Sheard, Mary and Avis, James (2011) Schools, Governance and Community: A Next Practice Intervention. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 39 (1). pp. 84-104. ISSN 1741-1432

The article analyses an innovative scheme for the re-organization of school governance that sought to enhance the voice of community members and contribute towards the improvement of educational achievement. The scheme was located in the north of England, a region characterized by high levels of social disadvantage and low participation rates in higher education. The research adopted a case study methodology informed by observation, minutes of governors’ meetings, training workshops, conferences, face-to-face interviews, online surveys and local authority (LA) documentation. The fieldwork was conducted in 2007—2008. The findings suggest that although aspects of community engagement are present they are inhibited by a number of factors operating at the strategic level in LA policy. This results in an aspirational model of school governance that reflects traditional practices in which the LA intercedes as the indispensable broker and external agent for innovation and change. In order to move away from the restrictions of this approach the LA needs to expand its strategies to involve members of the community in governance and develop mechanisms to devolve greater decision-making power to the community.

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