School governors from business and industry : an analysis of their purposes and functions in the governance and management of schools
The theme of this thesis is the involvement of employees from business/industry in the governance of state schools in England and Wales. Following a conceptual analysis and the identification of imprecision in the relevant legislation, the research was designed in two phases. The Phase 1 survey examined the extent of that involvement in 1994 and built up a profile of employee-governors, including their personal and company characteristics. A questionnaire was used to gather descriptive and enumerative data from the school governors employed by twelve national companies, with further qualitative data amassed through some open questions on the questionnaire a,!d from semi-structured interviews of company managers. From 1995 to 1997, Phase 2 assessed the purposes, functions and skills of governors from this sector, through a quasi-experimental design which gathered pre-test and post-test data from thirty-five co-opted business/industrial governors, their headteachers and their chairs of governors. A Likert-type scaling instrument and focus group discussions were used. The main findings from the 1994 survey were that there were few governors from business and industry and even fewer were in governance to represent that sector of the community; most were parent governors. These governors and their company managers felt, however, that there were appreciable benefits to be gained from company employees being school governors. Phase 2 showed that the sample of specifically co-opted business/industrial governors adopted the distinctive purposes of objectivity and non-executive judgement, and brought generic management skills to governance through their company experience at a strategic level. These skills were especially appreciated in inner city schools. The research was the first study of governors from across business and industry and advanced the first model of practice related to purpose for governors from this sector of the community. Aspects of this model have been used to inform the Labour Government's policy for recruiting business/industrial governors for inner city schools.