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Goverance vs Management

What is the Board's role?
The Board provides governance, guidance and a strategic framework for the school which allows the teaching and managerial staff to focus on their roles.  The Board’s role is to oversee the school, making sure it has a clear strategic direction, lives up to its values and remains viable for the future.  Board oversight covers all key aspects of the school's operation, from the financial and risk management to amenities development and key recruitment decisions.  It is important to stress that the Board's role is a governance role.  Governance is about vision and organisational direction as opposed to day-to-day management and implementation of policy and programs.

Why do we need the Board if we have a Principal?
Every school has a board of trustees to provide governance.  It is the same with most commercial organisations, too, whereby the management reports to a board which represents the interests of the shareholders.  In the case of Cathedral Grammar, the shareholder is, in effect, the Anglican Church, via the Chapter.  As noted above, the role of the Board is different from the role of the Principal.  The Board is also responsible for monitoring the performance of the Principal.

What's the difference between the Board's role and the Principal’s role?
Again, you can liken it to the difference between a board of a company and that of the chief executive.  The Principal reports to the Board on all aspects of the school's activities and performance, and in return takes guidance and direction from the Board on strategic and financial matters.  The Board avoids getting involved in day-to-day teaching, curriculum and administrative matters, unless they have broader significance for the running of the school and its future policy setting.  The Principal’s role is to communicate expectations – mission, strategy, policies – to staff and the School community, and to manage day-to-day operations and program implementation to fulfil these expectations.  The Principal will ensure that the guidance from the Board in terms of vision and direction is translated into operational practice.  As the person in the role of a chief executive, the Principal also provides advice to the Board to assist it in its deliberations and decision making.

How are the Board members chosen?
The boards of independent schools are typically appointed rather than elected.  They tend to operate in a way that is different to the elected boards of state schools and more like a typical corporate board.  When a vacancy arises or there is a need for a particular new skill-set, names are proposed and vetted by the Board.  It is key that there is diversity of skills and perspectives represented on the Board and we are fortunate to have a strong and balanced team at Cathedral Grammar.  All Board members are appointed to the Board by the Chapter for a three year term which may be renewed on expiry.  The Board includes a number of members who are parents, some of whom have been appointed through a nomination process that is run by the Friends Association.  This is an important way for the Board to ensure that the perspective of parents is reflected in board decision making.  However, once appointed, all board members are there to act in the best interests of the school, balancing a number of factors in decision making.  Parents are not appointed to the Board simply to act as the representative of a particular group.

Are the Board members paid? Do they receive a discount on their school fees?
It is entirely voluntary and there is no subsidisation of fees.

Why don't we see more of the Board?
The Board is not intended to be a public facing body.  It is important that the Board allows the Principal to be the public face of the school and that he be allowed to get on with running the school.  In fact, there is often a direct correlation between how well or poorly an organisation is being run, and how much you hear publicly from the board. In a well-run organisation, as we believe Cathedral Grammar to be, there is little need for the Board to play a public role.

Who should I contact if I have a question about how the school is being run?
Any enquiries, suggestions, complaints or discussions regarding the operation of the School should be directed to the Principal in the first instance.  The Principal will elevate to the Board any matters that need to be considered at a governance level.  If you have questions or comments regarding the School’s strategic position or long term vision or which relates directly to the relationship between the School and the Chapter then those issues should be directed to the Board Chair.

Mr Hans van Schreven                  Mr Scott Thelning
Acting Board Chair                         Prin