School operations

School Council — Subcommittees


The purpose of this policy is to enable school councils to form subcommittees to assist the council.


  • School councils may form subcommittees to assist the council in performing their duties and functions.
  • School councils decide the purpose and terms of reference of subcommittees.
  • There must be at least 1 school council member on any subcommittee.
  • Subcommittees cannot make decisions on behalf of the school council.


Subcommittees are advisory bodies to the school council:

  • they assist council with performing their duties and functions, and
  • are generally established to support school council in specific areas

Subcommittee membership is open to non-school-council members:

  • providing the opportunity for the school community to be involved in school council matters

 The school council:

  • decides the purpose and terms of reference of a subcommittee
  • has the final responsibility for decisions

Subcommittees cannot make decisions on behalf of the school council.

The terms of reference can provide guidance on:

  • size and configuration of the committee
  • confidentiality
  • visitors
  • frequency of meetings
  • key purpose of the group

Subcommittees must:

  • consist of at least:
    • 1 member of the school council
    • 3 members overall
  • meet as directed by the school council
  • report in writing to school council

Each subcommittee has a nominated convener who is usually a school council member.

The subcommittee convener is responsible for:

  • reporting back to school council and the principal about the sub-committee’s recommendations
  • supporting the implementation and monitoring of approved recommendations
  • encouraging participation in the subcommittee from members in the school community

Subcommittees usually meet between regular school council meetings. This allows time for:

  • consideration of their particular area of responsibility, and
  • decisions on any necessary action or follow up

The sample subcommittee report assists subcommittees to report effectively and efficiently to school council. 

Subcommittees regularly report at school council meetings:

  • providing advice
  • making recommendations to the council

Members of subcommittees will:

  • maintain confidentiality over
    • matters discussed at the meetings, and
    • recommendations put forward to the school council

Finance Subcommittees

School councils are encouraged to have a finance subcommittee which handles many of school council’s routine financial responsibilities each month. 

Finance subcommittees can also assist in:

  • the development of the annual budget
  • providing school finance information
  • recommendations to school council

The Finance Manual for Victorian Government Schools provides policy, advice and guidance to school councils, to meet mandatory requirements regarding financial compliance, control and accountability.

Some examples of other subcommittees are:

  • buildings and grounds (facilities)
  • information technology
  • community engagement
  • policy development

Relevant legislation

Department policy on the establishment and operation of school council subcommittees

Reviewed 25 February 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


School Operations and Governance Unit

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