Q: What is a school council?
School councils provide advice to the principal and school board. Every school must have a school council, and members include parents, the principal, a teacher, a student (in high schools), a non-teaching staff member and a community representative. The majority of members must be parents, and the chair must be a parent. Principals do not vote on school council decisions.
School councils are governed by Ontario Regulation 612, which sets out the purpose, membership and election requirements for school councils. Under section 2(1), the purpose of the school council is “through the active participation of parents, to improve pupil achievement and to enhance the accountability of the education system to parents.”
School councils are responsible for:
- Sharing information with parents and the community, and seeking their input on matters the council is discussing.
- Providing advice to the principal and school board on issues such as school year calendars, strategies to improve school performance, codes of conduct and dress, curriculum priorities, safe arrival programs, community use of schools and community programs provided at the school, selection criteria for principals and board policies that will affect the school.
- Many school councils are also actively involved in organizing social events for the school community and fundraising events.
Council meetings are open to everyone in the community, so you do not have to be a member to attend. It is a great way to keep up with what is happening in the school. You can also contact the school council if you have questions about how to get involved at the school or if you are looking for information from a parent perspective.
The Ministry of Education has developed a school council guide to assist school councils in their work.