Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Getting involved in School Governance

From January 2004, all state schools and preschools in South Australia have been locally managed under a single system. The shift to a unified model of local management took place progressively.

This unified model of local management is supposed to have the learning of children and students as its centre piece. It is also supposed to reinforce the importance of parent and community participation, the voice of learners and the professional input from educators.
When the entire community works together to support learning, children and students succeed, not just in school but throughout their lives.

The school or preschool Governing Council is a central feature of local governance and management. As members of Governing Councils, parents and community members have real opportunities to improve the education and care of students and children in their local school or preschool.

Local school governance and management emphasises that every child and student’s success in learning is a shared responsibility between teachers, parents and their communities.
Members of Governing Councils are closely involved in this partnership and experience one of the most rewarding ways of contributing to their school or preschool and local community.

As a member of a Governing Council, you have real opportunities to:
· be a part of raising standards of education and care in your local school or preschool,
· identify where the school or preschool can improve and help make improvements happen,
· develop the school’s financial efficiency and effectiveness,
· engage other parents and the local community to benefit the school or preschool
· acquire new skills and new friends, and
· share in the success of children, staff, teachers and the school or preschool as a whole.

In locally governed and managed schools and preschools, the Governing Council provides a forum to ensure that the views of all segments of the community are taken into account when decisions about direction and improvement are made.

It is a formal, legal body with defined areas of authority and responsibility. It delivers these through actions of the Governing Council as a whole, its committees (smaller groups of members and others which focus on particular areas) and occasionally individual Governing Council members.

Governing Councils differ a little from place to place, but usually meet no less than twice each school term to make decisions on matters affecting the school or preschool as a whole.
Governing Council committees are formed to assist the main body meet its range of responsibilities. They usually meet once or twice per term and have responsibility for specific matters such as planning (the school’s direction), policy (to ensure plans are implemented), review (to make sure actions are effective), buildings and grounds (to plan future developments), curriculum & standards (to set targets and report results), finance (to plan school finances) and student matters (to plan for the well-being of students).

Individual Governing Councillors may also be nominated to particular areas of responsibility to assist the Governing Council in its work.

Parents and caregivers with children currently enrolled at the school or preschool are eligible to become members of the Governing Council and are the majority of the membership. One of the keys to success for Governing Councils is having parent and caregiver members with a variety of backgrounds and experience.

Community members may be co opted by the Governing Council, from business and industry or from significant groups within the community, such as Aboriginal, those from diverse cultural backgrounds and others with special skills or experience.

Membership categories vary from site to site and include the school principal or preschool director and also may include the local member of parliament, members of affiliated committees, staff and students.

If you would like to contribute to your local school or preschool through membership on a Governing Council please contact the principal or director, or the Governing Council chairperson of your local school or preschool as they would be delighted to hear from you.

If you would like more information on what is involved please send us an email with your inquiry at -

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