About School Council

What is a School Council?

  • Is a legally formed body that is given powers to set the key directions of a school
  • Is the major governing body of the school
  • Plays an important role in school accountability and improvement processes
  • Endorses the key school planning, evaluation and reporting documents

Objectives of School Council

  • Assist in the efficient governance of the school
  • Ensure students’ best interests are primary
  • Enhance the educational opportunities for students
  • Ensure compliance with relevant legislation and regulations

What is the function of School Council?

  • Establish the broad direction and vision of the school within the school’s community
  • Participate in the development and monitoring of the school strategic plan
  • Develop, review and update school policies
  • Develop, review and monitor the Student Engagement Policy and the School Dress Code
  • Raise funds for school-related purposes
  • Approve the annual budget and monitor expenditure
  • Maintain the school’s grounds and facilities
  • Enter into contracts (e.g. cleaning, construction work)
  • Report annually to the school community and to DEECD
  • Generally stimulate interest in the school in the wider community

School council does not

  • Manage the school
  • Employ ongoing teaching staff with no fixed date for termination
  • Represent sectional interests
  • Renew the principal’s contract or hire and fire the school principal
  • Determine class allocations
  • Discuss individual issues between teachers and students and/or parents
  • Purchase land or buildings
  • Enter into hire purchase agreements or obtain credit or loan facilities, unless authorised by the Minister

Key partnerships

  • Principal and school council president
  • President and subcommittee convenors
  • Council members
  • Staff and parents and school council
  • School council and DEECD

Who is on school council?

  • There are 3 categories of membership: 
    • Parent members
    • DEECD employee members
    • ommunity (co-opted) members (optional)
  • School councillors are elected for a two-year term
  • Terms, rights and responsibilities of community members are the same as those of elected councillors

School council subcommittees

  • School councillors would normally sit on at least one subcommittee
  • Sub-committees might include:
    • Finance
    • Environment/grounds/facilities/buildings
    • Educational policy
    • Community liaison/community building/community relations
    • Other – e.g. outside school hours care, canteen

What is the role of school council members?

  • All school councillors need to respect other members’ opinions AND support and uphold all council decisions
  • Parent members bring expertise and views to council on behalf of the whole school community
  • DEECD members bring educational expertise and views to council on behalf of the whole school community
  • Community representatives tend to bring individual expertise to assist council in specific decisions

Do I have what it takes to be on school council?

  • You need to be keen, but you don’t need to be an expert
  • You need to like people and be able to work in a team
  • You do need to be prepared to commit the time needed to ensure the work of council gets done
  • School councils work best when they have people from a variety of backgrounds and have different experiences

Why would I want to be on school council?

  • It’s a great way to get involved and have a real say in what your school is doing for its students
  • It’s a very good way to help present and future students of the school
  • Your children may feel a greater sense of belonging with the school

What is the workload?

  • School council must meet at least 8 times in each year, and at least once per school term
  • Meetings should be restricted to approximately 2.5 hours duration at most
  • In many schools, all school councillors are expected to sit on at least one subcommittee
  • Subcommittees generally meet at least twice each term

What about the elections?

  • The principal arranges and conducts the elections
  • These are held in February or March each year
  • If you decide to stand for election, you can arrange for someone to nominate you as a candidate or you can nominate yourself
  • Your nomination form needs to be returned within the time stated on the Notice of Election and Call for Nominations
  • Ballots are only held if more people nominate as candidates than there are positions to fill
  • Make sure you vote and encourage other parents to do the same