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.
There are two types of school councils/boards: incorporated and unincorporated. Most schools have an unincorporated council/board. Incorporated councils/boards have higher levels of obligations and additional functions.
An unincorporated council/board uses approved terms of reference to define its way of working and to meet the requirements of the legislation. The information pack includes advice on the roles and responsibilities of a school council/board, membership, induction and procedures for conducting elections and meetings.
An incorporated council/board must have a constitution which defines its rules and way of working. The constitution meets legislative requirements and includes advice on the roles of office bearers, meetings and proceedings, management of finances, disputes and mediation, legal responsibilities, induction and requirement to obtain insurance.
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 adhere to legislative and policy requirements. Principals also seek the advice of councils/boards so as to understand local community views.
The council/board does not intervene in the control or management of the school. This is the role of the principal.
Being a council/board member
Being a member of a council or board is an important and rewarding role that contributes greatly to the success of a school.
Members include the principal, parents, students (15 years, or will reach that age during the year), staff, and others from the wider community who can lend their skills and expertise to the school.
When a vacancy occurs on a council/board, the principal seeks nominations. Before an appointment is made to a council/board a screening clearance number may be requested from the nominee.
The term for which members sit on a council/board is determined by each school council/board in accordance with legislation.
Support for council/board members
A new program called Linking Schools and Communities has been developed to support council/board members in their role. The program provides them with training and online resources that are accessible, flexible and respond to the changing needs of councils/boards.
Council/board members can also seek advice on training, resources and other council matters from the Department’s Innovation and Governance unit. P&C Association members can also seek support from the Western Australian Council of State School Organisations (WACSSO).
Innovation and Governance
T: 9264 5077
WACSSO (for P&C members)
T: 9264 4000
This package provides information for public school councils and boards in their role in linking schools and communities.Download Size: 290.7kB
Find out more about incorporated school councils and boards.Download Size: 413.3kB
Find out more about unincorporated school councils and boards.Download Size: 421kB
This document provides a basis for developing the terms of reference for an unincorporated school council/board.Download Size: 176.6kB