The 4 Most Important School Government Functions

The Functions of school government Can be summarized in the good management of institutions to generate quality education. Schools are especially important centers because they educate and forge the future of a nation.

The school government refers to a set of obligations, practices, policies and procedures that an educational institution makes to ensure effective management of the same, the fulfillment of its objectives and the appropriate use of available resources.

Many of the functions of a school government represented in this isometric graph

In the 1990s, the concept of"government"in the educational field was introduced, to refer to the positive changes that were taking place in the educational systems of countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland in school reforms.

This conception proposed in 1990 emphasized an important aspect of school governments: the presence not of one, but of multiple actors capable of changing and innovating the educational system.

In this sense, teachers and members of the boards of directors are responsible for proposing ideas that will then translate into concrete actions. For their part, students must accept these new proposals and include them in their pattern of behavior; In this process of assimilation, students can be supported by their parents.

Likewise, other organizations associated with the educational institution, such as publishing houses and governmental entities, could cooperate with the fulfillment of the objectives of this one. Thus, it is observed that many actors can intervene in a school government.

It is important to emphasize that, for the construction of a school government, it is not enough the intervention of the actors, it is also necessary that the actions of these are coordinated; This means that school government, like any other government, requires the existence of a leader that regulates the behavior of the parties involved in the system.

Because a school's success depends on how it is managed, a government made up of proactive, educated members who are capable of recognizing failures in education systems and of challenging one another is necessary. Which are willing to cooperate with each other.

Functions of school government

The functions of school government can be divided into:

  1. Strategic planning.
  2. Creation of participatory organizations.
  3. Promotion of meetings to discuss issues relevant to the institution.
  4. Resource management and accounting.
  5. Development of school policies.

Strategic planning

One of the most fundamental elements of any institution is the development of a strategic plan, which will allow the institution to be successful.

For this, the government must have a strategic thinking that allows it to know the needs of the institution, as well as what it wants to achieve. Once these two points are known, we proceed to strategic planning, which consists of the development of schedules to meet the needs and achieve the desired goals.

Strategic planning is not an event that occurs once every so often, but must be an ongoing process.

Creating participatory organizations

A primary function of school governments is to ensure the creation of organizations that allow the integration of all members of the educational community: teachers, teachers, students and representatives.

In addition, these organizations distribute the responsibilities of school government among all participating parties.

Some of these organizations are:

  1. Boards of Directors.
  2. Committees of educational council.
  3. Secretary.
  4. Parent associations and representatives.
  5. Clubs for students, such as reading, chess or singing clubs.

Promotion of meetings to discuss issues relevant to the institution

It is the duty of the school government to promote meetings with those that support economic benefits to the educational institution, such as investors, representatives of competent authorities, such as the Ministry of Education.

Similarly, school governance must ensure that meetings are held between teachers and representatives to inform students about student performance.

Resource management and accounting

Resource management involves:

  1. Obtain resources for the educational institution through government support and the participation of partners, investors or other interested parties to benefit financially the institution. In addition, it is the responsibility of the school government to carry out activities that could generate income for the institution.
  2. To keep the accounting of the resources generated (separating them in resources obtained through donations and resources provided by the government). Include in this accounting record how much of these resources is used for educational purposes.
  3. Use these resources to maintain the educational facilities, as well as to provide the institution with basic services.
  4. Make inventories of the institution's furniture.

Development of school policies

  1. Create a code of conduct that regulates the behavior of all members of the educational community.
  2. Ensure that this set of rules is fulfilled.
  3. Properly penalize members who violate these rules.
  4. Fulfilling these functions will make school governance efficient. In this regard, Ranson, Farrell, Penn, and Smith (2005, quoted by Cathy Wylie), point out that good school governance includes:
  • The assessment of the figure of the government leader (who could be represented by a board of directors).
  • Representation of all parties involved, including students and parents.
  • The mutual support of the members of the government.
  • Organizations in charge of supervising the fulfillment of the functions of the parties involved in the government.
  • Figures that represent the ethical and moral values ​​of the institution.
  • Active participation of government leaders in school activities.
  • Stable relationships between the educational institution and the community to which it belongs.

Similarly, school governance must be based on ethical and moral values. To begin, this must be the first responsible.

School government is not only responsible for sustaining the educational process of the institution and funding the resources it receives, but also responsible for the impact that institution has on the community to which it belongs.

Similarly, school governance must be based on the principle of control of the parties; Through this principle, a formal relationship is established between two or more members of the government, one of which has authority over the others and may require a recount of the decisions taken to evaluate their performance.

However, for school government to be effective, the control of the parties must be reciprocal, for example, teachers must respond to representatives, since they are educating their children; Similarly, representatives must respond to teachers, ensuring that their constituencies meet assignments, arrive on time, and other things.

Benefits of Effective School Governments

Several authors have theorized about the benefits of school governments. Earley and Creese (quoted by Cathy Wylie) point out that it is possible for a school to be successful despite having inefficient school governance but this makes us wonder"how would the success of this school be enhanced if it had organized and productive?".

Some of these benefits could be:

  1. The improvement of the figure of the leader of government and, in this way, could also increase the quality of the strategic vision of the government.
  2. The implementation of efficient mechanisms to monitor the progress of the objectives proposed by the government and to anticipate possible risks.
  3. A study by Cathy Wylie (2006) in New Zealand showed that efficient school governance translated into countless benefits for the educational institution, highlighting:
  • The creation of qualified committees that allow establishing relationships between members of the educational community, while ensuring teamwork and the correct fulfillment of the functions of each member.
  • Stability in the educational system. Members of institutions with efficient education systems tend to be more committed and less likely to drop their positions.

This same study showed that the reasons why some school governments fail are:

  • Presence of management staff not fit for work.
  • Lack of commitment of the members to the educational institution.
  • Unstable relations with competent government bodies.

On the other hand, research by Bath University in 2008 noted that school governments are inefficient because:

  1. They are overloaded. Some governments fail to meet targets because they do not delegate responsibility; This means that they lack organizations and committees.
  2. They overcomplicate. The work of a school government becomes more complex when there is no strategic planning that offers directives for the execution of the activities in the educational institution.
  3. They are not appreciated. In some cases, the failure of the school government is due to the lack of cooperation on the part of the competent governmental entities and, in some cases, on the part of the same members of the educative community.

Influence of school governance on student performance

Up to now, no studies have been conducted that yield conclusive results on the influence of school government on the performance of students in an educational institution.

Rentoul and Rosanowski (2000, quoted by Cathy Wylie) conducted a study to determine the effects of different school governments on the quality of school outcomes; The authors concluded that there was insufficient evidence to allow a direct relationship between governments and the performance of educational institutions.

Subsequently, Leithwood, Day, Sammons, Harris, and Hopkins (2006, quoted by Cathy Wylie) conducted a study that sought to establish the impact of the presence of leaders on student performance.

This study showed that the leader figure positively affected the quality of the learning process of the students, thus improving the quality of the school.

Robinson, Hohepay and Lloyd, in their study titled Best Evidence Synthesis on educational leadership - schooling (Cited by Cathy Wylie), focus on the quality of leaders and school performance.

The authors concluded that school governance leaders should be competent in the following aspects: setting goals and objectives, strategic research, planning, coordination and improvement of the educational curriculum, active participation in the teachers' learning process, control of progress Of the students and promotion of an organized environment that favors the communicative process.

However, these three studies do not demonstrate that there is a direct relationship between school governance and student performance.

In any case, it is only proved that the government can promote better conditions for the educational institution that, although they do not negatively affect the learning process, could not affect it at all; This is because teaching-learning also depends on other aspects, such as the ability of students to engage.

In spite of this, it can be said that school government contributes directly to the good development of the school and indirectly affects all members of the educational community (since it provides for the active participation of these).


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  2. Theory and Evidence on Governance: conceptual and empirical strategies of research on governance in education (2009). Retrieved on March 4, 2017, from
  3. Public School Governance. Retrieved on March 4, 2017, from
  4. Governance in Public Schools A GUIDE TO THE APPLICATION OF THE KING PRINCIPLES IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS © (2015). Retrieved on March 4, 2017, from
  5. Cathy Wylie (2007). School governance in New Zealand - how is it working? Retrieved on March 4, 2017, from
  6. The School Governance Study (2014). Retrieved on March 4, 2017, from
  7. Hoffman, Hoffman and Guldemond (2002) School governance, culture, and student achievement. Retrieved on March 4, 2017, from

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