Australian schools are complex organisations. They fall into three broad groups: government schools, faith-based schools and independent schools. They can be run by governments, parents, appointees, religious institutions, corporations and/or charities. They can be funded by any or all of federal, state and territory governments, parents and fundraising from the public. They’re regulated by governments at all levels. Each state and territory has its own legislation, its own bureaucracies and its own peculiarities.
To help navigate the complexities, the Commonwealth Bank and Our Community have published a guide called “Damn Good Advice for School Councils: Twenty-five questions a school councillor needs to ask”.
The guide covers lots of ground and tackles questions such as:
* What does the council do?
* What if something goes wrong?
* Are we doing the right thing?
* What does “fiduciary” mean?
This guide can be used as part of induction training for all School Council members. For those who have held their posts for a while, it makes good sense to check how your Council’s operations stack up against the suggestions made in the guide.
Appendix A of the guide includes links to many useful resources, which can also provide opportunities to check against.
For Council diversity, Appendix B includes a useful Board Composition Checklist.
You can download the guide from here.