The current legislative framework for schooling in South Africa gives significant responsibilities and powers to the elected Governing Bodies of Public Schools. These responsibilities increase greatly as schools move towards Section 21 status. Governing Bodies are discovering, and are having to deal with, the full implications of the responsibilities which they have assumed – financial, legal, HR -related, disciplinary and educational.

Increasingly Governing Bodies are finding that they require the support of an organization which focuses on these responsibilities and which is able to provide both assistance and advice. The South African Schools Act makes provision in Sections 20(3) for Governing Bodies of public schools to join a voluntary association representing governing bodies of public schools for this purpose.

The Governing Body Foundation (GBF) is such a voluntary association. It was officially constituted in 1997 and after acting informally in the interests of public schools in the Western Cape for a number of years, has expanded into a national organisation of considerable note. In July 2004 the National Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor, indicated that she had been assured by her officials that the organization “has the necessary profile and membership base to meet the minimum requirements for recognition in the National Consultative Forum”.

The Foundation therefore plays an important role in the consultative process between the national Department of Basic Education and School Governing Body Associations, providing significant and meaningful service to its member schools.