What School Councils Do

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

The main responsibilities of school councils are:

  • Finance: Oversee the school’s annual budget and make sure proper records are kept of the school’s finances.
  • Strategic planning: Be involved in the creation and monitoring of the school strategic plan.
  • Policy development and review: Develop, review and update policies that reflect a school’s values and support the school’s direction.

For school councillors, find guidance on these responsibilities at: Training and support for school councillors

School finance

The school council is responsible for overseeing the school’s financial performance. It is a legal and Department requirement that councils make sure that monies coming into schools are properly expended and authorised.

Most schools have a finance sub-committee which handles many of council’s routine financial responsibilities including the development of the annual budget.

Annual budget

School councils help develop the annual budget and are responsible for ensuring that schools have a functioning and effective system of internal controls. The subcommittee presents the annual budget to the school council for discussion and approval.

The annual budget outlines the total revenue for the school year, the distribution of funds and how the budget will support the goals set out in the school’s strategic plan.

The council also monitors the school's financial performance against the budget in conjunction with the principal. The convenor of the finance committee, as elected from council members, is preferably a non-Department parent member or a community member. The business manager/bursar should not hold this position.

Strategic planning

School councils contribute to the establishment of the broad vision and direction of a school through strategic planning. Strategic planning is the process of reflecting on a school’s past performance, establishing future directions and deciding on what will constitute success.

School strategic plan 

The school strategic plan is the school's statement to its community about what it stands for and what it intends to do over the next four years to improve student outcomes. It outlines the school values, the school's direction, its goals, targets and key strategies for improvement. When completed, the plan is endorsed by school council, signed by the principal and school council president and submitted to the Department's secretary for approval.

Annual implementation plan

The annual implementation plan outlines how the strategic plan will be implemented, monitored and evaluated. The plan contains the goals and targets from the school strategic plan, breaking these down into 12 month targets. The school council endorses the plan.

Annual report

The annual report provides the community with information about the school’s performance in implementing their improvement strategies and how the school’s resources have been used.

It is a legislated requirement under the Education and Training Reform Act 2017 and the National Education Agreement 2008.

Annual reports are endorsed by school council and signed by both the principal and school council president. They are made available to the school community at a public meeting organised by the school principal, and published on the Victorian Regulation and Qualifications Authority State Register. 

Policy development

Policies set out the school’s position on particular topics. They are important tools as they reflect the school’s values and support the school’s broad direction from its strategic plan.

Good policies are essential because they demonstrate that the school is being run in an efficient manner and make sure there is consistency in decisions and operations.

A school council will develop a new policy because:

  • Departmental policy requires a school to have a policy on a particular topic
  • the council decides to issue guidance about an aspect of implementation of its strategic plan
  • the council decides to set out the school’s position on a major issues within its powers and functions.