Governance Professional Learning Modules


Core business of school council


The role of school council is incredibly important and good governance demands structured system and process. When done well it provides an oversight of the conformance (government and church compliance) and performance (strategic vision and achievement of learning outcomes for students) foci of schools and therefore allows the management of the school to focus on the day to day operation and the core business of teaching and learning. When council understand their role and perform it to a high level, the principal feels empowered, staff are engaged and the school flourishes. Resources in this section support the development of this clear, shared understanding of the role of governance in a school of the Lutheran Church of Australia.

1 Understanding the core business of a school council     

2 Knowing the difference between governing and managing     

3 Policy on policies     

4 School policy processes     

5 Risk oversight     




School council membership


An understanding of the skills required for good governance from the combined membership of a school council can support the identification of new members who add to the combined skill set, assist in the induction of new members who have been identified, and nurture their ongoing learning.

Resources in this section assist in these processes as well as clarifying the role of individual council members, describe the challenge of identifying and managing conflicts of interest, and present a draft code of conduct for council members that guides their actions whilst a member of the school’s governing body.

6 Position descriptions of school council officers   

7 Membership skills and attributes   

8 Induction process for newly appointed school council members   

9 Succession planning for school council members 

10 Confidentiality agreement   

11 Conflicts of interest   

12 Code of conduct   


School council processes


The key responsibility of a school council is to make governance decisions. As such, a sound decision-making framework is needed to ensure there is a rigour to the questioning of management consultants, a reliance on quality data, and a decisive outcome that can be relied upon to guide the school in the direction of the council’s vision. Councils should reflect on their own performance as a governing body on a regular basis and set learning goals each year that support the areas identified as needing attention. Resources in this section cater for these challenges.

13 Asking the right questions   

14 Terms of Reference (ToR) for committees 

15 Decision making models   

16 Guiding standards for governing by Australian school boards   

17 Council review pre-reading   

18 Council performance reviews   

19 Performance review survey option 1   

20 Performance review survey option 2   

21 Performance review survey option 3   

22 Performance review survey option 4   

23 School council professional learning plan   

School council documents


High quality governance of schools is guided by policies and procedures. Samples of the types of policies and procedures that would assist a school council to operate efficiently and effectively are provided in this section.

A council member’s handbook is a great starting point. Annual council agendas, templates for principal and consultant reports to council, and some web links to other sources of resources are provided.

24 School council handbook: guide for content   

25 Annual forward agenda for school council 

26 Annual forward agenda for school council finance committee   

27 Sample meeting agenda for school council   

28 Principal's report to school council   

29 Acronym central   

30 Weblinks to access further resources