The biggest impact that school governing bodies (SGBs) could probably have on school governance is by the appointment of quality additional educators and non-educators at the school. The South African Schools Act (SASA) provides, in section 20, for a public school to establish and employ staff in such positions. The school, as juristic person, becomes the employer and not the SGB which only acts as the agent on behalf of the school. Through this qualitative study I aimed to explore the expectations of parent members of different school SGBs regarding the appointment of staff members that are additional to the post establishment in public schools. By making use of semi-structured interviews, document analysis and a literature review I wanted to contribute to a more profound understanding of parents’ expectations of their roles in SGBs and as to what they want to achieve through being involved in SGBs. Through this I hope to improve relationships between parent members, educator members of SGBs and the principal.
I determined that all parent members of SGBs are directed by bona fide intentions in that they think that they can make the greatest contribution to the learning and teaching culture of the school through the appointment of additional staff in order to have a better learner to teacher ratio in the classroom and in so doing improve the quality of teaching and learning at the school. I also determined that the parents’ expectations do not differ from one type of school to another and that all parents, irrespective of race, gender, language or culture basically have the same expectations. I discovered that schools increasingly appoint retired staff in SGB posts in order to keep their expertise at the school. Schools also appoint student teachers in posts to assist teachers at the school. This is a huge advantage to education in that they are trained in their profession at no additional cost to the government.
By taking the financial position and the curriculum requirements at the school into account parent members of SGBs see it their primary duty to make sufficient finances available to enable schools to appoint additional staff. This practice is perhaps the only way to ensure quality education to all learners. The lack of financial capabilities at most schools makes the correct use of this function unavailable to them.