Policy last updated
10 January 2022
- School councils
This policy outlines the process and documentation required in establishing a new school council.
- Once a new school is approved by the Minister for Education, the Department usually establishes an informal advisory group in the year preceding the school’s opening to provide regionally-based support to the principal for the establishment of the new school.
- The principal is responsible for setting up an interim school council, on recommendation of the regional director. The interim council is subject to Ministerial approval and is the first step in creating a governing structure, school culture and connections with the community.
- The interim school council will hold office until the date of declaration of the poll for the first school council election. In addition to approving the appointment of the interim school council, the Minister must also approve the period during which the first school council election will be conducted and the size and composition of the elected school council.
- If the new school council is a result of two or more schools merging to form one school, or a decision to have one school council govern two or more schools, principals must contact the School Operations and Governance Unit, Operations and Governance Division, to discuss requirements.
- The School Operations and Governance Unit provides support to schools, school councils and regional directors throughout the process of establishing a council for merged schools or merged councils.
When establishing a school council for a new school, the principal works with the advisory group, the local community, prospective parents, the regional office and the School Operations and Governance Unit, Operations and Governance Division, to apply to the Minister to:
- request a new school council
- appoint members of an interim school council
- approve the date on which elections will be held for an elected school council.
The proposed interim school council membership is nominated by the principal. The nominations must be endorsed by the regional director prior to seeking the final appointment of the interim school council members by the Minister. Proposed members of the council can be drawn from community members, potential parents and advisory group members or in the case of merging schools, selected current school councillors.
Steps to be followed in establishing the interim school council of a new school
The request for a new school council requires the principal to provide the following information.
1. Proposed date for establishment of the interim school council
The proposed date for establishment of the interim school council is the proposed date by which the interim school council should be established.
The Minister may constitute the interim school council for the new school, some months prior to the commencement date of the school. This will allow the interim school council to enter into contracts, establish bank accounts and determine the student dress code and other preliminary school establishment requirements.
2. Proposed interim membership
The proposed interim membership is the size and composition of the initial membership of the school council prior to the first election.
The interim school council membership would normally comprise parent and school employee members. It may also include community members. The principal of the new school will be a member (executive officer) of the interim school council of the new school, in the school employee member category.
The size and composition of the interim school council membership does not need to conform to an option in the school council variable membership table () of but it must have a majority of members who do not work for the Department.
While the appointed membership of an interim school council may exceed 15 people (the existing maximum under Schedule 2 of Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils), consideration should be given to ensuring that the size of the council is workable. Consideration should also be given to ensuring the interim school council is constituted with not less than 6 members (the existing minimum under Schedule 2).
The principal will record:
- residential addresses
- membership categories and
- brief background information.
of the persons nominated for appointment as initial members of the interim school council. For example, former president of 'xxx' school council, or potential parent and member of 'xxx' school council, or person co-opted for community membership with expertise in finance.
The principal must be satisfied that the proposed appointees are suitable and eligible to be school council members.
The requires the principal to record the details of the manner in which the persons nominated for initial appointment to the school council were selected (for example, consultation with local community, planning committee selected nominees, consultation with principals of local schools, expressions of interest called from parents of students enrolled at the school).
The appointed members of the interim school council will hold office until the date of declaration of the poll of the first school council election. The term of office of members of the elected council will commence on the day after declaration of the poll of the first school council election.
3. Elected school council membership size and composition
4. Timing of the first school council election
The timing of the first school council election is the period of time during which the first school council election will be conducted.
The principal of the new school may decide to request that the first school council election be held in February or March of the year the school commences, or in the February or March of the following year. This corresponds with school council elections conducted across the State.
The principal may request the first school council election be held at another time of the year, for example, Term 2. Where this is the case, a 6 week period should be allowed for the election process to be undertaken. A commencement and an end date will be recorded on the . This alternative time must be approved and will be included in the constitution of the school.
Regional director’s endorsement
Prior to sending therequest for a new school council to the regional director, the principal must communicate with the School Operations and Governance Unit to ensure the information prepared for the interim and elected school councils is consistent with the requirements for the new school.
Once reviewed with the School Operations and Governance Unit, the principal will forward the Request for school council constituting Order form to the regional director for endorsement. The regional director considers the information provided by the principal. If agreed, the Request for school council constituting Order form is endorsed by the regional director. The endorsed request is then forwarded to the principal and to the School Operations and Governance Unit at for preparation of the briefing to the Minister for a constituting Order.
Note: Allow 2 months for the preparation, approval and notification of the constituting Order.
Establishing a council for merging schools or merging school councils
When the Minister approves the merger of two or more schools, the Minister appoints an interim school council based on recommendations made by the relevant regional director. The School Operations and Governance Unit will work closely with principals, school councils and the regional office throughout the process of establishing a school council for merged schools.
Occasionally, school councils are merged to become one school council for a number of individual schools, such as small schools in regional areas that share the same principal. In such circumstances, the School Operations and Governance Unit must be contacted to advise and support the principal, school councils and other Department staff to undertake this process.
There is no further guidance for this topic. For more information, refer to Resources tab.
Principals Guide to School Council Elections
- The has been developed to assist principals to understand and conduct school council elections in accordance with the Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils.
- The guide is published annually and includes the election process, set out in six stages.
- School council variable membership table () (also included in the guide) sets out the various council sizes and compositions available.
To request a new school council, principals should complete the form, with support from the School Operations and Governance Unit, School Operations and Statewide Services Division:
The following expression of interest form should be completed by proposed appointees to a new interim school council:
The following Ministerial Orders relate to the establishment, function, powers and operation of school councils:
Reviewed 13 April 2023