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Roles on school and governing councils

There are always 3 specific roles in councils at schools and preschools. These roles are sometimes called office bearers. Site leaders (principals/directors) are always represented on the council as well.

Key duties of the chairperson, secretary and treasurer (office bearers)

Chairperson (including deputy chairperson)

  • chairs the meeting to make sure it runs smoothly
  • reports to the community at the annual general meeting (AGM)
  • prepares the agenda, working with the site leader and secretary 
  • acts as the spokesperson for the council (only for anything about the council).

Suggested template for governing council chairperson’s role description (Word 56KB).

Suggested template for governing council deputy chairperson's role description (Word 66KB).


  • takes minutes of meetings 
  • prepares and distributes the minutes and agenda 
  • keeps records (with help from the site leader)
  • makes sure people are told about the meeting ahead of time
  • makes sure the common seal is kept in a safe place.

Suggested template for governing council secretary’s role description (Word 57KB).


Suggested template for governing council treasurer's role description (Word 58KB).


If you are interested in volunteering for one of these roles on your site’s council, you’ll need to take a look at the eligibility requirements for the chairperson and treasurer.

Site leaders (ex officio members)

A site leader can be a principal or director. For sites with a school and a preschool, both leaders will be on the council. Site leaders are:

  • responsible for curriculum and discipline
  • ex officio members – because they are a site leader
  • required to be on the finance advisory committee, or have a nominee.

Site leaders (principals and/or directors)

  • present a report to each council meeting, including details about site plans and any other targets set by the council
  • work with the chairperson and secretary on the agenda
  • advise the council of directions and information from the department
  • act as the spokesperson for the site for non-council business.

Suggested template for governing council principal's role description (Word 58KB).


Governing Councils, Office for Education and Early Childhood

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