Conducting an Election

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Purpose of this topic

To ensure principals conduct school council elections in accordance with legal requirements.

Requirements to conduct an election

  • Principals must conduct school council elections in accordance with the Principals Guide to School Council Elections.  This will ensure that elections are conducted within the legal framework of Ministerial Order No 52.
  • Principals are responsible for the conduct of the election and may appoint a person to act on their behalf.
  • Principals are empowered to decide any dispute which may arise in the conduct of an election.
  • School council elections must be held in February or March each year and completed by 31 March unless the timeline is varied by a Ministerial Order.
  • Council members hold office for approximately 2 years. 
  • Half the membership is elected each year.
  • There are three mandatory electorates:
    • Parent
    • Department employee, see; Legal Framework for the definition of Department employee
    • Student - for schools with students enrolled in years 7 and above

  • Principals must complete and electronically submit the Schedule 7 no later than 30 April.

Student member category - alternative arrangement requirements

Certain secondary schools may be eligible to determine whether it is practical to have mandated student positions on their school council. This includes special, small and rural schools.

If your school council does not believe that it can find suitable Student members for their school council, the principal and school council president are required to complete the Student school council member – Alternative arrangement form (docx - 49.45kb) and send that form to the Regional Director demonstrating how their school council will seek student input into their school’s decision making.

Principals will be required to submit this information to their Regional Director for consideration by the end of Term 4. 

Documents to assist you in running an election

The Principals Guide to School Council Elections

Fact sheets for the Student member category

Sample: Newsletter article for parents

The Information to parents (docx - 102.41kb) document provides information that may be used for an article in the school newsletter or web site to inform parents about the role of school councils and the election process.

Updating membership details

Completing and submitting Schedule 7

By 30 April the principal must inform the Department's Secretary, of the council membership, by completing and submitting Schedule 7. 

Schedule 7 is an online database. Principals are required to enter school council membership details by completing the following steps:

  1. Log onto the Department intranet (eduGate) using the school username and password.
  2. Go to the Schedule 7: School Council Membership Schedulesite and click on the VIEW / EDIT Your Schedule 7 Form tab. Note: The membership of your school council under its constituting Order is displayed at the top of the screen. Step 1 must be followed to gain access into this secure web page. 
  3. Click ‘add new item’ to bring up a screen to enter details for each new school council member. Update the details of members who have been re-elected to council, i.e. new start and end dates for their term of office. Delete members no longer on council. Schools are required to enter the office bearer positions, for example: president (mandatory), vice-president (not mandatory), treasurer.

  4. Click ‘SAVE’ once you have completed the details for a member.

  5. Where a position has not been filled, enter ‘vacant’.  Maintain the Start and End term dates, so the position can be filled at another time, as a casual vacancy.

  6. An entry must be completed in the schedule for all membership positions, filled or vacant, according to the constituting Order. Ensure the total of the current membership (including vacancies) matches the constituting Order at the top of the form.

  7. Check the accuracy of the data. Click the 'Go to Print View' button and print off the summary list of members. Sign and date the form. The printed form should be retained at the school. It is not required by the regional office or central office.

  8. To submit and declare: type in Principal's name and add the date using the calendar to confirm the date of completion of the form. The 'Submit Declaration' button will become green. Click the 'Submit Declaration' button to complete the process.

If membership details change during the year, you can update the form by following the steps outlined above.  

School council president eduMail details

Each school has an eduMail account specifically for the school council president. To access and/or update the school council president's eduMail account details complete the following steps:

  1. Visit eduMail Knowledgebase to create the School Council President eduMail address
  2. Enter principal’s username and password
  3. Click on link ‘School Council President' (left side of the Account Information page) to access and update the information
  4. Enter details of the president on CASES21

Resetting the eduMail password for the school council president is the same as resetting the password for staff.

Raising a concern about a council election

A person aggrieved by any matter arising out of the conduct of an election may make a complaint in writing to the principal within 14 days of the date of declaration of the poll.  For the complaint management process see the Principals Guide to School Council Elections 2020 - Complaints Process/Conduct of an Election

Related topics in the School Policy and Advisory Guide

Department resources

School Council Support Materials:

Related legislation

  • Education and Training Act 2006
  • Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017
  • Public Administration Act 2004

Ministerial Orders