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school council elections

School Council Elections and Call for Nominations 2021

An election is to be conducted for members of the School Council of Pakenham Secondary College.

Nomination forms may be obtained by contacting the School and asking for Jackie Stewart.

They must be lodged by 4.00 pm on Monday, 22nd February 2021

The ballot will close at 4.00 pm on Monday, 8th March 2021.

Following the closing of nominations a list of the nominations received will be posted at the school. The terms of office, membership categories and number of positions in each membership category open for election are as follows –

 

Membership category

Term of office Number of positions

Parent member

From the day after the date of the declaration of the poll in 2021 to and inclusive of the date of the declaration of the poll in 2023

FOUR

DET  employee member From the day after the date of the declaration of the poll in 2021 to and inclusive of the date of the declaration of the poll in 2023

TWO

Student member From the day after the date of the declaration of the poll in 2021 to and inclusive of the date of the declaration of the poll in 2023.

ONE

 

If the number of nominations is less than the number of vacancies, a notice to that effect and calling for further nominations will be posted in a prominent position at the school.

INFORMATION FOR PARENTS SEEKING ELECTION TO COUNCIL

All government schools in Victoria have a school council. They have legally constituted bodies that are given powers to set the broad direction of a school, in accordance with Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils, and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. In doing this, a school council is able to directly influence the quality of education that the school provides for its students.

For most primary school councils, there are several possible categories of membership:

  • A mandated elected parent member category – more than one-third of the total members must be from this category. Department employees can be parent members at their child’s school as long as they are not engaged in work at the school.
  • A mandated elected school employee member category – members of this category may make up no more than one-third of the total membership of school council. The principal of the school is automatically one of these members.
  • An optional community member category – members are co-opted by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or experiences.Departmentemployeesarenoteligible to be community members.
  • A small number of school councils have nominee members.

For all schools with a Year 7 and above cohort, there is an additional category of membership:

  • A mandated elected student member category, two positions.

Generally, the term of office for all members is two years. The term of office of half the members expires each year, creating vacancies for the annual school council elections.

Parents on school councils provide important viewpoints and have valuable skills and a range of experiences and knowledge that can help inform and shape the direction of the school.

Those parents who become active on a school council find their involvement satisfying and may also find that their children feel a greater sense of belonging.

Each member brings their own valuable life skills and knowledge to the role. However, councillors may need to develop skills and acquire knowledge in areas that are unfamiliar to them. It is important to have an interest in your child’s school and the desire to work in partnership with others to help shape the school’s future.

School councils in Victoria are public entities as defined by the Public Administration Act 2004.

School councillors must abide by the Code of Conduct for Directors of Victorian Public Entities issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commission. The Code of Conduct is based on the Victorian public sector values and requires councillors to:

  • act with honesty and integrity – be truthful, open and clear about their motives and declare any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest and duty
  • act in good faith in the best interests of the school – work cooperatively with other councillors and the school community, be reasonable, and make all decisions with the best interests of students foremost in their minds
  • act fairly and impartially– consider all relevant facts of an issue before making a decision, seek to have a balanced view, never give special treatment to a person or group and never act from self-interest
  • use information appropriately – respect confidentiality and use the information for the purpose for which it was made available
  • exercise due care, diligence and skill – accept responsibility for decisions and do what is best for the school
  • use the position appropriately– not use the position as a councillor to gain an advantage
  • act in a financially responsible manner – observe all the above principles when making financial decisions
  • comply with relevant legislation and policies – know what legislation and policies are relevant for which decisions and obey the law
  • demonstrate leadership and stewardship – set a good example, encourage a culture of accountability, manage risks effectively, exercise care and responsibility to keep the school strong and sustainable

School councillors are indemnified against any liability in respect of any loss or damage suffered by the council or any other person in respect of anything necessarily or reasonably done, or omitted to be done by the councillor in good faith in:

a. the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a councillor, or

b. the reasonable belief that the act or omission was in the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a council.

In other words, school councillors are not legally liable for any loss or damage suffered by council or others as a result of reasonable actions taken in good faith.

The most obvious way is to vote in the school council elections, which are held in Term 1 each year. However, ballots are only held if more people nominate as candidates than there are positions vacant.

In view of this, you might seriously consider

  • standing for election as a member of the school council
  • encouraging another person to stand for election.

The principal will issue a Notice of Election and Call for nominations following the commencement of Term 1 each year. All school council elections must be completed by the end of March unless the usual timeline has been varied by the Minister for Education.

If you decide to stand for election, you can arrange for someone to nominate you as a candidate or you can nominate yourself in the parent member category.

Department employees whose child is enrolled in a school in which they are not engaged in work, are eligible to nominate for parent membership of the school council at that school.

Once the nomination form is completed, return it to the principal within the time stated on the Notice of Election. You will receive a Nomination Form Receipt via post, email or by hand following the receipt of your completed nomination.

Generally, if there are more nominations received than there are vacancies on council, a ballot will be conducted during the two weeks after the call for nominations has closed.

  • Consider standing for election to school council.
  • Ask at the school for help if you would like to stand for election and are not sure what to do.
  • Be sure to vote if the election goes to ballot.
  • Contact the principal for further information.

More information can be found here

INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS SEEKING ELECTION TO COUNCIL

All government schools in Victoria have a school council. They have legally constituted bodies that are given powers to set the broad direction of a school, in accordance with Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils, and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. In doing this, a school council is able to directly influence the quality of education that the school provides for its students.

The school council has particular functions in setting and monitoring the school’s direction.
School councils have key responsibilities.

  • Finance: overseeing the development and expenditure of the school’s annual budget and ensuring proper records are kept of the school’s financial operation.
  • Strategic planning: participating in the development and monitoring of the school strategic plan.
  • Policy development and review: developing, reviewing and updating selected policies that reflect the school’s values and support the school’s broad direction outlined in its strategic plan.
  • Community engagement: informing itself of community views and stimulating community interest in the school.

Other key functions of school councils may include:

  • raising funds for school related purposes
  • maintaining school grounds and facilities
  • entering into contracts
  • reporting annually to the school community and the Department
  • creating interest in the school in the wider community
  • representing and taking the views of the school community into account
  • regulating and facilitating after-hours use of school premises and grounds
  • operating a children’s service at the school.

Students have a unique perspective on learning, teaching and schools. Having student members on school council allows students to have a say in the future direction of their school and ensures student input into decision-making.

Student representation on secondary school councils will assist in the development of students’ skills, including leadership skills and communication skills.

Each member brings their own valuable skills and knowledge to the role. However, councillors may need to develop skills and acquire knowledge in areas that are unfamiliar to them in order to perform their duties as a councillor.

Student members are encouraged to acquire this knowledge by attending the Department’s free face-to-face Improving School Governance school council training to support them to undertake their role.

For online training options, see:
School Council – Training and Good Governance on the Department’s website

For all schools with a student cohort of Year 7 and above, there are several possible categories of school council membership:

  • A mandated elected parent member category – more than one-third of the total members must be from this category. Parents and carers of children attending the school are eligible for membership in this category.
  • A mandated elected school employee member category – members of this category may make up no more than one-third of the total membership of school council. The principal of the school is automatically a member of this category.
  • A mandated elected student member category (two positions) – members of this category are enrolled at the school and in Year 7 or above.
  • An optional community member category – members are co-opted by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or expertise. Department employees are not eligible to be a community member.
  • A small number of school councils have nominee members.

All Victorian government schools with a student cohort of Year 7 and above will have two mandated student member positions on school council.

Councillors are not permitted to share their role. Councillors are elected to council and are expected to attend all meetings and serve their full term of office.

While being the school captain, vice-captain or a member of the SRC can provide valuable leadership experience, no students can be offered a position in the student member category based on their standing within the school.

School captains and SRC members are not automatic council members. Voting for student leaders at the school, such as school captains and SRC representatives, is a distinct and separate process to voting for student school council members.

Any student interested in being a student member of their school council is required to run for election like other council members.

Generally, the term of office for all council members is two years. The term of office of half the members in each category expires each year, creating vacancies for the annual school council elections.

Students voted onto council will be elected to council for a two-year term of office.

It is likely that one student is elected each year, providing a rotation of membership each year.

Now that the student membership category has been established, it is likely that one student will be elected each year. If a student member resigns prior to the end of their term of office, a casual vacancy is created.

The casual vacancy is filled through the co-option process by school council.

The principal will issue a Notice of Election and Call for Nominations following the start of Term 1 each year.

If you decide to stand for election, you can arrange for a student in Year 7 or above at your school to nominate you as a candidate or you can nominate yourself (self-nomination) for the student category.

Once the Nomination form is completed, it should be returned to the principal within the stated time. You will receive a Nomination Form Receipt following the receipt of the completed nomination.

Campaign literature supporting student member candidates for school council elections may only be distributed and posted in certain places and times as designated by the principal of your school. School resources may not be used to support candidates.

The principal may invite candidates to prepare a brief written statement to be distributed with each ballot paper. The length of the candidate statement is specified by the principal and is usually no longer than 150 words.

If one student vacancy is available and only one student nominated, then the student is duly elected.

Unlike the parent or school employee member categories, if two student member positions are available and in the first call for nominations only one nomination is received, the student is not automatically declared elected. The principal will immediately post, in a prominent place in the school, a notice calling for further nominations. These nominations are to be received within three school days from the closing of the first call for nominations.

If after the second call for nominations one other nomination is received, then both students are appointed to council.

After the second call for nominations if the total number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies then all nominees will go to ballot. The two students with the most votes will serve as the student members on school council.

If the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacant positions, a ballot will be held.

Student names will be listed in random order on the voting/ballot paper.

The principal may invite candidates to prepare a brief written statement to be distributed with each ballot paper. The candidate statements will be placed in the same order as listed on the ballot papers.

At least seven days before the date fixed for the closure of the ballot, the principal will arrange delivery of the ballot papers.

A securely sealed ballot box or boxes in the case of multiple school campuses will be available for the casting of votes at the school between the hours of 8.00am and 4.00pm on every school day up to and including the day of the closure of the ballot.

A voter must not vote more than once in a ballot and may either post the vote back to the school or deliver the completed ballot paper to the school. The principal or school staff will provide advice on how to return the completed ballot paper.

School councils must meet at least eight times a year and at least once per school term. The president chairs all meetings and all members of the council are expected to attend.

Councillors can attend meetings in person or by videoconferencing or teleconferencing.

Following the school council elections, council members will determine an appropriate time and location to hold meetings throughout the year. For example, council may agree that meetings will take place on the first Wednesday of each month in the school library.

For most school councils, meetings are located at the school and are held in the evening to ensure the majority of members can attend. Meetings typically last for around 2.5 hours.

You will need to discuss and arrange transport options to and from the meeting with your parent or carer.

The school council does not provide transport.

The principal, in consultation with the school council president, will ensure an agenda is prepared for each regular meeting and will distribute the agenda, draft minutes from the previous meeting and meeting papers such as subcommittee reports, principal’s and president’s report to school council members. These documents will be provided approximately five days before the meeting. All members, including student members are expected to read all documents and prepare in advance of each meeting.

If you, as a member of council, or your immediate family has a direct conflict of interest, including a pecuniary* interest in with a matter under discussion at a school council meeting, that member must declare the conflict of interest and must not be present during the discussion unless invited to do so by the person presiding at the meeting. The member will not be involved in any voting associated with the matter at hand.

*For this purpose, pecuniary is defined as: relating to or consisting of money.

If a member is unable to attend a meeting, an apology should be submitted to the principal prior to the meeting.

A member of the school council may apply in writing to the president for extended leave of up to three consecutive meetings.

School councillors can attend face-to-face training offered statewide. The training uses the Improving School Governance package and is at no cost to school council members. Training is available in the following modules for students: Governance, Strategic Planning, and Finance.

Students are encouraged to attend the training offered by the Department in consultation with the principal. The principal is responsible for providing evidence of parent/ carer permission to the training providers should the student participate in training.

The modules are also accessible as online training. Participants can complete the modules at their own pace, in any order and are able to return to each module as many times as necessary.

To access the online training, see:
School Council – Training and Good Governance on the Department’s website

A school council cannot issue instructions to teachers regarding their professional duties, or to employees of the Department in respect of their duties at the school. That role is the responsibility of the principal. If a school council has developed a school policy on certain matters and that policy is consistent with Department policy the council can expect the school staff will implement the policy.

For more information on the roles and responsibilities of school councillors, see: School Council – Powers and Function on the Department’s website

INFORMATION FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN SEEKING ELECTION TO SCHOOL COUNCIL

All government schools in Victoria have a school council. They have legally constituted bodies that are given powers to set the broad direction of a school, in accordance with Ministerial Order 1280 Constitution of Government School Councils, and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. In doing this, a school council is able to directly influence the quality of education that the school provides for its students.

For all schools with a student cohort of Year 7 and above, there are several possible categories of school council membership:

  • A mandated elected parent member category – more than one-third of the total members must be from this category. Parents and carers of children attending the school are eligible for membership in this category.
  • A mandated elected school employee member category – members of this category may make up no more than one-third of the total membership of school council. The principal of the school is automatically a member of this category.
  • A mandated elected student member category (two positions) – members of this category are enrolled at the school and in Year 7 or above.
  • An optional community member category – members are co-opted by a decision of the council because of their special skills, interests or expertise. Department employees are not eligible to be a community member.
  • A small number of school councils have nominee members.

Generally, the term of office for all council members is two years. The term of office of half the members in each category expires each year, creating vacancies for the annual school council elections.

Students voted onto council will be elected to council for a two-year term of office.

Students have a unique perspective on learning, teaching and schools. Having student members on school council allows students to have a say in the future direction of their school and ensures student input into decision-making.

Student representation on secondary school councils will assist in the development of students’ skills, including leadership skills and communication skills.

Each member brings their own valuable skills and knowledge to the role. However, councillors may need to develop skills and acquire knowledge in areas that are unfamiliar to them in order to perform their duties as a councillor.

Student members are encouraged to acquire this knowledge by attending the Department’s free face-to-face Improving School Governance school council training to support them to undertake their role.

For online training options, see:
School Council – Training and Good Governance on the Department’s website

The principal will issue a Notice of Election and Call for Nominations following the start of Term 1 each year.

If your child decides to stand for election, they can arrange for a student in Year 7 or above to nominate them as a candidate or they can nominate themselves for the student member category.
Once the nomination form is completed, it should be returned to the principal within the time stated on the Notice of Election. A Nomination Form Receipt will be issued following the receipt of the completed nomination.

If one student vacancy is available and one student nominates, then the student is duly elected.

Unlike the parent or school employee member categories, if two student member positions are available and in the first call for nominations only one nomination is received, the student is not automatically declared elected. The principal will immediately post, in a prominent place in the school, a notice calling for further nominations. These nominations are to be received within three school days from the closing of the first call for nominations.

If after the second call for nominations one other nomination is received, then both students are appointed to council.

If there are more nominations received than there are vacancies on council, a ballot will be conducted during the two weeks after the call for nominations has closed.

The principal will distribute ballot papers and will provide clear instructions to the voters and candidates. Voters may only vote once in a ballot. The two candidates with the highest number of votes will be elected to council.

School councils must meet at least eight times a year and at least once per school term. The president chairs all meetings and all members of the council are expected to attend.

Councillors can attend meetings in person or by videoconferencing or teleconferencing.

Following the school council elections, council members will determine an appropriate time and location to hold meetings throughout the year. For example, council may agree that meetings will take place on the first Wednesday of each month in the school library.

For most school councils, meetings are located at the school and are held in the evening to ensure the majority of members can attend. Meetings typically last for around 2.5 hours.

You will need to discuss and arrange transport options to and from the meeting with your child. The school council does not provide transport.

The principal, in consultation with the school council president, will ensure an agenda is prepared for each regular meeting and will distribute the agenda, draft minutes from the previous meeting and meeting papers such as subcommittee reports, principal’s and president’s report to school council members. These documents will be distributed approximately five days before the meeting. All members, including student members are expected to read all documents and prepare in advance of each meeting.

If your child, as a member of council, or their immediate family has a direct conflict of interest, including a pecuniary* interest, in a matter under discussion at a school council meeting, that member must declare the conflict of interest and must not be present during the discussion unless invited to do so by the person presiding at the meeting. The member will not be involved in any voting associated with the matter at hand.

*For this purpose, pecuniary is defined as: relating to or consisting of money.

School council meetings are normally open to the school community. Visitors or observers can be present at a council meeting with prior agreement of the principal and a decision of council. A request to attend must be forwarded either to the principal or president.

There may be times when, for the purpose of confidentiality or other reasons, a council meeting needs to be closed and only the appointed members can attend.

Yes, relatives are allowed to be members of the same council.

If a member is unable to attend a meeting, an apology should be submitted to the principal prior to the meeting.

A member of the school council may apply in writing to the president for extended leave of up to three consecutive meetings.

The Department strongly encourages students to consider the time commitment of being on council prior to running for election.
Your child should discuss resigning from council with the principal or school council president.

A school councillor is required to formally submit their resignation from council in writing to the principal, in order to no longer be considered a member.

School councils in Victoria are public entities as defined by the Public Administration Act 2004.

School councillors must abide by the Code of Conduct for Directors of Victorian Public Entities issued by the Victorian Public Sector Commission. The Code of Conduct is based on the Victorian public sector values and requires councillors to:

  • act with honesty and integrity – be truthful, open and clear about their motives and declare any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest and duty
  • act in good faith in the best interests of the school – work cooperatively with other councillors and the school community, be reasonable, and make all decisions with the best interests of students foremost in their minds
  • act fairly and impartially– consider all relevant facts of an issue before making a decision, seek to have a balanced view, never give special treatment to a person or group and never act from self-interest
  • use information appropriately – respect confidentiality and use the information for the purpose for which it was made available
  • exercise due care, diligence and skill – accept responsibility for decisions and do what is best for the school
  • use the position appropriately– not use the position as a councillor to gain an advantage
  • act in a financially responsible manner – observe all the above principles when making financial decisions
  • comply with relevant legislation and policies – know what legislation and policies are relevant for which decisions and obey the law
  • demonstrate leadership and stewardship – set a good example, encourage a culture of accountability, manage risks effectively, exercise care and responsibility to keep the school strong and sustainable

School councillors are indemnified against any liability in respect of any loss or damage suffered by the council or any other person in respect of anything necessarily or reasonably done, or omitted to be done by the councillor in good faith in:

a. the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a councillor, or
b. the reasonable belief that the act or omission was in the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a council.

In other words, school councillors are not legally liable for any loss or damage suffered by council or others as a result of reasonable actions taken in good faith.

For further information please contact the school principal.