Schools, governance and community: A next practice intervention

Mary Sheard, James Avis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-104
Number of pages21
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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