The compelling case for consultative decision-making
Including parents and the community in school decision-making is critical to effective parent and community engagement. Providing opportunities for relevant consultation ensures decisions reflect local needs - whether for an individual student or the school as a whole. Greater community ownership and trust of school directions and decisions can be developed through open and authentic consultation. To implement changes successfully it is essential that all stakeholders have the opportunity to share in decisions about why changes are needed and how they are to be made (Kotter, 2002, p. 3; Moore, 1995, pp. 48-50).
Research has found that changes which have involved or been led by parents and community members have resulted in significant achievements (Harris et al., 2009).
DeLaney (1997) has found that parent involvement in school decision-making must result in an overall satisfying experience or schools risk alienating the public and undermining their ongoing support for change.
The role of parents and community - Dr Carmen Mills
Dr Carmen Mills (University of Queensland) discusses the importance of parents having meaningful roles in school planning, decision-making and delivery (FLV, 3:55mins). Click through to YouTube to learn more about the role of parents and community.
Guiding questions on consultative decision-making
- How does the school offer parents and students a voice in decisions about the direction of the school?
- How can schools ensure that consultation is genuine and encourages open and honest dialogues?
- How can parents be supported so they feel able and willing to participate effectively in consultation and decision-making?
- What steps can be taken to ensure the community is consulted on formal and informal decision-making, school reviews and new policies?
- How can the school sharpen the focus of collaborative decision-making onto student learning (e.g. curriculum, pedagogy, effective learning partnerships) while still providing appropriate parent and community input into decisions about day-to-day school operations (parking, uniforms, fund-raising)?
- Has the school considered how it will consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups?