2024 School Council Elections

Election Stages

19th February - Notice of Election  - Happening now
If you are interested in being a member of our School Council, have a read through the information in this eNews for the catagory you wish to be a member of.  If you're happy to comply with the code of conduct for school council members, complete a self nomination form or if you are nominating someone else complete a nominaton form for the appropriate catagory. You can either submit your nomination via email hampden.ss@education.vic.gov.au or hand deliver to the office by the date below.

26th February - Closing date for nominations

28th February - A list of Candidates will be posted at school and in this eNews

8th March - If a ballot is required, ballot papers will be prepared and distributed.

15th March - Close of ballot

18th March - School Council Meeting: Vote count, declaration of poll, co-opt any community members and elect office bearers.


We have the following vacancies;

•  2 Mandated Parent Member's

•  2 Mandated Student Member's

•  1 optional Community Member

Information for Parent Members

What is a school council and what does it do?
All government schools in Victoria have a school council. They are 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 may directly influence the quality of education for students.

Who is on the school council?
For most primary school councils, there are several possible categories of membership;
• A mandated elected parent member category - members of this category generally comprise more than one third of the council’s total membership.Parents and guardians 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.
• 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.

For all schools with a Year 7 and above cohort, as we are here at Hampden Specialist School, there is an additional catagory 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.

Why is parent membership so important?
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.

Do I need special experience to be on school council?
Each member brings their own valuable skills and knowledge to the role, however, in order to successfully perform their duties, councillors may need to gain some new skills and knowledge.
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.

Code of conduct for school councillors
School councils in Victoria are public entities as defined by the Public Administration Act 2004.

School councillors must comply with the Code of Conduct 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 information for the purpose for which it was made available
  • 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
  • exercise due care, diligence and skill – accept responsibility for decisions and do what is best for the school
  • 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.

Indemnity for school council members
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:

  1. the exercise of a power or the performance of a function of a councillor, or
  2. 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.

How can you become involved?

By participating in, and voting 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 consider:

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

What do you need to do to stand for election?

The principal will issue a Notice of Election and Call for Nominations in Term 1 of each year. Council elections must be completed by 31 March, unless varied by the Minister for Education.

If you stand for election, you can arrange for someone to nominate you as a candidate or, you can nominate yourself in the parent member category. You can only be nominated by another member of the same category that you are eligible for (e.g. a member of the parent electorate may only nominate another parent of that electorate).

Department employees with a child enrolled at a school where they are not engaged in work, are eligible to nominate for parent membership at that school.

Return your completed nomination form 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 delivery.

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


  • Consider standing for election to school council.
  • Ask the principal for instructions if you are not sure what to do.
  • Be sure to vote if the election goes to ballot.
  • Contact the principal if you are unsure about what is required at any stage of the election process.



Information for Student Members

What is a school council and what does it do?

All government schools in Victoria have a school council. School councils are legal entities that are given powers to set the broad directions 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.

What are some of the duties of a school councillor?

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 operations.
  • 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.

Why is student membership so important?
Students have a unique perspective on education, teaching and schooling. Electing student members onto school council allows all 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 assists in the development of students’ skills, including leadership and communication.

Does my child need special experience to be on school council?

Each member brings their own valuable skills and knowledge to the role, however, in order to successfully perform their duties, councillors may need to gain some new skills and knowledge.

Student members are encouraged to attend the department’s free virtual live or face-to-face school council training, using the Improving School Governance modules and mini modules to support them to undertake their role. Interactive online training is also available.

For more information about training and access to interactive online modules, refer to the School Council – Training and Good Governance, policy (https://www2.education.vic.gov.au/pal/school-council-training/policy).

What does my child need to do to stand for election?

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 council meetings

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.

Conflict of interest

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, they must declare the conflict of interest and must not be present during the discussion unless invited to do so by the chairperson 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.

Can I attend council meetings with my child?

School council meetings are ordinarily open to the school community. Visitors or observers can be present at a council meeting with the 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.

I am a parent member of the council. Can I be a member of the same council as my child(ren)?

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

What if my child cannot attend a council meeting?

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.

What if my child decides they no longer want to be a member of council?

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 submit their resignation from council in writing to the principal for it to be formally accepted.


For further information please contact the school principal.