FAQs

NT COUNCIL OF
GOVERNMENT SCHOOL ORGANISATIONS
Phone: (08) 8999 3255

FAQs

>> What is a School Council and Board?

In the Northern Territory  it is legislated under the Education Act for parent and community involvement in Government schools through School Councils & School Boards.

School Councils and School Boards have the same functions and responsibilities under the Education Act.

>> What is a School Council constitution?

The set of rules that governs the operation of the School Council.

>> How are members elected?

By parents and teachers of the school at the Annual General Meeting, held before 15 March each year.

>> What do School Councils do?

  • Approve and monitor the school’s annual budget
  • Tell the Principal what parents, families and the community think is important for their children’s education
  • Help to build links between parents, community groups and the school
  • Tell the school about things that might be needed for the school, such as equipment, buildings etc
  • Employ School Council staff, such as cleaners, gardeners and special teachers for things like art and sporting programs
  • Advise the Principal on the content of job descriptions for senior school staff and School Council employees

>> Does the School Council employ the teachers?

No. Teachers are employed by the Department of Education. They are not School Council employees.

>> Who can be on a School Representative Body? And how many people?

  • School Representative Bodies can have between five and 19 members
  • Half of the members must be parents of children who go to the school
  • At least one teacher (who teaches at the school)
  • The Principal
  • Teachers can’t be the Chairperson of the School Representative Body
  • Middle and Senior School Representative Body can have up to two student representatives
  • There must be one Pre-School parent representative if there is a Pre-School attached to the school
  • School Representative Body can invite up to five members from the community if they wish (including the local member of Parliament and someone from the local Council)

>> What do people do on School Councils?

Chairperson
  • Speaks for the School Council
  • Is the leader of meetings and makes sure everyone has a say
  • Makes sure the decisions made are carried out
  • Makes sure all parents know what’s going on at the school
  • Signs all letters from the School Council
Secretary
  • Distributes meeting dates and information to School Council members
  • Keeps a record of all School Council correspondence
  • Assists the Chairperson in preparing the meeting agenda
  • Takes the meeting minutes (the record of decisions made by the School Council at each meeting)
Treasurer
  • Presents the school’s monthly financial report, which details budget activity and expenditure
  • Works with the school’s Business Manager to draft the school’s annual budget
  • Presents the draft budget to the School Council for approval (annually)
Members
  • The members’ job is essentially governance, that is, making sure things are working properly (as opposed to making day-to-day decisions)
  • Contribute to the school’s Annual Operational Plan and Strategic Plan
  • Understand the financial reports they receive
  • Do what they can for the children and the school

>> What is the role of the Principal?

  • The Principal is an ‘ex officio’ member of the School Council, which means they’re automatically a member because of their position
  • Provide a full and open overview of life in the school to the School Council

>> How long can you be a member of a School Council?

  • Members are elected for two year terms
  • Members can be elected three times, hence they must stand down after serving six years, or three subsequent terms (6 subsequent years)
  • The Principal is on the School Council for as long as they are the Principal

>> How many times does a School Council have to meet?

At least eight times a year, including the AGM

>> What happens at an Annual General Meeting (AGM)?

  • The AGM elects the School Council members and office bearers (Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer)
  • The AGM also accepts the school’s audit report and appoints auditors for the coming year
  • Every School Council must have its Annual General Meeting (AGM) before March 15 each year

>> What is a Committee?

  • A group of people from the school community who agree to work on something the School Council is responsible for, like the canteen, fundraising, or the finances
  • It investigates things and reports back to School Council with its view on what should be done
  • Committees must be chaired by a member of School Council, and members can be from the School Council or the local community
  • Committees don’t make decisions – it’s up to the School Council to determine whether they agree with what the committee recommends

>> What does conflict of interest mean?

  • Simply put; if a School Council decision means a member, or someone close to them, might make money or get a job, this is a conflict of interest
  • In this situation, the member must tell the School Council about the conflict of interest at the meeting where the decision is being discussed
  • If this is discussed at the meeting and recorded in the minutes, the person may still be given the job if this is what the majority votes for
  • The person with the conflict of interest should not vote on the decision

>> Who is COGSO and what do they do?

  • COGSO is the short name for the Council of Government School Organisations
  • It works for parents and School Councils in NT Government schools, helping them to get organised, training people and representing them in dealings with the government
  • Regional COGSO representatives (from Darwin, Palmerston and Rural, East Arnhem, Katherine, Barkly and Southern Regions) meet four times a year to talk about their regions main concerns at COGSO Executive meetings
  • The COGSO President and other Executive members meet with the Minister for Education and the Department of Education each month
  • Each School Council should elect a COGSO representative, these representatives from each regions Regional Council, and meet to discuss the issues in the region that they think should be taken to COGSO Executive

>> What reports are available to School Representative Bodies?

The minimum suite of reports to be provided to school representative bodies on a monthly basis is as follows:
  • Global Budget Finalisation
  • School Employee Expense and Paid FTE
  • Corporate Expense Report
  • Profit and Loss
  • Balance Sheet
  • Profit & Loss Budget Analysis
  • Accumulated Funds Report
  • Overspend Report (Accumulated Funds)
  • Underspend Report (Accumulated Funds)
  • Receivables Reconciliation
  • Payables Reconciliation
  • Purchase Orders Outstanding

Additional reports available to school representative bodies upon request

  • Preliminary Global Budget
  • Employee Profile Report
  • Effective enrolment
  • Job Profit & Loss (Budget) Summary
  • EOM Checklist


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