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What a school council does

School councils advise the site leader (principal/director) about the direction and goals for a site.

A school council meets regularly to talk about the direction for the site. The timing of meetings can be different for each site, but is usually twice a term.

Your site – a school council or a governing council

Each site must have its own constitution. The covering page will either say ‘school council’ or governing council. If it’s not clear, you need to check with the site leader. The difference is important and changes how your council works.

How a school council is different to a governing council

Main difference

A school council is an advisory body. When you are on a school council you will only advise the site’s leader and will have a limited role in how the school is run.

What you do on a day-to-day basis is similar to what a governing council does, but at the end of the day, you are only able to advise. A governing council works together with the site leader and has some shared governance responsibilities.

Some practical differences

  • the site leader must call and hold, or chair, general meetings
  • elections for school councils can only be held at a general meeting, not by postal vote.


To quickly see who focuses on what, you can look at the comparison of responsibilities.

School councils as employers

Although a school council is an advisory body, you are still the employer for some of your site’s services. It’s a good idea to understand your role as an employing authority on a council.


Site Governance, Partnerships, Schools and Preschools

Phone: 8226 9617
EmailEducation.sitegovernance [at] sa.gov.au