Oak Park Primary School Council
Purpose of school council
School council is the legally formed body that is given powers to set the key directions of a school. It is the major governing body of the school that, within DET guidelines, decides the future directions for the school and oversees the school’s operation.
The legislative framework
School councils operate under a framework provided by the:
School council membership
The constituting Order of Oak Park Primary School states the composition of the Council is:
Should a casual vacancy occur on council, this vacancy is filled by council coopting a person from the appropriate category who then completes the rest of the term of office of the retiring member.
The Regulations requires there be at least two office bearers – the president and the executive officer:
Other office bearers:
A quorum requires not less than one half of school council members currently holding office to be present at the meeting with a majority of members present who are not DET employees. Any parent members on school council who also work for the Department are counted as DET employees for the purpose of a quorum.
A quorum must be maintained throughout the meeting.
When a vote is tied (i.e. an even number of people are for and against the decision), the president has the casting or deciding vote. It is therefore important that when the president offers a personal opinion on an issue, this is clearly stated. Councillors need to be able to clearly distinguish between the president’s personal views and when a ruling is made as president of school council.
Proxies and voting procedures
Eligible members of council must be present at a meeting to be part of the decision making process. There is no provision in either the Act or the Regulations for proxies. Therefore, if someone is unable to attend a meeting, another person cannot attend and vote on their behalf.
In the event of a vote being tied, the chairperson of the meeting (usually the president) has the casting vote.
If the president is absent
In the absence of the president, the vice president must chair the school council meeting. If neither the president nor vice president is present, councillors may elect a member to chair the meeting. This person should be a non DET employee.
School council meetings
Unless otherwise decided, school council meetings will be held twice a term on the last Wednesday of each school term month. Meetings will commence at 7.00pm and conclude at 9.15pm. Two ten minute extensions of time may be called for by majority vote.
If members are unable to attend a meeting, they are expected to send their apology prior to the meeting. Members must not be absent from two consecutive meetings unless prior leave of absence is approved. Members are required to attend a minimum of six meetings in a school year.
School council must also hold at least one public meeting each year to report to the school community on its activities and to present a statement of the school’s income and expenditure for the previous calendar year.
An extraordinary meeting may be held at any time decided by council, provided all members are given prior notice of the date, time, place and purpose of the meeting. At least one week’s notice is preferable if an extraordinary meeting is to be held.
Open and closed meetings
While all school council meetings would normally be open to the school community, there may be times when the council meeting, or part of the meeting needs to be closed to protect confidentiality or privacy or for another valid reason. Should this occur, school council will need to approve a recommendation (called a “motion”) to go into a “closed” session. School council should then go back into open session once the topic under discussion has been concluded.
Visitors or observers can be present with the agreement of the principal and a decision by school council, but they must direct all their comments through the chairperson. Visitors have no voting rights.
Extensions of meeting times
If business has not been concluded by the scheduled closing time for the meeting, the chair should ask councillors whether they wish to defer the rest of the business until the next meeting or to extend the meeting by ten minutes with a maximum of two extensions of time.
A motion is necessary if council wants to extend the meeting for that evening.
Conflict of interest
If a school councillor has a direct financial interest in a matter being considered before council, that councillor:
Agenda and notes
The agenda, minutes from the previous meeting and any notes for the meeting, such as sub-committee minutes, president’s report, principal’s report, will be distributed to all councillors no less than three days before the meeting.
Business arising from previous minutes and all sub-committee recommendations will be itemised in the agenda. Additional items for General Business will be called for at the commencement of the meeting and no other items should be added after this time.
All decisions of council shall be recorded as minutes. Also included in the minutes are the dates and times of the meeting, those present and apologies, and an overview of key discussions. When school council minutes are submitted for confirmation, only questions regarding their accuracy as a record of the meeting are to be raised. Once the minutes have been accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting, they are to be signed by the school council president or the person who chaired the meeting. Business arising from the minutes is dealt with after the minutes have been confirmed.
School council decisions
Decisions of Oak Park Primary School council will be by a majority of those eligible to vote and who are present at the meeting, where the majority are non DET members. Oak Park Primary School council will try to reach decisions by consensus but when that is not possible, a count will be taken with the number for and against recorded in the minutes. Voting will normally be by a show of hands, but a secret ballot may be used for particular issues.
Sub-committees assist council in all the work that needs to be done. They report regularly at school council meetings, provide advice and make recommendations to council, which has the final responsibility for decisions. Sub-committees cannot make decisions for school council, rather they make recommendations to council.
Sub committees are:
School council principles
School councillors will at all times behave in a civil and respectful manner.
Councillors will promote:
Click the links below to view the following:
What is a school council and what does it do?
School Council Code of Conduct
Policy and Review
School Council President
Meeting Times 2021