Meetings

From Term 1 2017, Victorian government and Catholic schools will use the new Victorian Curriculum F-10. Curriculum related information is currently being reviewed and may be subject to change.

For more information on the curriculum, see:
The Victorian Curriculum F–10 - VCAA

Purpose of this topic

To ensure school council meetings are conducted according to legal requirements.

Prerequisite legislation

School councils are governed by:

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017

Meeting requirements

School councils must:

  • meet at least:
    • 8 times each year
    • once per term (there is no maximum number of meetings)
  • achieve quorum for a meeting to proceed
  • call a public meeting at least once a year to:
    • report council proceedings
    • present the annual report
    • present a copy of the audited accounts, if the accounts have been audited
  • keep records of decisions made and resulting actions required.

 Note: A quorum is achieved at a school council meeting when not less than one half of the school council members are present and the majority are not Department employees.

School council office bearer positions

This table lists the council office bearer positions.

PositionOfficeDescription

Mandatory

President

Parent or Community member who chairs meetings.

Executive officer

The school principal who ensures:

  • adequate and appropriate advice is provided to the council on educational and other matters
  • council decisions are implemented
  • adequate support and resources are provided for the conduct of school council.

Quorum

A school council meeting must operate with a quorum. A quorum requires not less than one half of school council members currently holding office to be present at the meeting and the majority of members present must not be Department employees. Any parent members on school council who also work for the Department are counted as Department employees for the purpose of a quorum.

A member of the school council may be present in person or by videoconferencing or teleconferencing.

If at the end of 30 minutes after the appointed time for a school council meeting there is not a quorum, the meeting must stand adjourned to a time and place determined by the school council members present.

Protocols

Council meetings should be:

  • attended by members of the school council:
    • in person, or
    • by videoconferencing or teleconferencing
  • conducted in accordance with the school council’s standing orders
  • chaired by:
    • the president of the school council, other than the meetings to appoint community members and elect office bearers; or
    • if the president of the school council is unable to preside and if a vice-president has been appointed by the school council, and the vice-president is able to preside at the meeting, the vice-president must preside; or
    • if the school council has not appointed a vice-president, or the vice-president is unable to preside at the meeting, the school council must decide which member of the council (other than a member who is an employee of the Department) will preside at the meeting.
  • provided support and resources for the conduct of meetings by the principal
  • open to members of the school community, unless there is a need for confidentiality.

School council meetings are normally open to the school community.  Visitors or observers can be present at meetings with the agreement of the principal and a decision of council.  There are times when the council meeting, or part of the meeting, needs to be closed. 

Extraordinary meetings

An extraordinary meeting of a school council may be held at any time decided by the council if all members are given reasonable notice of the time, date, place and object of the meeting.

The council president or in the president’s absence the principal must call an extraordinary meeting if either of them receives a written request to do so from at 3 council members.  The president or principal must call a meeting by sending a notice to all school council members giving the members reasonable notice of the time, date, place and object of the meeting

The business of the extraordinary meeting must only cover the specific matter for which it is called.

Decision making

School councils make decisions by a majority vote by eligible members who are present including the principal at a council meeting.  If votes are tied the presiding member has a second or casting vote.

School council minutes must be taken and should record:

  • the type of meeting (regular, extraordinary or public)
  • date, time and venue of meeting
  • names of attendees and apologies received from members
  • name of presiding officer
  • the business of the meeting including the decision on the minutes of the previous meeting, inward and outward correspondence and reports of any sub-committees tabled at the meeting
  • decisions of the meeting including motions and any amendments, names of movers and seconders
  • whether the motion was carried or rejected
  • the number of votes for and against.

Minutes must be confirmed as accurate and signed by the council president and provided to school council members. There is no right of access to the minutes of a school council meeting under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, the school community should be kept informed of school council matters by way of a report in the school newsletter and/or on the school website.

Conflict of interest

If a member of the council or their immediate family has a direct conflict of interest (including a pecuniary interest) in with a matter under discussion at a school council meeting that member:

  • must not be present:
    • during the discussion unless invited to do so by the  person presiding at the meeting 
    • when a vote is taken on the matter
  • may be included in the quorum for that meeting.

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