Pacific parent representation on the board of trustees
What We Have Found
Pacific parent representatives on school boards has increased in the last ten years, but dropped considerably between 2018 and 2019. The number of Pacific parent representatives is very different among school decile and school type.
Date Updated: July 2020
The proportion of schools with proportional Pacific parent representation on the board of trustees as at 1 December.
Why This Is Important
Active participation by Pacific parents in planning, development and delivery of education services will help to ensure that those services are appropriate and effective for Pacific students. Pacific representation on boards of trustees is one key mechanism for participation.
Boards of trustees of state schools must hold elections for parent representatives every three years. A board may also decide to adopt a mid-term election cycle where half of its parent representatives are elected at a mid-term election (18 months after the triennial election) and the remainder are elected at the triennial election.
Triennial elections have been held every three years from 1998. A by-election can occur at any stage in the election cycle if an elected parent representative leaves the board and creates vacancy. Although the major changes in board membership occur in triennial election years, there is still some fluctuation in intervening years due to by-elections and mid-term elections.
How We Are Going
The proportion of schools with proportional Pacific representatives declined by 3.3 percentage point between 2018 and 2019 (Figure 1). Between 2010 and 2019, Pacific parent representatives on the board increased from 33% to 39% in 2019 with highest representation in 2014 (41%), 2017 (42%) and 2018 (43%). The number of Pacific parent representatives in the remaining schools does not reflect proportional representation of Pacific students in these schools.
In 2019, there were 503 schools with sufficient number of Pacific students to expect at least one Pacific parent representative on the school board. This expectation on the school is based both on the number of Pacific students and the number of positions on the board.
Figure 1. The proportion of schools with proportional Pacific representation declined between 2018 and 2019
Demographics, such as family size, may contribute to the under-representation of Pacific parents in the boards. Based on the Population Census 2018, for every 10 school aged Pacific children (5-19 years old) there are 12 Pacific adults aged 25 to 49. In comparison there are 20 adults for every 10 children of the total population.
In 2019, around 33% of Pacific children lived in low income households with less than 60% median household income before housing costs (Child poverty statistics: Year ended June 2019). In comparison 23% of the total children lived in low income households.
In 2019, proportional Pacific representatives was variable amongst deciles (Figure 2). Decile 1 schools had the highest proportion (47%) of proportional Pacific representatives on the board over the national average (36%), while decile 6 schools had the lowest Pacific representation (22%). Decile 10 schools had no representation; however, there were only 4 schools that were expected to have Pacific representatives on the board.
Figure 2. In 2019, proportional Pacific representatives was variable amongst deciles
In 2019, proportional Pacific representatives on the school board was more common in special schools (50%) and secondary schools (48%) than in primary schools (37%) and composite schools (33%) (Figure 3). The proportion of schools with proportional Pacific representation was higher in single sex schools with an average of 50% of 28 from schools; while in co-educational schools was 39% of 475 schools.
Figure 3. Special schools and primary schools had the highest Pacific representation.
- Ministry of Education (2010). Effective governance - working in partnership. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Statistics New Zealand. 2018 Census, Population and migration (Age and sex by ethnic group (grouped total responses), for census usually resident population counts, 2006, 2013 and 2018 Census (RC, TA, SA2, DHB)).
- Statistic New Zealand (2019) Child poverty statistics: Year ended June 2019.
- Special schools are those schools that support high needs students, either in day schools or residential schools across New Zealand.