What is a school council and what does it do?
All government schools in Victoria have a school council. They are legally constituted bodies that are given powers to set the key directions of a school within statewide guidelines. In doing this, a school council is able to directly influence the quality of education that the school provides for its students. Generally, the term of office for all members is two years.
Who is on the school council?
For most school councils, there are three possible categories of membership:
A mandated elected Parent category – more than one-third of the total members must be from this category.
A mandated elected DET employee category – members of this category may make up no more than one-third of the total membership of school council. The principal of the school is automatically one of these members.
An optional Community member category – members are co-opted by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or experiences. DET employees are not eligible to be Community members.
What is the role of the school council president?
The role of the school council president is to:
effectively chair school council meetings (ensure that everyone has a say in meetings and that decisions are properly understood and well-recorded)
be a signatory to contracts, the school strategic plan and financial accounts
together with the school council, endorse the school self-evaluation, terms of reference for school review, the school annual implementation plan and school annual report to the school community
attest to school compliance with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority registration requirements
preside at the annual public reporting meeting
ensure council stays focused on improving student outcomes
with the principal, be council’s spokesperson and official representative on public occasions
when votes are tied, have a second or casting vote.
At times of principal recruitment and selection, the president or his or her nominee is a member of the principal selection panel appointed by the school council.
What is the function of a school council?
The functions of a school council are specified in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and include:
establishing the broad direction and vision of the school within the school’s community
participating in the development and monitoring of the school strategic plan
approving the annual budget and monitoring expenditure
developing, reviewing and updating school policies
raising funds for school-related purposes
maintaining the school’s grounds and buildings
entering into contracts (such as for cleaning or construction work)
reporting annually to the school community and to the Department
creating interest in the school in the wider community
informing itself of and taking into account the views of the community
regulating and facilitating the after hours use of school premises and grounds