Laburnum Primary School (School) Council (Council) is the public entity that is given powers to set the key directions of the School. It is the governing body of the School that, within Department of Education and Training (DET) guidelines, decides the future directions for the School and overseas the School’s operation.
The Legislative Framework:
The Council operates under a framework provided by the:
The Council’s objectives include:
Council Functions & Powers:
The Council is the key governance body supporting the School’s principal in delivering a comprehensive educational program to all students.
The functions of the Council are to:
The School principal has direct responsibility for operational matters of the School. However, the Council has responsibilities with respect to certain areas of school activity. The table below differentiates between the roles and responsibilities of the Council and School principal for each area of activity:
Staff Employment and Management
Building and Grounds
Child Safe Standards
With respect to its objectives and functions, the Council has certain powers and may:
Unless authorised by the Act, regulation or a Ministerial Order, the Council does not have the power, amongst the exclusion stated above, to:
The Constituting Order of School states that the Council is permitted to have a total of fifteen members, with the following composition:
School councils must apply to the Department to change their size or composition.
The Principal is responsible for conducting Council elections and assessing the validity of nominations and eligibility of the candidates. A call for nominations must be made at least 21 days before the poll closing date.
The election process cannot commence earlier than the first day of the school year and must be completed on or before 31 March.
A person is ineligible for election to the Council if the person:
The term of office for elected or co-opted members is not more than two years, commencing the day after the date of declaration of the poll. Where a member resigns or is no longer eligible to complete the term of office, a casual vacancy is created.
The office of President of the Council should not be open to the same person for more than four consecutive years.
Should a casual vacancy occur on School Council, this vacancy is filled by co-opting a person from the appropriate category who then completes the term of office of the retiring member or until the elected member returns to fill the position.
The regulations require that there be at least two office bearers – the President and the Executive Officer.
The President is elected by all members of the Council and cannot be a DET employee. The role of the President is to:
The position of Executive Officer is filled by the School Principal. The role of the Principal is to:
Other Office Bearers are:
Council Decisions and Votes:
The Council will endeavour to reach decisions by consensus but when that is not possible, a vote will be taken with the number “for” and “against” recorded in the minutes.
All members of the Council, including community members, are entitled to one vote.
The decisions of the Council will be by a majority of those eligible to vote and who are present at the meeting, where the majority are non DET members.
Voting will normally be by a show of hands, but a secret ballot may be used for particular issues.
A Council member who has an actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest in a matter being considered by the Council is not entitled to vote on the matter.
Visitors and / or observers attending the general Council meeting do not have voting rights.
When a vote is tied, i.e. an even number of people are “for” and “against” the decision, the President has the casting or deciding vote. It is therefore important that when the President offers a personal opinion on an issue, this is clearly stated. Councillors need to be able to clearly distinguish between the President’s personal views and when a ruling is made as President of the Council.
Proxies and Voting Procedures
Eligible members of the Council must be present at a meeting to be part of the decision making process. There is no provision in either the Act or the Regulations for proxies. Therefore, if someone is unable to attend a meeting, another person cannot attend and vote on their behalf.
The Council must hold at least eight general meetings (at least one in each term) per year. Unless otherwise decided, the Council meetings will be held twice a term, usually on the third week of the month, on the Tuesday of that week from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.
If members are unable to attend a meeting, they are expected to send their apology prior to the meeting. An extraordinary meeting may be held at any time decided by the Council, provided all members are given prior notice of the date, time, place and purpose of the meeting. At least one week’s notice is preferable if an extraordinary meeting is to be held.
A quorum requires not less than one half of the Council members currently holding office to be present at the meeting, with a majority of members present who are not DET employees. Any parent members on the Council who also work for the Department are counted as employees for the purpose of the quorum. A member of the School Council may be present in person or by video conferencing or teleconferencing.
The Council must also hold at least one public meeting each year (the Annual General Meeting) to report to the School community on its activities and to present an Annual Report including statement of the School’s income and expenditure for the previous calendar year, if the accounts have been audited.
Open and Closed Meetings
Visitors or observers can be present at the general meeting of the Council with the agreement of the Principal and a decision by the Council. While all Council general meetings would normally be open to the School community, there may be times when the meeting, or part of the meeting needs to be closed to protect the confidentiality or privacy or for another valid reason. Should this occur, the School Council will need to approve a recommendation (called a motion) to go into a “closed” session. The School Council should then return into open session once the topic under discussion has been concluded.
If permitted to attend a general Council meeting, visitors and observers must direct all their comments through the Chairperson.
The elected President must chair all meetings of the Council.
In the absence of the President, the Vice President must chair the Council meeting. If neither the President nor Vice President is present, councillors may elect a member to chair the meeting. This person should be a non DET employee.
Extensions of Meeting Times
If business has not been concluded by the scheduled closing time for the meeting, the chair should ask councillors whether they wish to defer the rest of the business until the next meeting or to extend the meeting by a specified period of fifteen minutes. Not more than two fifteen extensions are to be granted.
A motion is necessary if School Council wants to extend the meeting for that evening.
Conflict of Interest
If a Council member has a direct financial or personal interest in a matter being considered before School Council, then that councillor must:
Agenda and Notes
The agenda and any notes for meetings, including sub-committee minutes, President’s report (if any) and Principal’s report all need to be distributed to Council members in the week prior to the meeting.
Minutes from the meeting will be distributed before the next meeting.
Business arising from the previous minutes and all sub-committee recommendations will be itemised in the agenda.
All decisions of Council shall be recorded as minutes. Also included in the minutes are the dates and times of the meeting, those present and apologies and an overview of key discussions.
When the School Council minutes are submitted for confirmation, only questions regarding their accuracy as a record of the meeting are to be raised.
Once the minutes have been accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting, they are to be signed by the School Council President or the person who has chaired the meeting.
Business arising from the minutes is dealt with after the minutes have been confirmed.
School Council Sub-Committees:
Sub-committees assist the Council in all work that needs to be done. They report regularly at the School Council Meetings, provide advice and make recommendations to the School Council, which has the final responsibility for decisions. The sub-committees cannot make decisions for the School Council, rather, they make recommendations to the School Council.
All Council members are expected to play an active role in at least one sub-committee. Each Council sub-committee should:
The sub-committees for the Council are:
Parents Group reports to School Council, but is not a sub-committee in itself, as per DET guidelines.
Code of Conduct:
The School Councillors will at all times behave in a civil and respectful manner. School Councillors will promote:
School Councillors must abide by the School Council Code of Conduct, drawn from the Victorian Public Entity Directors’ Code of Conduct 2006. These are available from the Executive Officer (Principal).
In the context of the Council’s duties and functions, members are required to:
Self-Assessment and Training:
Upon being elected, Council members are required to complete the training modules offered by the DET to ensure the Council can:
The Council will conduct an annual self-assessment, at time to be determined by the President, to evaluate the effectiveness of the Council in discharging its duties and identify areas of improvement.
Endorsed by School Council: February 2021