What do public school P&Cs do?
The functions of P&Cs are covered by legislation. P&Cs promote the interests of the school. They do this through cooperation between parents, teachers, students and members of the general community; assisting in the provision of resources, facilities and amenities for the school; and fostering of community interest in educational matters. P&Cs are very highly regarded in public schools for their organisation of fundraising or other benefits for the good of the school. P&Cs can seek voluntary contributions from parents of students at the school, and these are reflected in the contributions and charges schedule published by the school each year.
What do councils/boards do?
The council or board of a public school works with the school community to achieve the best outcomes for students. It plays an important role in contributing to good school governance so that school resources are used efficiently and community expectations and the school’s priorities reflect the needs of students. The functions of councils/boards are covered by legislation and include both approval and advisory roles. Some of the matters councils/boards may make decisions on include fees and charges, book lists, sponsorship and dress codes. Councils/boards make these decisions with the principal who ensures the decisions comply with legislation and policy. Councils/boards promote the school in the community and take part in establishing and reviewing the school’s objectives, priorities and general policy directions and evaluating the school’s performance in achieving these.
What is the relationship between the P&C and the council/board?
P&Cs and councils/boards each play important roles in supporting public schools. They have separate functions which are legislated but work together to achieve common goals. Members of the council/board and the P&C often work together on different projects. The P&C is often an incorporated body through WACSSO, and if so, they can apply for grants or funding.
Can a P&C member be a member of the council/board?
While there can be no ex officio position for a P&C member on the council/board, there are two ways by which P&C members can be members of the council/board:
- nominated as a parent member; or
- nominated as a community member.
The legislation provides categories of membership on a council/board: parent/student, community and staff.
Once appointed to the council/board, members do not represent any particular group. These include, for example, teachers, P&C members or members with other affiliations. P&C members bring their experience as parents at the school, and the views and context of the wider school community. Teacher members may bring expertise such as an education perspective, networks and knowledge that the council/board is looking for at that time.
How can you be involved in your child’s school?
There are so many ways to be involved! Here are just a few:
- Join the P&C
- Nominate to be a member of the council/board
- Act as a classroom helper
- Volunteer in the canteen or library
- Help out at events such as the sports carnival
- Bring along your skills to a ‘busy bee’
- Take part in class excursions
- Coach sporting teams or clubs e.g. chess, computer, netball, football
- Attend school assemblies and special occasions, P&C and council/board meetings – everyone is welcome
- Help to organise fundraising initiatives.