All of New Zealand’s state schools have a board of trustees (BOT). The BOT is the Crown entity responsible for the governance and the control of the management of the school, and are accountable for the school’s performance.
The BOT is responsible for determining the strategic direction in which the school is heading (in consultation with parents, staff and students). The board must also ensure that its school provides a safe environment and quality education for all its students. Boards are also responsible for overseeing the management of personnel, curriculum, property, finance and administration.
The Principal is the board’s chief executive in relation to the school’s control and management. The Principal is required to comply with the board’s general policy directions; but has complete discretion to manage the school on a day to day basis.
Who is on the BOT?
At Botany Downs School, our Board is made up of:
- The Principal of the school
- One elected staff representative
- Five parent elected trustees
- Co-opted trustees (as needed)
Trustees are elected by the parent community and staff members. Elections for parent and staff trustees are held every three years (next elections in 2019). A by-election can occur at any stage in the 3 year election cycle if an elected trustee resigns from the board and thereby creates a casual vacancy.
What does the BOT do?
Every Board must prepare and maintain a School Charter. The purpose of a School Charter is to establish the mission, aims, objectives, directions, and targets of the Board in relation to the Government’s national education guidelines (NEGs), national administration guidelines (NAGs) and the Board’s local priorities.
The school board has the overall responsibility for the school, including meeting certain legal obligations, responsibility for property, personnel, financial management, reporting to the Ministry and school community, and meeting national requirements set by the Ministry of Education.
The BOT makes decisions that the Principal and staff then put in place. It must also monitor and report annually on its progress towards those goals.
Boards typically meet once a month between February and December. Meetings are open to the public, however, they are not public meetings where everyone has the right to speak. Speaking rights can be granted in advance by the Board Chair. Sometimes parts of Board meetings are closed to the public when the board is discussing confidential matters. BOT members are also involved in Board sub-committees which meet as required to discuss issues. Recommendations from these meetings are presented to the full board for approval.
Can I get involved?
Standing for the BOT is a great way to get involved in your child’s education. Training and support are available to make carrying out this responsibility easier.
Elections are run every three years and in order to stand for the board you must confirm that to the best of your knowledge you are eligible to be a school trustee. The website of the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) has and excellent website with lots of great information for current or potential trustees. www.nzsta.org.nz
If you are interested in standing for election, a good idea is to talk to a current BOT member. You may also like attend a couple of BOT meetings to get a better idea of what goes on at the meetings and about the responsibility involved.
Current Board members
Vicki Parkins (Principal), Rita Lala (Teacher Representative)
Richard Tosh (Presiding Board Member), Kerry Budd, Matthew Cooke, Dave Johnson, Jess Storey, Irene Liang
Board Meeting Dates
Regular meetings are held in the school board room, and everyone from the BDS community is welcome to attend.
Upcoming meeting dates for 2021-
The School Board is asked regularly by parents about school funding and, in particular, the Parent Donations. Botany Downs Primary School receives its funding from a number of sources. The core funding comes from the Ministry of Education which provides for staff salaries and operational expenditure, and is largely pre–allocated at the start of the year. We also receive regular grants for capital projects such as the recent renovation of Rooms 16–19 and the upcoming canopy areas that will improve all-weather access to outdoor spaces. However, we are always eager to improve the learning experiences for our students and respond to issues that are specific to Botany Downs Primary School which often are not able to be provided through our annual core funding. Much of this is funded through two voluntary donations:
The School Activities Donation: A per annum contribution of $50.00 that goes directly towards educational visits, school performances and activities directly related to core curriculum outcomes. For example: trips to Auckland Museum, facilitating Art Night, and sports buses are all made possible by this donation.
Parent Donation: Every year the School Board asks parents for donations that support a wide range of other support activities that contribute directly to the Botany Downs learning environment. Last year, the Parent Donation funded:
- specialist teachers for Music and Swimming,
- Librarian and teacher aides,
- Enrichment and Intervention programmes,
- Devices for our digital curriculum
- playground equipment and improvements to the school environment.
Funds from Parent Donations are used exclusively by Botany Downs for our own specific needs and unfortunately, without Parent Donations many of these support programmes and initiatives may need to be dropped. It is important to emphasise that these donations are voluntary and the Board recognises that not all families are in a position to contribute, as the current situation continues to impact all of us in different ways. This year the Board has kept our recommended donation at $235 for one student and capped the recommended donation at $470 if you have two or more students at school. Payments can be paid in one lump sum, or spread across the year, and can be paid for through KINDO or by direct debit to our school bank account. It can also be paid to the office by Eftpos or Credit card. Please contact our executive officer email@example.com for further questions about payment. Parent Donations are tax –deductible.