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Governing councils roles

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There are 3 specific roles on council for schools and preschools. These roles are called office bearers. Site leaders (principals or 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 on council related matters).

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

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

To receive communication from the department, governing council chairpersons should complete the online mailing list form

Non-parent chairperson appointment process

At times a council may find it difficult to appoint a parent council member as the chairperson of the governing council. 

The Act enables a governing council, through the returning officer, to disregard this requirement if there is no other member willing to be the chairperson, with the approval of the Chief Executive (or delegate).

Council must follow the approved administrative instruction (PDF 100KB) and use the letter template (Word 46KB) to be considered for this option. 


  • 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're interested in volunteering for 1 of these roles on your site’s council, check 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 may 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 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).

Site Governance, Partnerships, Schools and Preschools

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