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Responsibilities – councils and site leaders

Governance vs management

Governing councils and school councils govern. This isn’t the same as managing. It’s more about guiding and setting direction. You don’t work alone when you are on a council. You and the site leader have shared responsibilities, but your day-to-day involvement is different.

Examples of different responsibilities – councils and site leaders

A comparison of responsibilities – site leaders, governing councils, and school councils
Area of responsibility Site leaders (principals/directors) Governing councils School councils
Curriculum Lead the development of teaching and learning programs, and set up timetables and teacher/class allocations. Provide advice to the site leader to make sure the curriculum offered meets local community needs. For example, a specialist program. Same as governing councils.
Student achievement Monitor individual student achievement against the department’s standards. - -
Student management Manage all areas of student wellbeing and discipline. Consult with the site's community to assist when policies are made or reviewed. School councils act as a way to provide feedback, but do not approve policies.
Staff management (example 1) Manage all department staff. For example, teaching performance, discipline and complaints. - -
Staff management (example 2) Day-to-day management of staff employed by the council, including performance management. Performance management covers dealing with allegations of misconduct or negligence. Overall responsibility and management of council employees. Same as governing councils
Staff employment (example 1) Employ the department’s teaching and non-teaching staff. Employ some staff. For example, out of school hours care and canteen. Same as governing councils.
Staff employment (example 2) - Take part in an interview panel to employ the site’s principal or director. Same as governing councils.
Big picture planning Carry out the initiatives and work towards achieving the goals in the site improvement plan. Work on the site improvement plan and set strategic directions. Work on the site improvement plan and provide feedback on the strategic directions.
Finance Prepare and supply financial reports to the council via the finance advisory committee. Review, approve and keep a check on the site budget. Review and keep a check on the site budget.
School councils do not approve the site budget.
Reporting Draft the annual report and share the information. Endorse the annual report and report to the site's community – and the minister – at least once a year. Endorse the annual report and report to the site's community at least once a year.

Other people/committees

Out of school hours care (OSHC) staff are managed by the OSHC director, who is supervised by the site leader.


Governing Councils, Office for Education and Early Childhood

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