chapter  10
17 Pages

Gendered governance

Education reform and lay involvement in the local management of schools
WithRosemary Deem

In this chapter I want to examine some ways in which gender may be relevant to an understanding of the processes and organisational cultures arising from recent changes to the composition of and responsibilities attached to the governance of state maintained schools in England. By governance, I mean the practice of bringing together lay people, whether they are parents, politicians, business people or community activists, as members of formally constituted bodies which have responsibility for overseeing the administration and broad strategic direction of individual schools. Though the composition and responsibilities of governing bodies vary considerably, lay school governance is a feature of educational systems in many countries (Deem 1994a). This chapter concentrates on processes and cultures of reformed governance in England and it is not assumed that the issues raised here necessarily take the same form in the rest of the UK (Deem 1996). Indeed, there are considerable cultural, political and economic differences between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, as well as variations in the kinds of educational reforms which have occurred (Arnot et al. 1996; Brown 1996; McKeown et al. 1996). However, to the extent that the research reported here analyses features of processes and cultures of school governance and raises wider issues about citizenship and participation in public life, there is no reason to assume that those concerns are irrelevant to governance of schools in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.