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 centrally provided guidelines. In doing this, a school council is able to directly influence the quality of education that the school provides for its students.
Who is on the school council?
There are three possible categories of membership :
- A mandated elected DEECD 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. Mentone Girls’ Secondary College has four DEECD members.
- A mandated elected Parent Category. More than one third of the total members must be from this category. Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) employees can be Parent members at their child’s school as long as they are not employed at the school. Our council has eight parent members.
- An optional Community member category. Its members are appointed by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or experiences. DEECD employees are not eligible to be Community members.
Student leaders also attend most council meetings.
The term of office for all members is two years. Half the members must retire each year, creating vacancies for the annual school council elections. A vacancy created by people leaving may occasion a one year co-opted term.
Why is parent membership so important?
Parents on school councils provide important viewpoints and have valuable skills that can help shape the direction of the school.Those parents who become active on a school council find their involvement satisfying in itself and may also find that their children feel a greater sense of belonging.