The council or board of a public school works with the school community to achieve the best outcomes for students.
It plays an important role in contributing to good school governance so that school resources are used efficiently and community expectations and the school’s priorities reflect the needs of students.
There are two types of school councils/boards: incorporated1 and unincorporated2. Most schools have an unincorporated council/board. Incorporated councils/boards have higher levels of obligations and additional functions. An unincorporated council/board uses approved terms of reference 3to define its way of working and to meet the requirements of the legislation.
The information pack4 includes advice on the roles and responsibilities of a school council/board, membership, induction and procedures for conducting elections and meetings. An incorporated council/board must have a constitution which defines its rules and way of working. The constitution meets legislative requirements and includes advice on the roles of office bearers, meetings and proceedings, management of finances, disputes and mediation, legal responsibilities, induction and requirement to obtain insurance.
The functions of councils/boards are covered by legislation and include both approval and advisory roles. Some of the matters councils/boards may make decisions on include fees and charges, book lists, sponsorship and dress codes. Councils/boards make these decisions with the principal who ensures the decisions adhere to legislative and policy requirements. Principals also seek the advice of councils/boards so as to understand local community views.
The council/board does not intervene in the control or management of the school. This is the role of the principal.