Managing conflict and the conduct of meetings
Some school councils will, at times, have members expressing strong conflicting views and there may be occasions where individual members are not working cooperatively with other councillors.
It is for the chairperson (normally the president) to manage any conflict or conduct issues that arise during the course of a meeting.
The principal is responsible for managing any conflicts that extend beyond the meeting.
Some strategies for the chairperson/president dealing with difficult situations include:
- dealing respectfully with all comments and contributions
- using clearly understood protocols to ensure all councillors are heard
- stopping one individual dominating the meeting
- bringing the discussion back to school council’s core objectives
- assisting in the efficient governance of the school
- ensuring that its decisions affecting students are made in the best interests of the students
- enhancing the educational opportunities of students
- ensuring the school and the school council complies with its legal obligations
- referring the matter for consideration by a sub-committee, or to a future meeting of the school council
- anticipating matters that might result in conflict between members and introducing them in a way to minimise tension
- being prepared to let an aggrieved council member express their view but then being prepared to bring the debate to a conclusion
- reminding members of the Code of Conduct for school council members
- remaining objective and treating an individual’s grievance as legitimate in accordance with the principles of natural justice
Reviewed 26 May 2020