Succession Planning

Succession planning helps to ensure that boards are prepared for board members to come and go from the board.

The key parts of succession planning are:

  • Readiness
  • Recruitment
  • Retention


Boards should ensure they have up-to-date documentation in place to allow new board members (whether they be elected, selected, co-opted or appointed) to understand what is required of them to effectively govern their school. Keep the following information in a folder to provide to new board members:

  • information about the board and school staff:
    • the board member register
    • schedule of delegations, including any committees
    • school staff organisation chart
  • board policies and plans
    • code of behaviour policy
    • board roles and responsibilities policy
    • the board’s work plan
    • charter/strategic plan
    • annual implementation plans
    • latest annual report, including analysis of variance
  • board meeting information
    • a schedule of upcoming board meetings
    • minutes of the last three open board meetings
    • principal’s reports to the last three open board meetings – including supporting documents
  • current school status information
    • last three finance reports to the board
    • last three property reports to the board
    • the latest ERO review report
    • details of any current Ministry of Education interventions/support at governance level
    • current budget


Recruitment is an ongoing activity. Even outside of an election year, boards can promote their work to their school community. The more people see and understand the board's contribution to the school, the more likely they will be to put themselves forward for election, or agree to being co-opted or appointed.

Boards should:

  • regularly look for opportunities to engage with their school community
  • have up-to-date information on the school website. This should include:
    • who the board members are
    • how to contact the board
    • the board’s charter / strategic plan and annual plan
    • the board’s last annual report (publishing this on the school’s website is a legal requirement)
    • the board’s policies
    • minutes of previous open meetings
  • provide information to aspiring board members about the role of the board and the relevant skills, experience and behaviour required of school board members.

There is information to help with recruitment in the following sections of our website:

  • Becoming a Board Member – targets aspiring school board members who want to find out more information
  • Promotional material –resources such as posters, flyers and digital images to help promote school board elections.


Board members who are supported are more likely to stay on a board. Boards can support members by providing a well-thought out induction programme for new board members, encouraging positive board relationships and valuing the work of the board.

Induction programme

All new board members, whether elected, appointed or co-opted, should be taken through an induction programme.

This could include:

Welcome letter

The presiding member (chair) sends a letter of welcome to each new board member:

  • congratulating them on the election result, and
  • inviting them to an induction session prior to their first formal board meeting

Information Folder

The board secretary provides a folder of board information. This folder should include the items described in the Readiness section of this webpage

Induction session

This is run by the presiding member and the principal:

  • take them on a tour of the school
  • take them through the resources provided in the board member folder to ensure they understand the information
  • ensure they understand the requirements of the presiding member role
  • have them sign and agree to work within the code of behaviour
  • the presiding member checks they have completed Appendix 2 so that NZSTA is able to offer them advisory and professional development services
  • the presiding member encourages the new board members to attend NZSTA professional development workshops and have a look at the online learning opportunities on NZSTA Learning Centre.


Positive board relationships

Here are some ways the board can encourage positive relationships and work well as a team:

  • elect an effective presiding member
  • all board members follow the code of behaviour policy
  • make sure there is a planned induction programme
  • encourage all board members to participate in online and face-to-face learning opportunities provided by NZSTA
  • evaluate each board meeting
  • build relationships between board members
  • review board performance
    • ensure there is a review programme in place
    • implement the review programme
    • seek advice and professional development opportunities from NZSTA


More information

For a free sample governance framework, see NZSTA’s Governance Framework 2018

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