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 broad direction of a school, in accordance with Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils, and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. In doing this, a school council may directly influence the quality of education for students.
Who is on the school council?
There are four possible categories of membership:
A mandated elected Parent member category— more than one-third of the total members must be from this category. Department of Education & Training (DET) employees can be parent members at their child’s school providing that they are not engaged in work at the school.
A mandated elected school employee member category— members of this category make up no more than one-third of membership. The principal of the school is automatically one of these members.
A mandated elected Student member category– all schools with year 7 students and above have a mandated student member category (2 positions). Students in year 7 and above enrolled at the school are eligible to nominate for membership.
An optional Community member category— members are co-opted by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or experience. Department employees are not eligible to be community members.
Generally, the term of office for all members is two years. The term of office of half the members expires each year, creating vacancies for the annual school council elections.
Why is parent membership so important?
Parents on school councils provide important viewpoints and have valuable skills and a range of experiences and knowledge that can help inform and shape the direction of the school.
Those parents who become active on a school council find their involvement satisfying and may also find that their children feel a greater sense of belonging.
Do I need special experience to be on school council?
Each member brings their own valuable skills and knowledge to the role, however, in order to successfully perform their duties, councillors may need to gain some new skills and knowledge.
It is important to have an interest in your child’s school and the desire to work in partnership with others to help shape the school’s future.
How can you become involved?
By participating in, and voting in the school council elections, which are held in Term 1 each year. However, ballots are only held if more people nominate as candidates than there are positions vacant.
In view of this, you might consider:
- standing for election as a member of the school council
- encouraging another person to stand for election.
Ask at the school for help if you would like to stand for election and are not sure what to do
Consider standing for election to council this year
Be sure to vote in the elections.