The St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar's School Council plays a vital role in the educational opportunity and outcomes of all students at the school.
In essence, the role of School Council is one of setting the long-term future for the school and maintaining oversight of the school's operation. Four of the critical roles of the School Council are appointing the Principal, developing the strategic plan, approving the annual budget, and setting and reviewing policies.
Our learning program is guided by our Vision and School Values which are embedded in every decision we make. These guiding principles, combined with adherence to contemporary educational research allow us to deliver a contemporary educational model that guides every child to discover their passion and achieve their full potential.
“To encourage children to strive to be their best self, now and in the future, for the betterment of all humanity and the planet”.
Our School Values of Courage, Curiosity, Character and Respect have been developed through engagement with key stakeholder groups (students, parents, staff, alumni and our Council) and sit at the heart of our education community, guiding every aspect of our learning and decision making. Our strategic plan was developed and is actioned through this lens.
St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar offers a range of governance volunteer roles including Council members and Committee members. These roles are available within the current Company structure including:
- St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar – School Council and committees
- St Margaret’s School & Berwick Grammar School Foundation Limited – Board and committees
The School looks for volunteers to contribute and share their skills and expertise to supporting the operation of these two entities.
St Margaret’s School is a Company limited by guarantee, trading as St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar, and is constituted as a not-for- profit (NFP) organisation. St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar School is governed by a School Council. The Governance structure, detailed in Appendix 1, sets out the composition and relationships for the:
- School Council
- Council Committees
The School Council
The School Council is made of up to 10 councilors based on skills and experience in a variety of fields including academia, finance, law, and various building industries. Up to four (4) members are appointed, up to five (5) members are elected and one SMS Alumnae representative.
The Council has established committees and working groups which are advisory bodies to the Council. They report regularly at School Council meetings and provide advice and make recommendations to the School Council, which has the final responsibility for decisions.
Committees and working groups are open to non-School Council members and therefore provide opportunities to involve people in the school who are not members of School Council.
- Finance, Audit and Risk Committee
- Risk and Policies Working Group
- Building and Grounds Committee
- Heritage Working Group
- Sustainability Working Group
- Community Engagement Committee
Each member is encouraged to contribute freely to discussions to enhance the strength of the group as a collective.
St Margaret’s School and Berwick Grammar School Foundation Ltd.
The St Margaret’s School and Berwick Grammar School Foundation Limited was established to co-ordinate philanthropy within the community.
It achieves this by raising and managing funds for scholarships, bursaries, building, and facility projects, over and above what is provided by school fees and government grants. The aim is to build a substantial endowment fund that will provide a source of capital to support the school’s mission and secure its future.
Skills and Experience
The School is seeking governance volunteers with skills and experience in the following areas:
- Accounting and finance
- Community Interest
The School seeks the following personal attributes in its governance volunteers:
- Support of St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar values of Courage, Curiosity, Character and Respect which have been developed through engagement with key stakeholder groups (students, parents, staff, alumni and our Council) and sit at the heart of our education community, guiding every aspect of our learning and decision making.
A high standard of personal values and the ability to respect the confidentiality of the organisation’s deliberations including:
- The ability to work positively, cooperatively and respectfully with others
- Demonstrating ongoing commitment to ethical standards and behaviours
- Proven abilities in working as part of a team
- Understanding and commitment to the core values and purpose of the School as set out in the Constitution
- Service culture/ mindedness: Fostering a service culture and supporting the common good of the Community.
- Commitment to serving the interests of the School and the education of young people
Roles and Duties of the Council
The Council is responsible for school governance which includes:
- Sets goals and provides strategic direction
- Appoints the Principal
- Appoints the Director of Business Operations in consultation with the Principal
- Determines the policies governing school operations
- Exercises due care and diligence in relation to all financial aspects of the School
- Approves the annual budget, including capital budget, and any long-term budgets
- Approves material expenditure outside the budget
- Conducts regular reviews of the Council’s own performance
- Conducts annual reviews of the School in meeting its objectives
- Regularly reviews the performance of the Council President and the Principal
- Establishes and oversees the powers and functions of all Council committees
- Manages risk covering all areas of school operation including privacy, Occupational Health and Safety, physical risk, security, etc.
- The Council must ensure it receives annual training regarding;
- The individual and collective obligations and responsibilities for managing the risk of child abuse
- Child abuse risks in the school environment
- The School’s current child safety standards and relevant policies and procedures with particular reference to AITSL and children of diverse backgrounds and those with a disability
- Council can view the relevant policies and procedures on the School’s website and are notified of any changes and updates to these policies.
The Role of Council is to ensure that the School’s fundamental principles embodied in its key values and vision are carried out and implemented. From the perspective of Corporations Law, the Council has the ultimate responsibility for all matters relating to the running of the School. The Council’s role is to govern the School but not be involved in its day-to-day operations and management. It is senior leadership’s role under the direction of the Principal to manage the School in accordance with the strategic goals set by the Council and under its direction.
Expressions of Interest for Governance Volunteers
Council Members and Committee Members
St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar holds an annual Governance Volunteers Information Session where interested volunteers are provided with information and an opportunity to meet with other volunteers.
Following that session there will be a call for expressions of interest (EOI), where candidates are asked to provide information on their skills and expertise and community (representation) links. The Executive and Governance Committee reviews the EOI responses and provides a recommendation to council for the allocations to a role as a council/committee member.
The School Council may appoint Council or Committee Members, at any time, to share particular skill sets and experience with relevant Governance groups. Under the School governance structure, the deliberations of Council Committees support the Council with its decision-making.
Council Members hold voting rights and may serve for a term ranging from 12-months to four (4) years for a maximum of four (4) terms. The terms of service for Council Members are generally aligned with AGM cycles, i.e. will often conclude or be extended from one AGM date to the next.
St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar School holds shared expectations across all governance roles for confidentiality and conduct standards.
St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar School is committed to providing a child safe and child friendly environment. As part of our Child Safety Program, all volunteers must complete the St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar volunteer registration process and provide Working with Children Clearance details.
Each Governance volunteer must complete the following steps prior to beginning their term of service:
- St Margaret’s Berwick Grammar School Volunteer Expression of Interest Registration process (see below).
- Complete and return the following:
- New Council / Committee Member Registration Form
- Confidentiality Agreement
- Conflict of Interest Declaration Form
- Code of Conduct
- Deed of Indemnity
As part of their induction, governance volunteers will be provided with the following information:
- The latest Annual Report;
- The latest Annual General Meeting Report;
- Committee specific access to the Governance Portal where documents are stored for Council and Committee meetings;
Please note: Governance volunteers are required to undertake periodical compliance training and development appropriate to their role and duties.
The School Council and Committee Charters provides more detail on the roles of Council and Committee Members serving on various Committee groups.
Pathways to Council Governance
Your first step is to submit a completed version of the Expression of Interest Form, together with your Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV), which will be reviewed by the Council’s Executive and Governance Committee.
Governance experience is a great opportunity to develop your leadership and management skills. Members of our Governance groups are eligible for professional development and training opportunities through Independent Schools Victoria (ISV).
Volunteers may initially be invited to spend some time on Committees as advisors. This offers a key opportunity to develop experience and share your expertise; it also provides a good indication of the time commitment required.
Meetings | Time Commitments
Council and Committees meetings are held from February to November each year. In general, these sessions are held on Wednesday’s starting at either 5.30 pm or from 7.00 pm.
Meeting calendars are prepared and distributed well in advance.