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Effective meetings School Councils

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Presentation on theme: "Effective meetings School Councils"— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective meetings School Councils
Explanatory Notes This presentation is intended to provide school councillors with tips on how to prepare and run effective school council meetings. Proper planning and running of a school council meeting makes sure that you get through the most important items, that the meeting achieves its purpose, that people are treated fairly and get an opportunity to have their say, and that the meetings are run in a professional and proper manner.

2 Planning for effective meetings
What do you want from the meeting? What do you need to achieve? Notifying people Who is invited? Set a date and time Preparation Make an agenda Decide what needs to be decided, what needs to be discussed, what needs to be advised Allow time for each agenda item What are the stages of effective meetings? Planning- it helps to think about the following: Why are you having the meeting? What are you hoping to achieve? What do you need to decide? When setting the agenda (plan for the meeting), put the items that are most important, or those that require fresh ideas and energy at the beginning. Urgent items should be put at the beginning, in case people have to leave early. People Who is invited to the meeting? Are there people other than school councillors who need to attend? What rules do you have about how the meeting is to be run, how to protect confidentiality and how to make decisions? Preparation- check the following Has everyone got their agenda and discussion papers (or notes)? Do the notes provide enough background information for people to have an informed discussion and or make a decision? Is more information required? Were people given enough time to read the notes? Could the notes be understood? Is there enough time to achieve all that is on the agenda? Are the most important items being dealt with first?

3 Effective meetings (continued)
Meeting processes Controlling the meeting Understanding roles Keeping a record Keeping notes from the meeting What to do with action items (decisions) Meeting processes Each of these questions needs to be answered: Does the chairperson know how to control the meeting? How can we learn more about effectively running a meeting? ( Is everyone clear on how the meeting is to run and what the rules will be? Is the process for discussion and making decisions clear? Keeping a record Is there a person appointed to keep the minutes (official record of the meeting)? Is there a process for following up on action items from one meeting to the next? You might want to keep track of action items by listing what is to be done, by whom and by when and putting this at the front of the meeting notes. It can then be checked at the start of every meeting and the item can be removed when it has been done.

4 Roles Chairperson/convenor Prepares and runs the meeting
Ensures the meeting stays on track and on time Secretary/recorder Keeps notes (minutes) during the meeting and writes them up after the meeting Meeting participants Have a say, stay involved, listen to each other Meeting Roles Chairperson/convenor Your role is to prepare for and then manage the meeting You need to make sure the meeting stays on track – this means keeping to both the subject (sticking to the agenda) and time allocated You need to make it clear to all members that the meeting is a process for receiving information and making decisions about items on the agenda– it is not a place for bringing up whatever happens to be on people’s minds You need to help everyone to be heard. Secretary/recorder Your role is to write down all the key points of a discussion and to record any decisions (action points) that are made You need to note who moves and seconds a motion (decision) and then if the motion is passed. Meeting members/participants A meeting is only as good as the goodwill and input of its members Members need to be prepared for the meeting (have read their papers), be prepared to have a say and to listen to others, to debate an issue and then to make a decision Members need to follow the rules so that everyone has a fair go and that the meeting achieves what it needs to.

5 Quorum A quorum is the number of people required to be present at a meeting before a valid decision can be made A quorum is achieved at a school council meeting if not less than one half of the members of the school council currently holding office are present and a majority of the members present are not DEECD employees A parent member who is also a DEECD employee is counted as a DEECD representative for quorum purposes In the event of a tied vote, the presiding member has a second or a casting vote. What is a quorum? A quorum is the number of people that must be present before decisions can be made. A quorum is achieved at a school council meeting if not less than one half of the members of the school council currently holding office are present and a majority of the members present are not DEECD employees. Any parent members on school council who work for the Department are counted as DEECD employees for the purpose of a quorum. If a vote is tied (the same number of people voting for something as the number voting against it), the presiding member has a second or casting vote.

6 Members’ responsibilities
Be on time or send an apology if you are unable to attend Listen without interrupting Listen to understand Think before you speak Don’t speak for the sake of it Be fair in your criticism Make sure you understand what’s been decided Members’ responsibilities For meetings to work it is important that all members: Are on time or send their apologies to the principal (as executive officer) if they are unable to make the meeting. Listen to all that others have to say – that means not interrupting. Think before you speak and don’t speak just because you feel you have to say something, or argue for the sake of it. Discuss or criticise an idea – not the person presenting the idea. Listen to understand – make sure you understand what has been decided or what is being suggested. If you are unsure, ask and keep asking until you do understand.

7 More on the people side Set and agree on the rules of how the meeting is to work What behaviour is allowed, what is not allowed Open or closed meeting Be clear on roles - especially the chairperson’s role Manage time And more on the people side of the meetings At your very first meeting, you may want to set ground rules for how the meetings are to work. You might wish to refer to the school council code of conduct shown on the DEECD website ( Note: this is intended as a guide only. You might want to have a discussion on what behaviours are helpful for a well run meeting (e.g. listening, questioning, working towards a decision) and what behaviours might get in the way (e.g. talking over the top of people, not saying anything, being aggressive or rude) While all school council meetings would normally be open to the school community, there may be times when the council meeting, or part of the meeting needs to be closed to protect confidentiality or privacy or for another valid reason. Should this occur, school council will need to approve a recommendation (called a “motion”) to go into a “closed” session. They then need to go back into open session once the topic under discussion has been concluded. If you are chairing or convening the meeting, you need to be clear that your role is to ensure the meeting keeps on track and on time, that everyone is given a chance to have their say and that formal recommendations are put forward for decision by school council. If you are chairing an open meeting, visitors or observers can be present with the agreement of the principal and a decision by school council, but they must direct all their comments through the chairperson. That is, they must ask the chairperson if they can speak before doing so. Visitors and observers have no voting rights.

8 The meeting itself Open the meeting Welcome everyone
Ensure people have received their papers Conduct the discussion See next slide Summarise the meeting Point out main discussions and any decisions made Close the meeting Thank people for coming Conducting the actual meeting – for the chair or convenor Open the meeting Start by welcoming everyone to the meeting. Check that everyone has received their papers and let people know that you are assuming that those papers have been read. Conduct the discussion See the next slide for tips on how to conduct the discussion. Summarise the meeting Summarise what has been said, any decisions that have been made or further actions that have been agreed to. Close the meeting Note the time the meeting closed. Thank everyone for coming.

9 Structure of a discussion
State the issue or topic of discussion Hear the facts Listen to people’s arguments, experiences, opinions Reach a conclusion on what’s wanted Make a decision Record the decision How to structure a discussion State the topic to be discussed Ensure everyone is clear about the matter being discussed. Hear the facts If there are any facts that people have, make sure they get heard first. Listen to people’s arguments, experiences, opinions Ask people for their opinions – what do they think, what has been their experience in the past etc. Respect differing views – people may feel quite passionate about some of the issues being discussed. Reach a conclusion on what’s wanted and required Bring the discussion to a conclusion. If various options or recommendations have been discussed, outline again what these options are. If agreement can’t be reached, keep the focus on the issues – avoid letting the discussion become personal. Make a decision When coming to a decision, usually a recommendation is prepared and then the meeting votes on whether or not they accept the recommendation. This is usually referred to as ‘moving a motion’.. The meeting may agree to get further information before it votes on a decision, or it may move straight into the motion to vote on a recommendation. Record the decision Ensure that the minutes accurately record the decision that has been made.

10 Minutes of the meeting The minutes of the meeting must record:
date, time, place of meeting, attendees and chairperson and apologies received agenda items discussed all decisions including the names of the movers, seconders and if decision carried or rejected time the meeting ended date, time and place of next meeting Minutes of the meeting/keeping notes It is the secretary’s responsibility to ensure that accurate minutes are kept of the meeting. The minutes must record: Date, time, place of meeting, attendees, chairperson and apologies received All agenda items discussed Main points of discussion and actions agreed on All decisions including the names of the movers, seconders and if the decision was carried or not Time the meeting ended Date, time and place of next meeting Try to distribute the draft minutes as soon as possible after the meeting to school councillors whilst the discussions are still fresh in everyone’s minds. That way any changes can be made before the next meeting when the minutes need to be approved as a true and accurate record of the meeting. School council meeting agendas and reports may be included in the school newsletter and website or on the school's community notice board.

11 Meeting checklist People notified - time, date, venue
Agenda set and sent in advance Discussion papers sent in advance with a recommendation on what is required from the meeting – e.g. For information For a decision- that is, a recommendation Check any actions required following last meeting A meeting checklist As part of your preparation, ensure you have done the following: notified people of the date and time of the meeting sent out agenda and discussion papers (notes) with enough time for them to be read before the meeting (at least a week in advance is ideal) checked any actions arising from the previous meeting – especially those with your name next to them!

12 For more information governance/schoolcouncils/role.htm (What is a school council and what does it do?) for Help Sheets on running a meeting

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