Parent Clubs

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


 

Role of a parents' club

Parents’ clubs foster closer links between parents, teachers and the principal; facilitate parental participation in their child’s school; and work together with school staff and the school council to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for the benefit of all students.

A parents’ club not only benefits students, but also can enrich and contribute to the wellbeing of the whole school community through their positive interactions and support. Parents participating in club activities can gain a firsthand understanding of the general operations of a school, can use, and build on, existing skills and expertise, develop friendships and work collaboratively with other parents interested in supporting the school.

Parents’ clubs play a valuable role in the life of a school as they:

  • work in partnership with a wide array of individuals and organisations in the local community to broaden and enhance the school’s ability to advocate for all children and families
  • are dedicated to children’s educational success, health, and well-being (through strong family and community engagement)
  • acknowledge the potential of everyone without regard, including but not limited to: age, culture, economic status, educational background, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, national origin, parental status, race and religion.

The club is not for profit or gain of its individual members.

Working with the principal and school council

A parents’ club is not a sub-committee of school council and has no formally prescribed powers or duties. However, club members working together with the school council can provide a vehicle for schools to effectively collaborate with families, and support them to engage with their children’s learning.

They can provide input into school decision-making and organise cultural, social, educational and fundraising activities. Not all parents’ clubs choose to fundraise for their school. This is an optional activity. Where a club does choose to undertake fundraising activities for the benefit of the school community, these can only proceed with the prior approval of the school council.

Parents’ clubs are most effective when there is a close and cooperative relationship with the principal and school council. This can be achieved by:

  • the club providing regular updates to the principal and school council on club activities
  • ensuring advice is sought from the principal (and school council where required) when planning social, cultural, educational and fundraising activities
  • seeking agreement of the school council prior to undertaking fundraising activities, in line with regulatory requirements
  • accepting a position on the school council in the community member category, where the school council has invited a member of the parents’ club to do so
  • joining a sub-committee of the school council if the opportunity arises.

The role of the principal is to:

  • convene a meeting for the purpose of forming a parent’s club
  • work in cooperation and partnership with the parents’ club - the principal has the responsibility for the day-to-day leadership and management of the school
  • take an active interest in the activities and operations of the club, and where possible, attend club meetings (sometimes only in part) for the purposes of reporting on matters of interest to the club, to respond to questions and to give advice where necessary
  • meet with the club’s president, school council president, and other members if required, to discuss proposed events and activities.

Activities

Parents’ club members, working with the principal, provide invaluable support to the school in a number of ways, for example:

  • establishing valuable links between teachers and parents
  • organising information and welcome events for new students and parents at the school
  • helping with other school events and functions, such as a fun run, book fair, debutante ball
  • organising second-hand book and uniform schemes
  • organising fundraising activities.• Helping to cater or work at fundraising activities
  • assisting in the preparation of school newsletters, handbooks and calendars
  • channeling parent views to school leadership about school policies that have been identified by the school for review, such as anti-bullying, codes of behaviour, etc.
  • promoting cultural and social diversity by encouraging membership and participation of all parents in parents’ clubs.

Formation

The establishment and procedures for running parents’ clubs are governed by the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 and Department guidelines.

If there is no existing parents’ club at the school, and there is sufficient interest from a number of parents in forming a club, one or two interested parents should arrange to meet with the principal to discuss the possibility of formally establishing the new parents’ club.The formal process is outlined below.

On receiving a written request signed by at least six parents of students at a government school, the principal must:

  • convene a meeting for the purpose of forming a parents’ club
  • take reasonable steps to circulate a notice informing the school community of the meeting (at least 14 days before the meeting).

Any member of the school community may attend the meeting. If the decision is to establish a club those present at the meeting must appoint an interim committee to

  • adopt the Model Parents' Club Constitution (doc - 70.5kb) as published by the Secretary of the Department, adding the club’s  details and arrangements where indicated; and
  • seek the approval of the Minister (or his/her delegate) for the formation of the club under the terms of that Constitution; and
  • conduct meetings necessary for the sole purposes of the above.

When the committee and the school’s principal receives notification that the Constitution has been approved by the Minister, an inaugural meeting of the club is called and the principal, teacher at the school or a senior regional officer of the Department (none of which are current club members or are nominated for office) will conduct the election of office bearers. All future meetings will be called in accordance with the Constitution.

The draft Constitution should be sent for review and Ministerial approval to:

Email: community.stakeholders@edumail.vic.gov.au (preferred)

Or by mail to:

Manager, School Operations and Governance Unit
Group Planning, Coordination and Operations Division
Department of Education and Training
GPO Box 4367, MELBOURNE 3001

Operational requirements

The operational requirements of the parents’ club are detailed in the Model Constitution. Parents’ clubs are required to adopt the Model Constitution as published by the Secretary of the Department and are encouraged to review annually, and where required update, their Constitution to ensure consistency with the current Department Model.

Finance

All parents’ clubs are required to operate a separate subprogram maintained within the school’s official account – recorded on Cases21. For details on financial arrangements for parents’ clubs see the Finance Manual for Victorian Government Schools at: School Financial Guidelines

The club’s finances will be audited along with those of the school.

Note: Parents’ clubs are no longer authorised to operate an Option B bank account. The Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 have mandated the use of Option A bank accounts for all parents’ clubs.

Option B

Parents’ clubs which previously chose to operate under Option B (with funds held externally to the school council’s official account) are being supported by the Department in moving these funds to a subprogram within the school’s official account.

Fundraising

The club may undertake fundraising activities, with the prior approval of the school council, having as their object the establishment or augmentation of school funds or funds for a particular school purpose

.At the time a fundraising activity is approved, it is recommended that the school council and the parents’ club discuss how funds raised will be spent, to determine what is in the best interests of the school.

Interim committees must not conduct fundraising activities (see: Formation).. This activity should only take place once the Minister has approved the formation of the Club and its Constitution and has been formally approved.

The school council must not reject any proposed fundraising activity until it has considered a recommendation by a committee consisting of:

  • the president of the school council or the president’s nominee, who must be the chairperson; and
  • one other representative of the school council elected for the purpose by the school council; and
  • two representatives of the club; and
  • the principal.

Where funds raised are used to establish or augment school funds, the school council will determine how the funds are expended after consultation with the parents’ club and the principal as to what is most desirable in the interests of the school.

If a club plans to raise funds by means of a raffle or bingo or other minor gambling activities, permission and instructions must be obtained from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation, see: Community and Charitable Gaming Application Process and Requirements

Dissolution

A club may not be voluntarily dissolved unless:

  • all reasonable steps have been taken to circulate a notice of the proposed dissolution generally throughout the school community; and
  • a meeting to discuss the notice of dissolution is held not less than 14 days after the circulation of that notice; and
  • at least two-thirds of those present at that meeting agree to the dissolution.

The Department suggests executing the following actions (as a minimum, although not exhaustive) to ensure that all reasonable steps have been taken to circulate a notice of the proposed dissolution generally throughout the school community:

  • include a notice of voluntary dissolution in the school newsletter
  • use the school’s bulletin board, website or social media sites to circulate the notice
  • provide a report at a school council meeting.

Following this meeting, if a decision is made to voluntarily dissolve a parents’ club under the Regulations the following actions must be taken:

  • all property and other assets are to be transferred to the control of the school council; and
  • a person present at the meeting must report the dissolution in writing to the school council as soon as practicable.The school council must report as soon as practicable the dissolution to the Minister and advise him or her of the completion of actions outlined above.

When a school closes the parents’ club is automatically dissolved as a matter of course.  Where schools merge or demerge, the schools involved close and then form a new school entity/entities. If the schools have parents’ clubs, the clubs will also close.

A new parents’ club can be formed once the new school entity/entities have been established. Any funds, property and/or assets from the closed parents’ clubs go to the newly merged school entity/entities.

It is the new school council’s decision how the funds and resources are allocated if a new parents’ club(s) is formed at the new school. The Department encourages school councils to work with parents’ clubs to determine the most effective allocation of funds.

Related legislation

Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017

Resources