School Boards

The Education Act 2004 external link (the Act) requires that a school board be established for each government school. The Act describes the functions of school boards, including their role in principal selection, the constitution of school boards, the proceedings of board meetings, and the responsibilities associated with financial and reporting requirements.

The board is responsible for the school's strategic direction. Operational matters are the responsibility of the principal.

School boards must observe Directorate directions and ACT Government priorities and all legislative obligations.

The School Board Manual is a valuable tool for principals, school board members, assistant returning officers, and business managers providing information about school boards and their functions. Forms have been provided in word version to assist Assistant Returning Officers to manage the school board election process. These forms can be found on the School Board Elections page.

Role of the School Board

The school board is a formal mechanism for parents, carers, staff and students to participate in school decision-making. The following document details the functions of the school board and who is eligible to be on a school board.

Board appointed member

The school board may appoint no more than two people as board appointed members of the school board for a term (not longer than 12 months) decided by the school board. Board appointed members are non-voting members.

The school board may wish to appoint particular members of the school community as board appointed members (e.g. a school with an interest or specialisation in the arts may have a representative from a local theatre group or university) to ensure that the unique features of the school are represented.

Board appointed members should create balance to the school board and should not be used to provide additional representation from a particular element of the school community.

As board appointed members are non-voting members of the school board, they are not eligible for election as chairperson or deputy chairperson of the school board.

Appointed member

The Act provides for the Returning Officer to appoint a member to each school board, known as the appointed member. This role is to present an independent view to the school board, not to act as the agent of the Directorate.The appointed member is appointed without election. The appointed member does not have reporting responsibilities to the Directorate.

In accordance with recommendation eight from the Review of School Based Management, the appointed member should be selected, where possible, to complement the school board's existing skill mix, and broaden the governance capacity of the board.

Consultation with individual principals regarding the skills and interests of the potential appointed member takes place prior to appointment. The principal may seek to appoint a member of the broader community with a particular skill set (e.g. financial management) to enhance and improve the operation of the school board. This process ensures that the requirements of the school board are met.

The appointed member is usually external to the school community. The appointed member's term is for the prescribed period (no longer than 24 months). An appointed member may be eligible for reappointment following consultation with the principal regarding skills required by the school board.

The appointed member may be elected as chairperson or deputy chairperson of the school board.

Expressions of interest for the role of appointed member are sought from a wide range of private and public sector organisations for allocation to school boards.

The following form is used for appointed member nominations:

School Board Member Training

If you would like information about this please contact the Governance and Assurance Branch.

School Board Network

If you would like information about this please contact the Governance and Assurance Branch.

School Board Operations

Governance and Assurance Branch is available to assist with school board operations.


School board members are protected from liability under section 49A of the Act if they perform their functions honestly. Considering the context in which Directorate staff perform their duties, may assist board members.

The Directorate is guided in decision- making by a range of legislation which sets out the need for efficient administration, transparency, accountability and recognises the expectations and rights of students, parents and carers, and community members. Legislation includes that relating to privacy, freedom of information, financial accountability and ethical conduct.

Board members can seek advice from the principal of their school in the first instance. The Principal may then seek advice from the relevant area of the Directorate.

Conflicts of Interest

The following link explains conflicts of interest and how to manage them on a school board

The following forms are used for declaring conflicts of interest

Frequently Asked Questions

The Governance and Community Liaison Branch is frequently asked how often and when does a school board meet? How long is a term of appointment on the school board?

Answers to these questions and more are on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Other Documents

Contact and support

All School Board requests and queries should be directed to:

Governance and Community Liaison Branch
Education Directorate
GPO Box 158
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone (02) 6207 6846