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Examples of governance structures – school and governing councils

Why each council’s membership can be different

The membership of councils at schools or preschools (sites) is not one-size-fits-all. Your site’s council has probably been set up to fit local needs. There are a few reasons for this, and more than just who is required to be on a council.

Your site might be small, large, have multiple locations, or have a preschool on site. It might be in a remote location, have a diverse cultural community or just have a large number of students.

To easily see how these differences can be reflected in the council’s membership, you can look at the scenarios below.

Questions or concerns

If you are concerned that your council’s membership does not correctly reflect the site, services and community you are representing please talk to your site leader (principal/director) or contact us.


Scenario 1 – large schools

An R to 12 school with 1000 students. Their size means they can have 3 staff members.  To make sure the council is representative of the school community, their council could have:

  • the principal (an ex officio member)
  • 3 staff members – one from years R to 5, one from years 6 to 9, and one from years 10 to 12
  • 12 parents – 4 from years R to 5, 4 from 6 to 9, and 4 from 10 to 12.

Scenario 2 – diverse communities

A school has a large number of people from a diverse multicultural community. Their council would have representatives from that multicultural community, to provide a voice for these families. This council could have up to 3 community representatives.

Scenario 3 – school with mostly adult students

A senior secondary school with 400 students that are a mixture of adult and younger students. The school has a rowing club which is organised through an affiliated committee. They are also a special interest technical school, so they have a community representative from the local TAFE. This school’s council could have:

  • the principal (an ex officio member)
  • 2 staff members
  • 1 affiliated committee member – to represent the rowing club’s interests
  • 1 community member – to represent the special interests and connections with TAFE
  • 2 parents
  • 5 students. 

The number of students and number of parents must make up the majority of the council members. Parent members are elected. Students are nominated through the student representative council or student association.


Governing Councils, Office for Education and Early Childhood

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