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Councils and Boards in Public Schools Policy


1. Policy statement

The Department of Education is committed to school councils and boards in all public schools being meaningfully engaged in planning, budgeting, monitoring school performance and reporting.

2. Policy rules

Principals must, in accordance with the Councils and Boards in Public Schools Procedures:

  • support the council or board to attract members that represent the community and enhance the effectiveness of the council or board;
  • provide members of the council or board with information to enable them to understand their role and responsibilities and to undertake the functions of the school council or board;
  • confirm that a council or board, which is not incorporated, has a terms of reference that is consistent with the provisions of the School Education Act 1999 (Act);
  • confirm that a council or board, which is incorporated, has a constitution that is consistent with the provisions of the School Education Act 1999 (Act) and the Associations Incorporation Act 2015;
  • obtain approval from the Deputy Director General, Public Schools when a:
    • council or board seeks to become incorporated;
    • council or board seeks to operate jointly for two or more schools; or
    • school seeks exemption from having a council;
  • confirm that the council or board has governance processes in place that prevent borrowing funds or obtaining credit;
  • arrange noting of the Delivery and Performance Agreement for boards; and
  • arrange noting of the school’s Funding Agreement for Schools for councils.


Principals can enhance the effectiveness of the school council or board by actively managing the membership composition (within the constraints of the Act) to achieve a balance of governance skills, knowledge, experience and affiliations with the local community. 

Under the Act, the membership of a council or board includes the principal and elected staff representatives however, elected parents and other community members must form the majority.

Persons nominated for membership/current members of councils/boards are required to have a National Police History Check processed through the Department’s Screening Unit as is applicable to their membership category and the requirements for phasing in the requirement for criminal screening.

For more information on legislative requirements and supporting an effective council or board, see the School Councils and Boards website.

See Related Policies for a list of Department of Education policies that include requirements affecting Councils or Boards.

3. Responsibility for implementation and compliance

Principals are responsible for implementation of this policy in individual schools.

Monitoring compliance with this policy is the responsibility of the line manager.

4. Scope

This policy applies to principals in public schools. 

6. Definitions

The council of an Independent Public School.

A legal entity in its own right, separate from the individual members, with powers additional to those of unincorporated councils or boards, and bound by additional legislation (Associations Incorporation Act 2015).

One council or board that operates for two or more schools.

7. Related documents

8. Contact information

Policy manager:

Director, Leadership Institute

Policy contact officer:

Principal Policy Officer

Leadership Institute

T: 1300 610 801

9. History of changes

Effective date Last update date Policy version no.
8 March 2013 2.0
Major review undertaken of v1.0. Procedures and processes clarified. Original policy split into policy and procedures documents. D13/0104727
8 March 2013 29 November 2013 2.0
Updated contact information D13/0573788.
8 March 2013 24 March 2015 2.1
Contact information updated to reflect change in position from Director, Office of the Director General to Executive Director, Organisational Governance. D15/0085666
8 March 2013 25 June 2015 2.2
Updated contact details D15/0198137
8 March 2013 17 March 2016 2.3
Updated contact information. D16/0197926
5 June 2018 3.0
Policy has undergone a major review. The Director General endorsed the policy on 2 May 2018 at Corporate Executive and D18/0208336.
5 June 2018 7 July 2020 3.1
Minor changes to contact information. D20/0344153

10. More information

Policy review date

5 June 2021

Policy last updated

7 July 2020