Summary – 2023 Nominations Now Open!
All government schools in Victoria have a School Council. They are legally formed bodies that are given the authority 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/college provides for its students.
- School councils play a vital role in Victorian government schools and are established and operate under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic), the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic) and a constituting Order.
- Understanding their legislated powers and functions, as well as the functional split between the school council and the principal is critical for the effective functioning of the school council.
- The powers and functions specific to each school council are set out in their constituting Order.
- School councils are also required to comply with state and federal laws, relevant Ministerial Orders and certain Department policies when exercising their powers and functions.
A school council’s constituting Order constitutes the school council as a body corporate and specifies the council’s powers, functions and objectives. Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils 2020
Who is on the Council?
The term of office for members is two years. Half the members are required to retire each year and this creates vacancies for the annual College Council elections. The next scheduled College Council elections at Craigieburn P-12 Complex will occur in March. There are three categories of membership:
More than one third of the total members must be from this category. Department of Education and Training (DET) employees can also be parent members at their child’s school/college. There are six parent members at Craigieburn P-12 Complex.
DET employee category:
Members of this category may make up no more than one third of the total membership of the College Council. The Principal of the College is one of these members, along with four other staff members.
Community member category:
Persons 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. We currently have two members in this category.
When does School Council Meet?
The College Council meets on the third Tuesday of each month between 6:00 pm and 8:00pm in the College’s administration building. Council members also attend sub-committee meetings.
Why is parent membership so important?
Parents elected to the Craigieburn P-12 Complex Council provide important viewpoints and may have valuable skills that can help shape the direction of the College. Parents need an interest in their child’s education and the desire to work in partnership with others to help shape the College’s future.
Information on the role and responsibilities of the various school council officer bearers (such as the principal as Executive Officer and the school council president) is available on School Councils – Composition and Officer Bearers.
School council functions, powers and objectives
School council functions, powers and objectives are set out in various instruments, including the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017, Ministerial Orders and the school council’s own constituting Order.
The following information sets out the various functions, powers and objectives prescribed in the Education and Training Reform Act and the Education and Training Reform Regulations.
Functions of school council
The key functions of school council with regard to the school are:
- to establish the broad direction and vision of the school within the school’s community
- to arrange for the supply of:
- other things or matters required for the conduct of the school, including the provision of preschool programs
- to raise funds for school related purposes
- to regulate and facilitate the after-hours use of the school premises and grounds
- to exercise a general oversight of the school buildings and grounds and ensure they are kept in good order and condition
- to provide for the cleaning and sanitary services that are necessary for the school
- to ensure that all money coming into the hands of the council is expended for proper purposes relating to the school
- to provide meals and refreshments for the staff and students of the school and make charges for those meals or refreshments
- to inform itself and take into account any views of the school community for the purpose of making decisions in regard to the school and the students at the school
- to generally stimulate interest in the school in the wider community
- to prepare the School Strategic Plan and review the Annual Implementation Plan — to be signed by the president and the principal
- to report annually (the Annual Report) to the school community and to the Department on:
- the school’s financial activities
- the School Strategic Plan, and
- any other matters that are determined by the Minister
- to manage the hire, licence and shared use of school facilities
- to determine the dates for the school’s student-free days:
- in accordance with the number of student-free days each calendar year specified by the Secretary of the Department
- to perform any other function or duty, or to exercise any power conferred or imposed on the council by or under:
- the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, or
- any regulations made under that Act
- a Ministerial Order made, or direction issued, by the Minister under the Education and Training Reform Act.
Powers of school council
For the purpose of meeting its functions and objectives, and in accordance with any conditions or limitations set out in the Education and Training Reform Act, the Education and Training Reform Regulations, Ministerial Order or the school council’s constituting Order, school councils may:
- enter into contracts, agreements or arrangements
- form sub-committees
- sell property acquired for use in the school
- for primary schools, provide preschool programs
- use any funding provided to the school, for any purpose related to the school, provided the funding was not provided for a specified purpose
- establish trusts and act as trustee of them
- employ staff (noting the exception in relation to the employment of teachers)
- charge fees to parents for goods, services or other things provided by the school to a child of the parent:
- subject to section 2.2.4 of the Education and Training Reform Act, and
- in accordance with any Ministerial Order made under that Act
- conduct programs in or use, or allow any other person or body to conduct programs in or use, any of the school’s buildings or grounds for the purpose of educational, recreational, sporting or cultural activities for students, the local community or young persons, but only when the buildings or grounds are not required for ordinary school purposes
- with the applicable approval from the Minister, construct or carry out any improvements to any school building structure or school grounds
- do any other thing that is necessary or convenient to be done for, or in connection with, meeting its objectives or performing its functions or duties
- do anything else conferred on it by or under the Education and Training Reform Act, or any regulations or a Ministerial Order made under that Act.
Important: A school council does not have the power to:
- employ a teacher for longer than twelve months or with no date fixed for the termination of that employment;
- purchase or acquire for consideration any land or building; or
- unless authorised by or under the Education and Training Reform Act or any regulations or a Ministerial Order made under that Act:
- license or grant any interest in land, including school lands or buildings;
- enter into hire purchase agreements;
- obtain loan or credit facilities;
- form or become a member of a corporation;
- provide for any matter or thing outside Victoria unless it is related to an excursion by students from the school or the professional development of staff of the school;
- purchase a motor vehicle, boat or plane.
Source: School Council – Powers & Functions. DET (March, 2022)
Nominations for School Council Now Open – Parent Information
Why is a 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.
Code of conduct for school councillors
School councils in Victoria are public entities as defined by the Public Administration Act 2004.
School councillors must comply with the Code of Conduct for Directors of Victorian Public Entities issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commission. The Code of Conduct is based on the Victorian public sector values and requires councillors to:
- act with honesty and integrity – be truthful, open and clear about their motives and declare any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest and duty
- act in good faith in the best interests of the school – work cooperatively with other councillors and the school community, be reasonable, and make all decisions with the best interests of students foremost in their minds
- act fairly and impartially – consider all relevant facts of an issue before making a decision, seek to have a balanced view, never give special treatment to a person or group and never act from self-interest
- use information appropriately – respect confidentiality and use information for the purpose for which it was made available
- exercise due care, diligence and skill – accept responsibility for decisions and do what is best for the school
- use the position appropriately – not use the position as a councillor to gain an advantage
- act in a financially responsible manner – observe all the above principles when making financial decisions
- comply with relevant legislation and policies – know what legislation and policies are relevant for which decisions and obey the law
- demonstrate leadership and stewardship – set a good example, encourage a culture of accountability, manage risks effectively, exercise care and responsibility to keep the school strong and sustainable.
Indemnity for school council members
School councillors are indemnified against any liability in respect of any loss or damage suffered by the council or any other person in respect of anything necessarily or reasonably done, or omitted to be done by the councillor in good faith in:
- the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a councillor, or
- the reasonable belief that the act or omission was in the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a council.
In other words, school councillors are not legally liable for any loss or damage suffered by council or others as a result of reasonable actions taken in good faith.
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.
What do you need to do to stand for election?
The principal will issue a Notice of Election and Call for nominations in Term 1 of each year. Council elections must be completed by 31 March, unless varied by the Minister for Education.
If you stand for election, you can arrange for someone to nominate you as a candidate or, you can nominate yourself in the parent member category. You can only be nominated by another member of the same category that you are eligible for (e.g. a member of the parent electorate may only nominate another parent of that electorate).
Department employees with a child enrolled at a school where they are not engaged in work, are eligible to nominate for parent membership at that school.
Return your completed nomination form to the principal within the time stated on the Notice of Election. You will receive a Nomination Form Receipt via post, email or by hand delivery.
Generally, if there are more nominations than vacancies a ballot will be conducted in the two weeks after the call for nominations has closed.
- Consider standing for election to school council.
- Ask the principal for instructions if you are not sure what to do.
- Be sure to vote if the election goes to ballot.
- Contact the principal if you are unsure about what is required at any stage of the election process.
How to Self Nominate
Fact Sheet 1: School council elections – information for parents
For Self-Nomination to stand for school council for the 2023 download here the School Council Nomination Form (Click Here)
Craigieburn P-12 Education Complex School Council Bearers – 2022/23 Nominees
President – Scheree Mularczyk
Vice President – Taya Bartlett
Treasurer – Carolyn Barnes
Vice Treasurer – Abilasha Singh
Executive Officers – Kate Morphy (CSC) & Donna Barrera (CSPS)
DET Representatives – James McGavisk (CSC) – Rebekah Pelechaty (CSC) – Erin Willey (CPSP)
Parent Representatives – Glenn Lancaster – Samia Townsend – Adam Eales – Vickie Ryan – Emily Moustafa
Student Representatives – Rouqaya Mashti – Sanju Valiyavilayil Varghese – Dakota Ioane – Abiha Shaikh
For further details and information contact the college Business Manager on 9308 1144 during school hours.
Source: DET (Aug 2022) School Council Overview