School operations

School Council – Conduct and Conflict of Interest

Avoiding or preventing conflict or conduct issues on school council

School councils operate effectively and efficiently through their functions and objectives. Refer to: School Council — Powers and Functions.

The functions and objectives require the individuals on a school council to negotiate and agree on actions.

Therefore, it is not unusual for conflicts to arise.

In an environment where mutual trust and respect prevail, it can be a positive force. It can encourage people to:

  • find creative solutions
  • clarify an issue
  • increase the involvement of members
  • encourage growth
  • strengthen relationships

However, conflict can also:

  • divert energy from the group
  • affect morale
  • create disharmony

Conflict can often be avoided, and solutions more readily achieved, when positive working relationships exist.

It is important that school council members:

  • take the time to get to know each other’s values, beliefs and interests
  • develop trust and helpful working relationships

The use of good communication skills will help clarify the council’s discussions and prevent misunderstanding.

Conflict is usually effectively managed if:

  • councillors have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities
  • the council has a clear set of Standing Orders
  • clear expectations for behaviour are established — refer to the Code of Conduct for Director of Victorian Public EntitiesExternal Link as issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner
  • meetings are chaired in a firm, positive, constructive manner
  • a clear, well set out agenda is established
  • discussions at meetings are focused on school council matters
  • each councillor’s concerns are considered legitimate
  • the council has a regular process of self-reflection
  • agreements and new understandings are acknowledged
Guidance chapter on avoiding conflict in school councils

Reviewed 26 May 2020

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