The School Advisory Council provides an opportunity for greater involvement of the local community in the school. The School Advisory Council enables a spirit of partnership to be developed within the school community and is constituted in a way that allows the various bodies within the school to be represented and to participate in the development of the school and its management.
The School Advisory Council is responsible to the Conference of Bishops through CECWA.
The Advisory Council meets on a monthly basis with an Annual Community Meeting being held once per year. At that particular meeting, a report by the Advisory Council Chairperson is presented and the Advisory Council Treasurer presents the provisional budget for the ensuing year. Also at that time, the election of members to the Advisory Council for the following year is held.
COMPOSITION OF THE SCHOOL ADVISORY COUNCIL
The School Advisory Council is comprised of the Principal and the Parish Priest as the ex-officio members, a parish representative, P&F representative and elected community representatives.
CURRENT SCHOOL ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS
|Principal:||Mrs Therese Bandy|
|Assistant Principal:||Mrs Nicole Crosthwaite|
|Parish Priest:||Fr Peter Porteous|
|School Advisory Council Chair:||Mrs Claire Swyny|
|Treasurer:||Mr Sam Berlingeri|
|Parish Representative:||Mrs Jenny Rea|
|P&F Association:||Mrs Alison Forde|
|Secretary:||Mr Scott Alderson|
|General members:||Mr Cameron Gerreyn|
The Place of School Advisory Councils in Catholic Education
The work of the School Advisory Council takes place within the context of the mission of the Catholic Church educating its young people in the Catholic faith and preparing them for full participation in society. Key principles underpinning this work are Partnership and Service.
School Advisory Councils enable a spirit of partnership to be developed within the school community.
They are constituted in a way that allows the various bodies within the school community to participate in the development of the school. School Advisory Council meetings are times when the local Catholic education community meets and works together for the holistic development of students.
Through partnership and the coming together of various people with a range of gifts and talents, the school will become a stronger community and be more effective.
The Second Vatican Council articulated a vision of Church as the People of God. The Church is not simply an organisation to which members belong.
Through Baptism, members are called to be disciples of Christ, listening to His word and being active in a life of loving service for others. They are called, also, to bring the Good News to all people. Through Baptism, members are called to share the responsibility of the Church’s mission to show the face of Christ to the world. All share the responsibility for carrying on Christ’s work today.
This vision of Church, as the People of God, invites members to take an active role in Catholic schools.
The School Advisory Council is one of the ways which allows parents the opportunity for greater involvement.
The School School Advisory Council member, by offering to be of service to the school community, enriches the school and contributes to building a Catholic culture which ensures the welfare of the community.
Structure of the School Advisory Council
School Advisory Councils are important in bringing together, in a formal setting, the significant parties concerned with the provision of education for young people in a school.
The School Advisory Council provides the opportunity for the local community to consider the needs and wellbeing of the school through:
- discernment and a spirit of cooperation;
- mutual respect and trust to achieve the common good; and
- co-operation, valuing others, listening to the community, having a clear sense of the purpose of Catholic schools and a commitment to building the kingdom of God.
The School Advisory Council should be a clear sign of the partnership between parish and school, parents and staff, the school and Catholic education as a whole, and the school community and the broader Church community and society.
School Advisory Council members should model their actions on the example of Jesus who came to serve, not to be served.
Role of the School Advisory Council for Diocesan Accountable Schools
The School Advisory Council is responsible to the Conference of Bishops through the CECWA for planning, the financial management of the School and the provision of advice on policy formation.
The overall role of the School Advisory Council is to help the school fulfil its educational responsibilities, in accordance with the constitution, the CECWA policies, guidelines and practices and diocesan guidelines.
Functions of the School Advisory Council
The School Advisory Council shall carry out the following functions in pursuit of its objectives:
- planning for the present and future operation of the school;
- providing membership on selection panels for the employment of school staff in accordance with the CECWA policy;
- providing membership on the panel which recommends the appointment of a Principal in accordance with the CECWA policy;
- disseminating information about the school and about Catholic education to persons and organisations in the local Catholic community;
- liaising in all matters relating to the financial management of the school with persons and organisations in the local Catholic community;
- managing all the finances associated with the school; and
- advising the Principal with respect to school policy.
The functions of the School Advisory Council may be varied following appropriate consultation and the approval of the Director.
Specifications of the above functions are given in the Constitution (Sections 13 – 16)
School Advisory Council Focus
The School Advisory Council (SAC) is entrusted with the duty of planning, on behalf of the school community, with the school staff (through the Principal) and with the CECWA, to meet the present and future needs of the students.
Although the SAC has no authority in the internal operation of the school, it is a legitimate function of the SAC to provide an advisory service to the Principal and staff with respect to policy development and review. In carrying out this role, the SAC is advisory: it does not have an operational or administrative role. The SAC's sole connection to the operation of the school is through the Principal.
The SAC has no managerial responsibility for the staff. The selection, appointment and review of staff are delegated solely to the Principal by the Bishop of the Diocese.
Membership of the School Advisory Council
Members of the School Advisory Council, as decision makers and advisors in Catholic education, show the value they place on the Catholic ethos by the way they pursue the school’s vision and aims. Members will support the school’s Christian community focused as it is upon the person of Jesus Christ and reflect genuine concern for the formation of students as Christian women and men.
School Advisory Council members receive no special treatment, favour or advantage from their position on the School Advisory Council. If a potential for a conflict of interest (personal, financial or professional) should arise, School Advisory Council members must declare their interest and not participate in the decision-making process relating to issues in which they have an interest.
An Informed Ministry
School Advisory Council members need to be well informed about relevant educational issues. They need time to think and reflect on matters to be discussed. They are obliged to prepare thoroughly for each meeting.
A Shared Ministry
Sharing ideas, discussion and recognising the contributions of fellow members as individuals, are essential. The teaching of Christ stresses the need for kindliness, courtesy and patience. School Advisory Council members provide a service in the Christian tradition and serve the school community according to their particular skills. It is a shared ministry which draws upon the shared wisdom of its members working together as Christians to support the ethos of the Catholic school and to provide for the material needs of the school.
Criteria for Membership of the School Advisory Council
Membership of the School Advisory Council requires:
- enthusiasm for and willingness to promote Catholic education;
- a deep interest in the welfare of all students and staff;
- a desire to give service to the Catholic school community;
- an ability to work cooperatively and constructively with all other members of the School Advisory Council;
- sufficiency of time to devote to School Advisory Council duties;
- an ability and desire to uphold confidentiality in School Advisory Council matters; and
- the possession of special skills which will be an asset to the School Advisory Council
Roles and Responsibilites of School Advisory Council Members
The roles and responsibilities of individual School Advisory Council members and office bearers are detailed below:
Role of Individual School Advisory Members
- witness to the ethos and values of the Catholic School.
- attend all School Advisory Council meetings and be involved in the decision-making process.
- prepare well for meetings.
- be informed about and develop competence in all matters affecting the School Advisory Council.
- respect the confidentiality of School Advisory Council meetings.
- provide advice, as appropriate, and engage with matters presented for School Advisory Council discussion.
- consider the long term implications of decisions.
- abide by the Code of Ethics for School Advisory Council Members.
- assist the Chair, Secretary and Treasurer as required.
- be a member of committees of the School Advisory Council or other task groups.
- bring to the attention of the School Advisory Council any issues or problems in the group or school which need to be dealt with by the School Advisory Council.
- attend School Advisory Council inservices.