So, if it is a given that the Head must be accountable for her or his actions to the Board, then to whom is the Board accountable when it messes up? It is important to remember that any Board governs on behalf of someone else, in trust.
Regardless of the model, the key issues remain - how do stakeholders hold the Board to account to ensure that the school is delivering on its Mission? And how does any Board guarantee (even to itself) that it is a high performer?
The Globe and Mail Report on Business publishes annual governance rankings for the corporate sector. As part of this analysis, a major area of assessment is: stakeholder rights. They say that top functioning Boards are those that are accountable to their stakeholders. To ensure this they: face their stakeholders each year; have Directors that stand for election annually rather than serve staggered or open-ended terms; and publish all relevant performance information and audited financial statements. If all independent schools were to follow this benchmark for good governance it would mean that: Boards would face their stakeholders annually; Board membership would be for fixed terms (i.e. three years with one renewal); that candidacy for Board membership would be an open transparent process; Boards/schools would publish annual reports (programme, finance, etc.); and, that Boards would assess their own performance based upon clearly measurable performance metrics.