School Advisory Board

Members of the school community invited to form the School Advisory Board meet monthly and assist the school leadership to ensure the school is faithful to its mission statement and to the diocesan mission – looking at the “big picture” and the future direction of our school.

The School Advisory Board is not directly involved with the daily operations or management of the school. These are always best handled by class teachers and the school Principal.

The School Advisory Board implement Diocesan school policies, school based policies and oversee the objectives of the strategic plan. Communication and collaboration with the school and parish community is a significant part of its role. The Holy Family School Advisory Board comprises the Principal, Chairman, Parish Priest, members of the teaching staff and approximately eight parents.

The Purpose of the School Advisory Board

School Advisory Boards within the Broken Bay Diocese are boards of pastoral governance. A model of discernment called ‘sharing wisdom’ has been adopted as the most appropriate form of school governance in the diocese. The School Advisory Board listens to the wisdom of the members of their community and their own board membership in order to know how best to lead and serve them.

The purpose of the School Advisory Board is to build, strengthen and nourish the school as part of the parish. The School Advisory Board is a structure intended to facilitate members of the school and faith community to share responsibility for the well-being of the whole of the school within the beliefs and values, teachings and traditions of the Church.

The role of the Board is one of stewardship -developing the school in all its facets ‘in trust’ for the faith community. As stewards, the Board is called, through the Spirit, to serve the faith community by caring for and developing its school community. In this role, members of the Board are called to servant leadership, collectively accepting accountability for the school’s well-being.

The School Advisory Board is accountable to the Bishop through the Director of Schools. Membership of the School Advisory Board is discerned by the local faith community and commissioned by the Bishop. The authority of the Board is not so much dependent upon a legal definition but rather on its understanding and practice of leadership and ministry in the context of Shared Wisdom. However, all involved with school boards need to develop an understanding of their fit within Diocesan and Parish structures, functions and aspirations.

Accepting membership of the School Advisory Board is acceptance of a call to the ministry of service within and for the educational enterprise of the Church. This ministry calls and requires the Board to fulfill key responsibilities.

Key Responsibilities of the School Advisory Board

Mission and Vision

The Board is called to take the responsibility to:

  • Lead the school community in articulating and developing the mission and vision of the school
  • Seek on-going opportunities to assist the school community to understand and strengthen the mission of the school and wider Church
  • Review and evaluate the mission and vision when appropriate
  • Celebrate and affirm the school community and its identity as a unique community within the broader faith community

Policy Development

The Board is called to take the responsibility to:

  • Promote and ensure the implementation of diocesan school policy
  • Adapt diocesan policy, when appropriate, to the specific context and culture of the school
  • Develop and approve specific school-based policy and keep the Catholic Schools Office informed of such policy development

Strategic Planning

The Board is called to take the responsibility to:

  • Collaborate with the school community to set goals within its mission and vision
  • Develop and oversee a Strategic Plan for the school
  • Establish its own annual operations plan

Support of the School’s Educational Leadership

The Board is called to take the responsibility to:

  • Act as a consultative forum for the Principal on issues such as: curriculum, finance, property and maintenance, administration, human resources, parent education etc and to provide timely, appropriate advice as requested
  • Provide avenues of support to the Principal and school executive for the management of the school through the establishment of a needs- based committee structure
  • Advise upon and monitor, in conjunction, with the Principal, school effectiveness within the cycle of school review
  • Provide affirmation and encouragement to the Principal and school executive
  • Assist in harnessing the expertise, talents and resources of members of the school community and wider local community for the benefit of the school’s development
  • Act as a consultative forum for the Diocese on system’s based policies and procedures which affect the school, e.g. Principal’s appointment, fee setting

Collaboration and Communication

The Board is called to take the responsibility to:

  • Support the Principal in modeling, developing and strengthening a school culture of participatory decision-making and collaboration
  • Establish and sustain avenues of consultation and mutual communication with those affected by Board decisions and policy implementation\
  • Use processes of discernment and consensus in all areas of decision- making
  • Communicate regularly with the Director of Schools on the positive and negative impact of policy implementation, through the provision of regular reports
  • Strengthen relationships between the parish(es) and the school through joint planning of school – parish initiatives

Board Sustainability

The Board is called to take the responsibility to:

  • Recruit, induct and regularly review its own membership in the model of pastoral governance, and within guidelines and assistance from the Director of Schools
  • Develop on-going understandings of the spirituality and practices of ‘Sharing Wisdom’ as the foundation of pastoral governance
  • Conduct its meetings within best practice of contemporary meeting procedures
  • Develop processes to assess and appraise its performance and hence discern its own training and development needs
  • Balance its commitments, expectations and ambitions with the demands on and needs of Board members in their own family and working lives.