a link between the pupil body and the school management, but also to perform specific functions. Prefects often assist in the areas of student discipline, conducting assemblies, advising staff on student matters and supervising children when there is no teacher present.

Class prefects or monitors
Class prefects are usually appointed to help the school management set standards of behaviour and supervise children whilst the teacher is not present. They can also perform a variety of tasks from keeping resources in order, organising class teams, collecting and distributing work and books and delivering messages. They are often linked to the school council as the elected members.

Student government
Often called the school council, student government perhaps provides the greatest opportunity for student participation in school management. It generally comprises members elected by the school population at elections held for this purpose. There are many models which can be used for setting up a school council. Generally, pupil representatives are elected from each class and this group forms a body that represents the views of the students to the staff. The council will have a leader (chairperson or president) who will preside over the meetings.

Although the children do not manage the school, it is important that their views are heard. The council needs to be carefully managed because not all of the requests or suggestions of the children can be implemented, often for practical reasons. This could be demotivating and hinder participation if not carefully handled.

Other areas of pupil participation
Pupil participation in decision-making is particularly desirable in the field of extra curricular activities, both sporting and in the organisation of clubs and societies. Although members of staff need to be appointed to serve as leaders of clubs, societies and associations in the school, as far as possible their day-to-day organisation should be left in the hands of the pupils themselves, with their own leaders and officers to liaise with the teachers for guidance.

In summary:

§ Pupils want to be involved because they want to participate in the good management of their school and be a part of its improvement.
§ Pupils need to be involved in order to learn important life-skills of living and participating in their community and larger society.
§ Pupils will learn better to participate in a democratic society.
§ Pupils have to be involved because it releases some of the burden on heads and their staff.

School committees

A system of committees is an important key to participative management. However, they should only be set up as and when needed with a timeframe and clear terms of reference. Unless well managed, they become “talking shops”, do not achieve their aims and serve to frustrate rather than motivate. It is important that the range of committees covers every aspect of school life and that they are led by competent staff. Much time can be lost and participants can be de-motivated through an inefficient system of committees. Refer to Unit 7 in Module 3, Personnel Management.

Planning for school developmentIt is good practice to set up committees that directly relate to the development of the school or planning for improvement. Schools are required to have a school improvement plan (SIP) which identifies areas for improvement and plans for the implementation of strategies for development. Not only can the staff and students play a part in the decision making process for the SIP but also they can assist in monitoring progress and identifying strengths and weaknesses in the system.
Activity 5.3
1) List all the committees in your school.
2) For each committee describe the composition of its membership, its timeframe and terms of reference.and its functions
3) Suggest some three ways in which you think the committee system in your school could be improved.

The day-to day management running of a school, as well as the longer termlonger-term management of change, depends to quite a large extent upon an effective system of committeescommunication, consultation and participation of all of the stakeholders. Pupils as well as teachers should be involved.have the areas listed below catered for in their Student Government, and opportunitiesOpportunities should be created for their participation in the general school committees. for all, who wish to be, to be involved. School committees might include:be set up to deal with, for example, teaching and learning, school development planning, discipline, catering, pupil welfare and extra curricular activities.
Based on your interaction with your school PTA and from your own perception, reflect for a while on the major functions of your PTA and what other things might it be able to do to assist your school.
The need for co-operation between a school and its teachers on the one hand, and homes and parents on the other, cannot be over-emphasised. This co-operation is not only likely to be beneficial to the school, but is also essential to the welfare of pupils. In bringing the home and the school together, the PTA may assist in identifying pupils’ needs and in finding solutions. For example, problems of attendance and early leavers may be shared.

The PTA may provide a forum where the head and the staff may explain school programmes, gain the support of parents, and thus help to ensure their success. Very often the PTA is an important source of financial and material support essential for the development of the school. Similarly, it can be a source of resource persons to help in a wide variety of school projects, from providing a cricket umpire to advice on farming and gardening or from advice on information technology to assisting with children reading.

Of course, in more recent times, the PTA has been more formally involved in school development and representatives are required to form part of a committee to formulate the SIP and approve it. This is called the School Improvement Action Committee (SIAC).
Parents in the school operate individually, collectively and formally. Each of these roles can be quite different. Each can also have a positive or negative impact on the school if not managed properly.

As individuals, parents generally are interested in the welfare and progress of their own children. They want to know that they are happy, safe, cared for, developing normally and improving academically. Their focus is on the child and his / her relationship with the teacher. Their input will normally relate to their own child’s performance. Dealing with parents sympathetically is a skill that all teachers must have, but which does not come naturally to some. Poor relationships with individual parents can damage a pupil’s progress and the image of the school.

Collectively, parents can be a force for good within the school but also, can damage the reputation of the school. Often “school gate” talk can get out of hand and facts are distorted. This is why it is essential to deal with issues as they arise and not allow them to fester. It is important for the head to know what is going on and what is being said about the school. Perhaps this is the reason why PTAs are formed in most schools to ensure that relationships are good and there is a formal way of communicating, consulting and creating parental participation.

As head, you do not run the PTA but generally have an important role to play. The chairperson is usually an elected parent with a teacher as vice chair. Heads are often the unelected president of the organisation. With a strong chairperson, the school can be supported to achieve its mission. Conversely, a dominant parental group can try to take away the power of the head in his / her day-to-day running of the school. As head, you must never allow this to happen. You are responsible and accountable. Although such behaviour is rare, it does happen and you must guard against it. PTAs should operate with a written constitution to sustain the work of those who wish to support the school and curb the excesses of those who may wish to dominate it.

Dealing with parents can often be seen as a political game. Unlike the staff and pupils, you do not have direct control over them and yet the situation has to be managed. It is your job to make sure that the parental body is satisfied with what you are providing for their children, is consulted and listened to.
Activity 5.4
As stated above, it is a requirement that your school has a PTA and that it must be involved in the process of school improvement planning and not just a vehicle to provide funds.

Consider your PTA and identify its strengths and weaknesses.
In this unit, we have identified the main stakeholders within the school – staff, pupils and parents. We have considered the roles of each of them in the participatory management of the school and, in particular, have stressed how important it is that they become involved, are managed by you the head and feel that they have a say in the running of the school.

We have, however, been clear that it is the role of the head to coordinate all of these activities and their effective involvement, whilst at the same time ensuring that, although a democratic approach is appropriate, he / she must have the final word as it is the head who is accountable for all that goes on in the school.

We have considered the role of the student council, school committees and the PTA as examples of a participatory approach in school management.