Policy last updated
22 August 2023
- School councils
This policy sets out the requirements for the establishment, operation and support of all school parents’ clubs.
- A Victorian government school parents’ club:
- For information on fundraising activities, refer to .
Role of a parents’ club
Parents’ clubs (alternatively called parents’ associations) promote the welfare of, and provide support to, the school and its community. Parents are key partners in their child’s learning. By interacting with the school and other parents, parents’ club members can use their skills and experience to work collaboratively with others in supporting the school and its students and build a sense of community within the school.
The aims and objectives of a parents’ club is to work in cooperation with the principal and school council to:
- contribute to the wellbeing of the school community
- encourage the participation of all parents in the life of the school and the education of their children
- provide opportunities for parents to get to know each other and to be informed about their child’s school
- provide opportunities for parents to extend their understanding of school operations, and general education policy
- contribute to proposals on school policy and other educational issues (as identified or discussed with the principal or school council)
- raise funds for the benefit of the school (optional).
A parents’ club is not a subcommittee of the school council. Parents’ clubs have no legal powers, functions or formally prescribed powers or duties and must ensure they operate in accordance with the Regulations and have a ministerially approved constitution. The constitution must be consistent with the template Model Parents’ Club Constitution published by the Secretary from time to time – refer to . Parents’ clubs must operate in accordance with the rules and procedures set out in their constitution.
The guidance also includes information on:
- operational requirements
- financial management
- resolving conflict
- dissolving a parents’ club.
Working with the principal and school council
Parents’ clubs are most effective when there is a close and cooperative working relationship with the principal, other school staff and school council.
This can be achieved by:
- providing opportunities for regular updates and discussion between the parents’ club, principal, other school staff and school council
- principals (and school council where required) providing feedback when the club is planning social, educational or fundraising activities
- encouraging discussion about, and an understanding of, a wide range of issues relating to broader general education and student welfare matters
- inviting parents’ club members on sub-committees of the school council
- offering a position on school council in the community member category, where appropriate to do so, to a parents’ club representative
- utilising the parents’ club as a reliable mechanism for parent feedback on school policy and initiatives, to assist in school and school council decision-making.
Typical activities of a parents’ club
In performing their role, parents’ clubs may undertake a variety of social, cultural, educational or fundraising activities. Parents’ club members, working with the principal, provide invaluable support to the school in a number of ways with the primary motivation of building a sense of community. Such activities may include:
- promoting cultural and social diversity by encouraging membership and participation of all parents in parents’ clubs
- channelling parents’ views to the school leadership about school policies that have been identified by the school for review
- discussing, planning and organising events such as:
- welcoming new students and parents at the school
- second-hand book and uniform schemes
- social opportunities
- comedy or movie nights
- twilight markets
- bush dances
- parent information sessions
- raising funds for the school with the prior approval of the school council.
Guidance for Parents' Clubs
Note: All information contained in this guidance is mandatory for all Victorian government school parents’ clubs.
This guidance contains the following chapters:
- Forming a parents’ club
- Parents’ club constitution and operational requirements
- Financial management requirements
- Resolving conflict
- Dissolution of a parents’ club
Forming a parents’ club
Forming a parents’ club
Requirements for forming and running parents’ clubs are set out in the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic) (Regulations) and department policy.
If there is no existing parents’ club at the school, and there is sufficient interest from a number of parents in forming a club, one or two interested parents should arrange to meet with the principal to discuss the process of formally establishing a new parents’ club. Principals and other school staff must not discourage parents from forming a parents’ club.
The formal process is outlined in the section below.
- Parents who wish to establish a parents’ club at a government school must send a written request to the principal. The request must be signed by at least 6 parents of students at the school.
- Upon receiving the request, the principal must:
- convene a meeting for the purpose of forming a parents’ club
- endeavour to call the meeting and for the meeting to be held within 28 days of receiving the request but not later than 42 days of receiving the request
- take reasonable steps to circulate a notice informing the school community about the meeting at least 14 days before the meeting.
- The meeting shall be chaired by the principal unless the principal nominates another person to chair the meeting on their behalf. Any member of the school community may attend the meeting.
- At the meeting, the principal will outline school operational expectations, roles and responsibilities and discuss how best the school and parents’ club can work together.
- If at least 3 parents show interest, they may choose to establish a parents’ club. The parents’ club must elect at least 3 office bearers (President, Treasurer, Secretary) to form and operate the parents’ club.
If the meeting outcome is a decision to start a parents’ club, the next steps are:
- The interested parents must appoint an interim committee from among those present. The interim committee should have at least 3 members
- The sole purpose of the interim committee is to:
The interim committee may not meet for any other purpose or conduct any other business including fundraising activities. Parents’ clubs that are not constituted in accordance with the Regulations will not be recognised by the school or the department.
Preparing proposed constitution for approval by the minister
- The interim committee must prepare a proposed constitution for approval by the minister. All parents’ clubs must use the . The interim committee must fill out the template model parents’ club constitution by altering the following information only:
- the school name (heading)
- the name of the club/association (first paragraph)
- the month in which the annual general meeting will occur (point 6)
- remove the word ‘club’ or ‘association’ throughout the document – whichever one does not apply
- the club may insert the school’s logo on the first page of the document and on the registration form at Schedule 1 of the constitution.
- Once the proposed constitution has been prepared in accordance with step 1, the interim committee must seek the minister’s approval of the proposed constitution and the formation of the parents’ club.
The proposed constitution must be sent via email to: (preferred).
Please note that only documents in Word format will be accepted. Please do not submit a document in PDF format.
Or by mail to:
Manager, School Operations and Governance Unit
School Operations and Statewide Services Division
Department of Education
GPO Box 4367, MELBOURNE 3001.
Note: A parents’ club is not established until it has been approved by the minister or minister’s delegate. Until the constitution has been approved, a parents’ club may not undertake any activities, including fundraising.
- Once the minister (or delegate) approves the formation of the parents’ club and the proposed constitution, the parents’ club is formally established. The interim committee is immediately dissolved.
The department will write to the club or club’s representative to confirm that the parents’ club has been approved. The principal will be copied into this communication.
- Once the department’s confirmation is received, the parents’ club must: As a new club will not have office bearers, the principal or principal’s delegate is best placed to facilitate this process.
- call an inaugural meeting of the club for the purpose of electing office bearers
- have interested parents complete the Parents’ Club Registration Form at Schedule 1 of the , to become members of the club. The registration form should be submitted to the principal or principal’s delegate (as there are no club office bearers yet)
- request nominations for office bearers. Parents’ clubs may wish to use the department's for the election of office bearers.
- At the inaugural meeting, the election of office bearers must be conducted by an independent person such as the principal, a teacher of the school, or a senior regional officer of the department.
The person who conducts the election of office bearers must not be a current club member, or nominated for office in the parents’ club.
- Upon the election of office bearers, the club is fully operational.
Parents' club constitution and operational requirements
Parents’ club constitution and operational requirements
The parents’ club constitution sets out the parents' club's procedures and other requirements, including membership, election of office bearers, meetings, voting requirements, records management, finance, conflict of interest and privacy requirements. For the model constitution refer to .
In circumstances where a parents’ club is unable to function for an extended period of time, the club may nominate to go into recession and suspend its activities for a period, providing it has not been dissolved as per the Regulations. Once reactivated, the club is not required to undertake the formation process, however it must ensure it has adopted the current constitution as published by the secretary.
Updating the constitution
New versions of the model constitution are published from time to time, so parents’ clubs are encouraged to review their constitution annually, and when required, update their constitution to ensure consistency with the current model.
A parents’ club may adopt a new model constitution by vote at its annual general meeting or at a general meeting. Parents’ clubs will be notified of updates to the model constitution via the department communications to schools (through the school's principal) or the department’s website, including the Policy and Advisory Library.
Minor changes may be made to the constitution. Any minor proposed changes to the constitution should be circulated to members one month prior to the meeting the changes will be voted on. Should the club wish to change its name or the month of the annual general meeting as stated in the constitution, this change should be voted on at the annual general meeting or a general meeting.
This should be minuted and kept as part of the club’s records.
The annual registration form should be submitted to the club/association secretary on or before the annual general meeting of the club/association or at any general meeting of the club/association.
Upon submitting a signed and completed registration form, a person becomes a registered member of the club/association until the next annual general meeting.
Registration forms must be completed and retained in either hard copy at the school or in digital form and accessible upon request. Records must be kept in their original form whether that be digital or hard copy. Schools can switch the way they keep records – however, existing records cannot be converted, and they must be stored in the manner described above.
Only registered members are eligible to vote at any club/association meeting or for election to any office in the club/association. An individual wishing to join the parents’ club at another point in the year can submit their registration form at a general meeting. They will be entitled to vote at the following general meeting.
Financial management requirements
Financial management requirements
Under the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 (Vic) (the Regulations), a parents’ club must ensure that any fundraising for the school or expenditure is made with the approval of the school council and in compliance with the requirements relating to fundraising. For information on the requirements for fundraising refer to and .
The Regulations also require parents’ clubs to maintain a separate account for the purpose of the administrative functions of the parents’ club and for any funds raised by the club. This account must be a separate subprogram in CASES21, within the school’s official account.
Allocation of funds in CASES21
The department does not consider it best practice for unallocated sums of money to sit in a club’s CASES21 sub-program account. Where funds are raised for a particular purpose they should be recorded in CASES21 against that purpose and expended by the school council for that purpose.
If a parents’ club raises funds for the purpose of establishing or augmenting school funds, the funds may be used at the discretion of the school council. The department strongly recommends that the school council discuss early on with the club what the funds will be used for.
Any unspent parents’ club funds should be included in the financial commitment summary at the end of each year and carried forward into the parents’ club sub-program the following year as part of the budgeting process. These funds are considered to be ‘committed funds’.
The department considers it best practice that principals and other school staff work closely with parents’ clubs and provide the club with a copy of the club’s sub-program CASES21 Variance Report and Transaction Report (usually once per month). It is recommended that the principal and/or business manager meet with the parents' club to discuss timelines which work for both the school and parents’ club.
The club’s finances will be audited as part of the audit of the school’s finances.
Members of parents’ clubs are considered volunteers and are therefore subject to workers’ compensation and WorkCover.
The department’s insurance arrangements cover any liability incurred in the conduct of, or through the activities performed by, parents’ clubs, including any fundraising activities and other volunteer duties. Accordingly, parents’ clubs do not need to obtain their own separate insurance.
Dissolution of a parents' club
Dissolution of a parents’ club
A parents’ club will only cease to exist if it is voluntarily or automatically dissolved in accordance with the Regulations. A parents’ club is automatically dissolved if the school closes, merges, or demerges.
In all other cases, the procedure for voluntary dissolution must be followed. Principals do not have the authority to dissolve a parents’ club without following the voluntary dissolution procedure set out below.
The following must occur to voluntarily dissolve a parents’ club:
- All reasonable steps must be taken to circulate a notice of the proposed dissolution generally throughout the school community.
- A meeting to discuss the notice of dissolution must be held at least 14 days after the notice is circulated.
- At the meeting, at least two-thirds of those present must agree to the proposal to dissolve the parents’ club.
- If it is decided at the meeting to voluntarily dissolve the parents’ club:
- all property and other assets must be transferred to the control of the school council
- a person present at the meeting must advise the school council in writing of the dissolution of the parents’ club as soon as practicable.
- As soon as practicable after the above actions have been completed, the school council must write to the minister and to advise that the parents’ club has been dissolved, the school council has been notified of the dissolution, and that all property and other assets of the parents’ club have been transferred to the school council.
When a school closes, the parents’ club is automatically dissolved. No further action needs to be taken to dissolve the parents’ club.
Where schools merge or demerge, the schools involved close and form a new school entity, or entities. If the schools have parents’ clubs, the clubs will also close. Any funds, property and/or assets from the closed parents’ clubs go to the newly merged school entity, or entities. It is at the discretion of the school council of the newly merged school as to how those funds are allocated. Should a new club form, these funds are not considered to be the funds of the new club. The principal should be proactive and clear in his or her communication to the parents’ club about this process.
A new parents’ club can be formed once the new school entity, or entities, have been established. If, in the case of a merger, a new parents’ club is formed, it is recommended that a representative from the finance sub-committee meet with the club to discuss the allocation of past parents’ club funds.
Good communication and positive working relationships are important to promote understanding amongst club members, minimise conflict and achieve cooperative solutions. It is important that parents’ club members take the time to get to know each other and to develop trust and helpful working relationships.
There may be occasions where members of a parents’ club hold strong conflicting views or do not work cooperatively with other members. The club president (as chair) is responsible for managing any conflict or conduct issues that arise during the course of a meeting.
Some strategies for the president dealing with difficult situations include:
- using clearly understood protocols to ensure all members are heard (for example the parents’ club may adopt terms of reference, similar to that of school council sub-committees). They may also create standing orders or business rules. The values listed in clause 2 of the constitution may be a useful starting point to develop a code of conduct
- reminding members of the requirements of the registration form
- dealing respectfully with all comments and contributions
- ensuring everyone has a say in meetings and one individual does not dominate a discussion
- bringing the discussion back to the club’s core objectives
- anticipating matters that might result in conflict between members and introducing them in a way to minimise tension
- being prepared to let an aggrieved member express their view, but then being prepared to bring the debate to a conclusion.
- – sets out the fundamental principles that underpin the governance of Victorian public school parents’ clubs
- – includes general information on the establishment and operation of parent clubs, including the impact of COVID-19
- – can be used by clubs when electing office bearers
- – sets out advice in relation to parents’ club financial matters, including fundraising, petty cash and the reimbursement of expenses
Reviewed 11 June 2020