Parents Voice in Government School Education

Starting up a new Parent Club

If your school doesn’t have a Parent Club, you can start one!

First steps

Before you start on the formal procedure, do your networking with other parents. Make sure you have a core group of parents who are willing and able to form the first committee. You might get questions from some parents about the value of having a Parent Club – see below. 

The next step is to speak to the Principal. You will need at least 6 parents to sign a written request to the Principal for the formation of a club.

The Principal will then convene a meeting for the purpose of forming a Parent Club. The rules around this are set out in the Policy and Advisory Library.

The formal procedure

At first it might look complicated, but each step is quite simple if you have done your groundwork first.

You can contact our office if you face any unexpected obstacles.

The role of the Parent Club

You might find that other parents have questions about the idea of setting up a Parent Club. Here are a few of the most common ones:

“Don’t we already have a School Council?”

Make sure you’re clear on the difference between a Parent Club and the School Council.
Parents may ask, “Why do we need a Parent Club when we have a School Council?”
The two are quite different, although they should work together.

Read more in our Toolkit

“Why not just have an informal group?”

Some parents may feel that the formalities of setting up a Committee and registering a Constitution aren’t necessary. There might even be an existing informal group that does fundraising and social events.

We believe there are very good reasons to invest a little time in setting up a formally constituted Parent Club.

Read more in our Toolkit

“What do Parent Clubs do anyway?”

Our Parent Clubs homepage has a good summary of what Parent Clubs do, and you can read more details in our Toolkit section.

Formal procedure: frequently asked questions

Usually the process is simple but occasionally a “curly question” comes up. Here are a few, with our responses:

Are proxy votes allowed at the inaugural meeting?

The Education Department’s policy advice is silent on proxy voting for this purpose. Parents Victoria’s Governance Consultant advises that in these circumstances it is reasonable to follow Robert’s Rules of Order. 
Note this sentence – “Robert’s Rules of Order indicates that most organizations should not use proxy voting.”

It’s worth noting that even for School Councils, ISG Module 1, Governance p39 says:
“Decisions of the school council will be by a majority of those eligible to vote and who are present at the meeting, where the majority are non-DET members. A vote by proxy is not valid.”

Can we elect additional office-bearers at the inaugural meeting?

The Model Constitution specifies that a President, Treasurer and Secretary shall be elected, but also states that “Other office bearers may be elected as required.” It’s a good idea to consider what your future needs may be – for example, you might want to also elect a Vice-President at the inaugural meeting, to assist the President and fill the role if the President is not available at times. 

Is a secret ballot mandatory at the inaugural meeting?

The Education Department’s policy advice is silent on mandatory voting at the inaugural meeting. However, the “The Model Constitution (Point 11) says, “Voting shall be by a show of hands unless a majority of those present request a secret ballot.” This rule is meant to apply to normal Parent Club meetings, not the inaugural meeting, but it seems reasonable to apply the same rule.