Local school governance and school leadership: practices, processes and pillars

Gareth Leechman, Norman McCulla*, Laurie Field

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the processes and relationships between school councils and school leadership teams in the local governance of 18 independent, faith-based schools in New South Wales, Australia. Design/methodology/approach: A three-phase, mixed-method research design was used incorporating development of a conceptual framework for local school governance drawn from current literature, face-to face interviews with chairs of school councils and principals, and a subsequent survey of school council members and within-school leadership teams. Findings: Noting a lack of research into the practices and processes of school council operations and their interface with school leadership, the study identified five key areas that were seen to be foundational to the effectiveness of local governance. Research limitations/implications: The study contributes an Australian perspective to an international need to better understand local governance arrangements in school leadership and management. Practical implications: At a practical level, the study provides valuable insights to principals, and to those aspiring to the role, on the nature of the relationship between the school council and school leadership teams. Social implications: The study responds to a marked increase internationally in local governance arrangements for schools by way of school councils or boards. Originality/value: A review of literature reveals that, somewhat surprisingly, there has been relatively little research undertaken in this key area of leading and managing schools.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1641-1652
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Educational Management
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019


    • school leadership
    • school governance
    • local school management
    • school councils


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