Effective governance of kura
 and schools is critical to improving the quality of educational outcomes for students.
The context for Māori-medium kura governance is unique and provides opportunity for whānau,
 hapū and iwi to actively contribute to the strategic development of their kura. Consequently, most kura adopt a collective, whānau-driven approach to governance. This reflects their expectation of high levels of participation and involvement by whānau across the range of activities in kura, including kura governance.
This report presents findings from ERO’s review of the relevance and usefulness of governance training for boards of trustees and whānau members in kura. The total number of Māori-medium kura is small (around 90) and comprises approximately 3.5% of all schools in New Zealand. The findings of this report are from an evaluation of nine kura which were reviewed in late 2009 and early 2010.
ERO found the training used by boards and whānau was effective in just over half the kura in this review. In most of the kura, training had a significant impact on their governance practice. Decisions about training were influenced by the collective training needs of the board and whānau, the cost and time required to participate in training, and the availability of members to attend training.
Three key factors were typically associated with significant improvements to governance practice as a result of training undertaken by boards and whānau. These were:
- purposeful and relevant governance training that responded directly to the identified needs and priorities of their kura
- a focus on enhancing student achievement and success through improving the governance capacity and capability of boards and whānau
- recognition of succession planning to support kura in developing and sustaining effective governance practices.
ERO identified significant improvements in governance practices which boards and whānau attributed to the training undertaken. Boards and whānau members had increased their capacity and confidence to manage their governance roles and responsibilities. This confidence led to deliberate and informed improvements to governance practice and more effective use of resources in line with the priorities and needs of the kura.
The relatively small roll size of most kura means it is important that boards and whānau are proactive in establishing a strong foundation for governance. This can involve encouraging more whānau members to have ongoing involvement in governance activities and continuing to promote whānau involvement and participation in the kura.
Kura with robust self-review processes are more able to identify and prioritise training needs for individual and groups of trustees and whānau members that will improve outcomes for students. Their decisions about training are often linked to the strategic priorities of the kura. A well planned approach to achieve specific outcomes and address any areas of internal capability for governance was evident in kura with effective self review. These boards and whānau also allowed time for discussions to reflect on the outcomes of the training and identify how their governance practice could be improved as a result of the training.
The inherent differences between governance in kura and mainstream schools highlight the importance of training that supports the context in which boards and whānau operate. The best training for boards and whānau is designed specifically to reflect the models of governance in kura, rather than training adapted from systems and practices used in mainstream schools.