1. Purpose


In today’s ‘corporate’ climate, the issue of ‘governance’ is a hot topic and one which every school must consider in the context of its own, unique environment. There was a time when for many schools, and corporations, governance issues were considered to be little more than warm and fuzzy ‘motherhood statements’ full of good intent but of little hard, practical application. Legislators, courts and insurers, not to mention the more stringent demands of stakeholders, have ensured that this is no longer the case and it is essential for any school or organisation, whether it be a major public corporation or a member of the “not for profit” sector, to implement and integrate good ‘governance practices’ throughout its organisation.

Independent Schools Victoria is committed to providing relevant and up to date information to Victorian independent schools and has prepared these guidelines with pro bono assistance from two leading Australian law firms, to assist prospective and existing school governing bodies. All reasonable care has been taken in preparing these Guidelines, however they are necessarily generic in nature and whilst Independent Schools Victoria is always willing to provide whatever assistance it can, where applicable members should seek specific legal advice.

In preparing these Guidelines our aims have been to:

  • provide an understanding of the concept of ‘governance’
  • demonstrate how governance principles apply in school environments
  • explain legal and organisational structures
  • provide guidance to prospective members of school boards
  • address frequently raised issues
  • assist compliance in meeting statutory and other governance obligations
  • contribute to the effective working of our Member Schools.

For ease of reference the word “Board” has been used to refer to the School’s governing body (e.g. – School Council, School Board, Board of Governors etc.). By whatever name, the “Board” is the group of individuals acting in a governance capacity.