School Councils comprise parents, the Principal, staff and community members. School council elections are held in February or March each year.
Office bearers are elected at the Annual General Meeting each year.
Characteristics of an effective school council
An effective school council is one that:
• focuses on improving student learning outcomes
• leads school community conversations about key issues and challenges in education
• is actively involved in the development of the school strategic plan
• promotes meaningful parent and community participation and actively seeks the views of its school community
• has a clear understanding of its role and responsibilities
• includes members who represent the diverse views of the school community
• has clear and consistent processes for decision-making
• maintains high ethical standards
• has members who have developed mutual trust and respect for one another
• evaluates and communicates with the school community about its activities.
School council members can support the development of strategic partnerships to help the school achieve the goals set out in the strategic plan; for example, by
discussing opportunities to work with organisations outside of the school.
Role of the Principal
The principal has the overall responsibility for the education provided to the students and for the management of the school within Department guidelines and government policies. The principal leads the development of the broad direction, vision and strategic plan of the school. The school council is actively involved in this process. The principal has a leadership role and a clear set of accountabilities in relation to the operation of the school.
As executive officer of school council, the principal is responsible for:
• providing the school council with timely advice about educational and other matters
• reporting annually to the school council on the school’s performance against its strategic plan
• making sure that whatever council decides is acted upon
• providing adequate support and resources for the conduct of council meetings
• communicating with the school council president about council business
• being an ex-officio member of all school council committees. This means that because of his/her official position, the principal may be a member of all committees.
Role of School Council President
The role of the school council president is to:
• chair school council meetings
• ensure that at meetings everyone has a say and decisions are properly understood and well recorded
• be a signatory to accounts, contracts and the school strategic plan
• ensure council stays focused on improving student learning outcomes
• encourage participation in the work of the council and its sub-committees
• ensure that new council members receive appropriate induction
• act with the principal as the council’s spokesperson and official representative on public occasions.
The school council president may also participate as an ex-officio member of all sub-committees established by school council. This means that because of his/her official position, the school council president is a member of all committees.
A Department employee may not be a school council president. This includes staff members of the school and any parent representatives who work for the Department.
The Student Voice Committee allows groups of students to work towards positive changes while representing the entire student body. Being involved in this program was an exciting way for me to begin my year and has presented me with a variety of learning experiences. The Student Voice selection process enables applicants to gain confidence whilst completing an interview. My participation has benefited my group work and public speaking. I now have the chance to gather feedback from other students and bring forth their opinions to the Student Voice Committee. As a member, I also had the opportunity to become a junior school captain. After putting the speech writing skills I learned in the committee to the test, I was fortunate enough to be elected. I’m proud to be a leader of the junior school and especially pleased to be gaining valuable life skills. Being a leader has made my time at Gleneagles challenging, interesting and rewarding.