Principals of Independent Public Schools can establish school boards whose elected members work with them and their communities to achieve the best outcomes for students.
While members of a school council may be re-elected to a new board, establishing a board of an Independent Public School is an opportunity to attract a broader cross-section of people with a range of experiences and expertise. Strong community and business representation ensures the board can make an even more significant contribution to the development of the school.
The board establishes a vision for the school that reflects the aspirations and needs of the community. The board can have an important influence on the direction of the school, with members bringing ideas and lending their expertise to strategic planning and community partnerships. Professional skills in areas such as management, finance, procurement, marketing and cultural knowledge support the principal and strengthen the school’s capacity to meet the needs of its students.
Elected members include parents, staff and members of the community. Students 15 years and over can be members. The principal is a member of the board. A comprehensive induction is provided for all board members.
The Independent Public School board chair is a signatory to a Delivery and Performance Agreement with the principal and Director General. The agreement sets out the performance and accountability expectations of the school, as well as the resources and support provided centrally to the school. There is also an expectation that the board conducts a self-review, which is then followed by an external review of the school that is undertaken by the Department of Education Services in the final year of the Delivery and Performance Agreement. The external review verifies the school’s self-review of its performance against the Delivery and Performance Agreement and its Business Plan. The focus of the external review is on the standards of student learning, quality of the learning environment and sustainability.
The majority of Independent Public School boards are unincorporated boards. Boards can apply to become incorporated if members wish to have greater functions and obligations.
An unincorporated board uses approved terms of reference to define its way of working and to meet the requirements of the legislation. Detailed information includes advice on the roles and responsibilities of a school board, membership, induction and procedures for conducting elections and meetings.
An incorporated board must have a constitution which defines its rules and way of working. The approved model constitution meets legislative requirements. Information on the model constitution also 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.