The participation of volunteer citizens in school governance

Stewart Ranson, Margaret Arnott, Penny McKeown, Jane Martin, Penny Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


This study of school governors across the UK has suggested that while school governors and school boards had adopted (modernizing) perspectives of monitoring schools to improve performance they have nevertheless developed conceptions of governance which are independent of 'the state' and reflect local cultural traditions of governing education. In this sense governors have become active citizens. Our concluding analysis, however, proposes that school governance in many respects remains significantly unrepresentative of some of its significant parent constituencies. As such citizen participation in school governance has yet to be realized in many communities. The cultural traditions of education across the UK have all tended to reproduce the tradition of the school as a space of professional regulation. This study of school governance and school boards concludes that although participation has developed to strengthen institutions in the official world of the public sphere, it remains incomplete. Arguably, schools will not become effective learning communities until they become truly cosmopolitan learning communities, and they will only realize that vision when democratic governance is strengthened at the level of school and community as well as the local authority.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Review
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005


  • school governance
  • volunteer citizens
  • education


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