Conducting an Election

Purpose of this topic

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

Prerequisite legislation

School councils are governed by:

  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017
  • Ministerial Order no 52 – School Council Composition and Elections Order.

Election requirements

  • Principals must conduct school council elections in accordance with the Principals Guide to School Council Elections  to ensure that elections are conducted within the legal framework of Ministerial Order No 52: School Council Composition and Elections Order.
  • 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.
    • Note: in 2018 the election process for student members must be completed by the 29 June. Principals are required to use the schedules and information in Appendix E of the Principals Guide to School Council Elections 2018 to conduct the election process for Student members. 
  • 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).
    • Student (for schools with students enrolled in years 7 and above) 
  • Principals must follow the process below to complete and electronically submit the Schedule 7 no later than 30 April, see Updating membership details.
    • Note: in 2018 Principals must declare Student school council members by 29 June.

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.

Schools will be required to submit this information to Regional Directors for consideration by the end of Week 4, Term 2, 2018. 

Election documents

Principals Guide to School Council Elections

Student member category support material

Information to parents

This document provides information that may be used for an article in the school newsletter to inform parents about the role of school councils and the election process. 

Updating membership details (Schedule 7 & School Council President EduMail Account)

Completing and submitting Schedule 7

By 30 April the principal must inform the Department's Secretary, of the names of Parent, Department employee, and Community members, their gender, membership category, terms of office, and office bearer positions, by completing and submitting Schedule 7. 

Student member details must be added and submitted by the 29 June.

Schedule 7 is an online document and details of membership are held in a central Department database. Principals are required to enter school council membership details by completing the following steps:



  • Log onto the Department intranet (eduGate) using the school username and password.


Note: The membership of your school council under its constituting Order is displayed at the top of the screen.

Important: Step 1 must be followed to gain access into this secure web page. 


  • Click ‘add new item’ to bring up a screen to enter details for each school council member, and/or update the details of members who have been re-elected to council, i.e. new start and end dates for their term of office
  • Schools are required to enter the office bearer positions of principal, president and treasurer.


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


  • 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. 
  • An entry (i.e. member details screen) must be completed for all membership positions, filled or vacant, on council, according to the constituting Order.
  • Ensure the total of the current membership (including vacancies) matches the constituting Order at the top of the form.
  • Check the accuracy of the data.
  • Click ‘Print (directly or to PDF)’ once all data has been entered. Sign and date the form.
  • Important: The printed form should be retained at the school. It is not required by the regional office or central office.
  • Submit and declare: click on the calendar below the Principal's name to confirm the date of completion of the form. 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

To access and/or update the school council president's EduMail account details complete the following steps:



  • Enter details of the school council president on CASES21.


  • Ensure that the school council president’s details are recorded against the school’s school council president eduMail account.  



  • Enter principal’s username and password.
  • Click on link ‘School Council President (left side of the Account Information page) to access and update the information

Complaints Management

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 page 6 of the Principals Guide to School Council Elections 2018 (pdf - 642.95kb) - Complaints Process/Conduct of an Election

School Governance Support Materials

School Council Skills and Expertise Guide

The School Council Skills and Expertise Guide outlines the desired skills and expertise required for effective school governance. It is designed to be used by school councils to identify the skills and expertise that can support school council operations and effective governance, see: School Council Skills and Expertise Guide (docx - 14.56mb)

School Council Self-Assessment Tool

The School Council Self-Assessment Tool provides support to school councils in evaluating their effectiveness as a collective school council and identifying areas for improvement, see: School Council Self-Assessment Tool  (docx - 148.83kb)

Benefits of Co-opting Community Members to School Councils

The Benefits of Co-opting Community Members to School Councils provides information and guidance on the benefits of community co-option and having community members from the wider local community as part of school council, see: Benefits of Co-opting Community Members to School Councils  (docx - 14.55mb) 

Related topics

Related legislation

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

Department resources

Ministerial Orders