School councils

This page includes policy information for schools and council members​.

If you're a parent, read our easy-to-follow guide on
how to get involved at your school.

​​​​​​School councils play a key role in Victorian government schools. Participating as a school council member is a rewarding and challenging experience. The school council supports the principal to provide the b​​est possible educational outcomes for students.

These web pages support existing and prospective school councillors in their roles and school council processes.

Key documents  

Improving school governance - reference documents for all school councillors and a key training package for councils

Improving school governance, a training package for school councils, has been developed to improve the knowledge, understanding and skills of school council members, school council presidents and school principals.

The package consists of five modules:

Training

Comprehensive training for school councillors is now offered in two formats; Virtual Live Training (formerly face-to-face) and as Interactive Online Modules.

School councillors are strongly encouraged to attend Virtual Live Training or access the Interactive Online Training.

Both formats use information from the Improving School Governance (ISG) package and cover the four ISG modules for:

  • governance
  • finance
  • strategic planning
  • school council president.

The online training also covers the policy and review modules.

Virtual Live Training (formerly face-to-face training)

Virtual Live training is delivered free of cost to school councils of Victorian government schools. Schools or school councillors should contact the training provider, Synergistiq using the button below to book or register interest in training in any of the four modules offered.

Virtual Live training will begin in term 2 and for the foreseeable future will be delivered by trained facilitators, using video conferencing. Synergistiq will liaise with school councils who book training, to ensure its effective delivery.

Book Virtual Live Training for school councillors
Made available through Synergistiq

Interactive Online Training

School councillors can self-register to access the Interactive Online training through The Big Canvas learning management system (LMS).

Online training can be accessed individually or in small groups, at a time and place convenient to participants.

Training can be completed as a whole module, or in part. Participants can bookmark and return to a module at a later time.

Access online training modules for school councillors
Made available through The Big Canvas


Training trailer

Download the trailer video transcript (docx - 100.29kb).

Promotional video

Download the promotional video transcript (docx - 103.71kb).

Training for student members of school council

Student school council members are encouraged to attend face-to-face training or access the online training.

Face-to-face training should be accessed in consultation with the principal. Where face-to-face training takes place outside school hours at the school at which the student attends, training is to be treated as an incursion.

Where training takes place outside of school grounds, this is to be treated as an excursion. Where the training is outside of school hours or off site, principals are required to obtain informed consent from parents or carers, for their child to participate in face-to-face school council training and to ensure adequate supervision arrangements have been made.

The principal – in consultation with the parent/carer – is required to have clear arrangements about how a student councillor is travelling to and from training.

Where a student member is participating in the training, the principal is responsible for providing evidence of parent/guardian permission to the training providers. This must be done by providing the trainers with a copy of an excursion permission form signed by the parent/guardian. For more information, read: Inducting and supporting student members on councils (docx - 74.48kb)

School governance support materials

School council induction video

This video provides a summary of the purpose and responsibilities of school councils, as well as the roles and duties of school councillors.

Principals and school council presidents may use the video as general information for school councils, for recruiting prospective councillors, or for the induction new school councillors, for example at the first meeting of the new school council.

 

School council governance quick reference guide

The following document provides an overview of school council roles and processes.

School council skills and expertise guide

This 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 self assessment tool

This tool provides support to school councils in evaluating their effectiveness as a collective school council and identifying areas for improvement, see:

Benefits of co-opting community members to school councils

This document 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:

For further information about school council roles and processes, school council members can email the School Operations and Governance Unit at: school.council@edumail.vic.gov.au

Managing school council conduct

School councillors must abide by the Code of Conduct issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner.

The Code of Conduct is based on the Victorian Public Sector Values and requires councillors to act with honesty and integrity, using their position appropriately and in the best interests of the school. The following document provides information and advice on the Department's values, code of conduct, managing conflict and the conduct of council meetings.

Legislative requirements

A school council operates under a legislative framework within the Victorian government school system.

  • all school councils operate under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006
  • each school council is established by an Order of the Minister for Education
  • school councils are regulated by the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017.

For more information, see Victorian legislation and parliamentary documents  for a copy of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017. Ministerial Order No 53 (pdf - 9.87mb)