Parent Council Terms of Reference
PARENT COUNCIL TERMS OF REFERENCE
WHAT IS THE PARENT COUNCIL?
The Parent Council is a body of parents1 chosen by the parents of children in each class to represent parents. It provides a forum for them to put forward their views to the head teacher and the governing body of the school & is a more accessible way to involve parents & allow them to help influence decisions made about the school, enabling them to make a real contribution to the school.
The Parent Council works in partnership with the school to:
- Create a welcoming school which is inclusive for all parents promoting partnership between the school, its pupils and all its parents
- Develop and engage in activities which support the education and welfare of the pupils
- Identify and represent the views of parents on matters affecting the education and welfare of the pupils
- Support the work of the SPSA (Sevenoaks Primary School Association)
The Governing body remains the decision making body and provides the strategic leadership of the school whilst the Parent Council has a consultative and advisory role. The following is a non-exhaustive list of matters on which the Parent Council will provide a forum for consultation and advice:
- Policies, procedures and protocols which affect the day-to-day operation of the school e.g. start and finish times, after-school club provision, uniform, extra-curricular activities
- Systems of communication between the school and parents on matters concerning the operation of the school.
- Matters designed to foster greater parental participation and engagement in the education of pupils by all parents, i.e. family learning sessions.
Some topics cannot be addressed by the Parent Council & should be referred directly by individual parents to the class teacher in the first instance or a member of the school leadership team (Phase Leaders/Assistant Head/Head Teacher). This includes matters associated with:
- School policies and procedures relating to general curriculum issues & details
- Issues relating to individual children or staff
- Individual complaints or grievances
How is this achieved?
The Parent Council will be the forum for gathering, discussing & conveying parental views to the school. It will be involved in identifying priorities for the School Improvement Plan & making recommendations to the Senior Leadership Team & Governing Body. The work of the Parent Council will complement the SPSA, the SLT & the GB.
The Parent Council will meet termly. Meetings will be minuted and made available to all parents, the Senior Leadership Team & the Governing Body. Meetings will be conducted in a positive spirit, be constructive and solution focused. The impact of its work and Terms of Reference will be reviewed annually by the Parent Council at the end of each academic year, initiated by the Chair.
Membership of the Parent Council is open to all parents and carers who have a child currently at Sevenoaks Primary School.
- One elected volunteer parent from each class
- One elected volunteer parent to act as Chair
- One elected volunteer parent to act as Vice Chair
- One elected volunteer parent to act as Secretary
- Head Teacher or Assistant Head Teacher
- Other members of staff will be invited to meetings as appropriate.
- Any parent is welcome to attend meetings in addition to the named year representatives/core group. (Please advise the Chair in advance via the School Office).
There should be a minimum of 1 volunteer parent representative from each class. In the event of a number of volunteers stepping forward for the role of Parent Council class representative, a class parent vote will take place.
Before the end of the academic year, the existing Chair will organise members of the Council to elect a new Chair and vice-chair whose function it will be to organise and guide the work of the Council in consultation with the school and the Governing Body. The term of office for each member shall be 1 year renewable upon further election.
In addition, current Council members will seek a replacement representative from their class or seek re-election for a further year. The school will invite volunteer nominations for representatives from the newly started Foundation Stage classes & inform the Chair by the end of September.
If a Parent Council member acts in a way that is considered by other members to undermine the objectives of the Parent Council, their membership of the Parent Council shall be terminated if the majority of parent members agree. Termination of membership would be confirmed in writing to the member by the Chair.
The minimum number of individuals required to constitute a Parent Council is 10 although there is no requirement for a quorum at any meeting.
The Parent Council meets every school term on a Thursday from 2.00pm to 3.10pm. Meeting dates are available on the school website.
The Chair will circulate a proposed agenda for the meeting to the Head Teacher and school offices with at least 7 days notice. The Chair will then email the proposed agenda to the Parent Council Reps plus any additional paperwork to cascade to their classes, inviting parental feedback prior to each meeting on the agenda topic and matters of “any other business” (AOB). The topics of discussion for the year will be cascaded to each class by the Parent Council Reps and are also available on the school website. Paper copies are available on request from the School Office for those without internet access.
Should a vote be necessary to make a decision, each parent member at the meeting will have one vote, with the Chair having a casting vote in the event of a tie. Any two members of the Parent Council can request that an additional meeting be held, and all members of the Parent Council will be given at least one week’s notice of date, time and place of the meeting.
All meetings must be minuted and a copy of the minutes provided to the Head Teacher for approval before publication. These will then be made available to the whole school community and teachers via the school website, the school newsletter & emailed to parents via the Class/Parent Council representatives of each class.
In order to reach a wide cross-section of parents from the school, surveys which may lead to a change of provision, i.e. school uniform, school dinners etc, will be conducted using Survey Monkey or similar website so that all parents have fair opportunity to comment. All suggestions for change will be put to the Governing Body who will make the final decision as to whether a change in provision is required.
AREAS INFLUENCED BY PARENT COUNCIL TO DATE
- Provision of Family Learning sessions
- Improved information regarding child’s progress & Parent Consultations
- Parent questionnaires (e.g. satisfaction, travel, school meals)
- How homework is set
- School Website content
- Security issues
- Bike storage racks
- Extra-curricular activities
- Healthier school meals
- Provision of an up to date School Travel Plan
‘Golden Rules’ for all members to observe during meetings:
- Respect confidentiality and never name individual teachers, pupils, members of staff or other parents.
- Support and be guided by the Chair of the meeting
- Keep to time and the agreed agenda
- Attempt to keep individual contributions brief
- Respect others opinions and ideas by letting them finish without interruption
Role of Chair
The Chair will lead the Council, setting & circulating agendas, chairing meetings, representing the group to the Head Teacher or governing body. They may be required to sign off minutes/other communications and ensure Parent Council keep to the terms of reference and adhere to the “Golden Rules”. In addition, they may be invited to produce appropriate material for Open Days etc, & assist with the design of surveys and questionnaires. They will positively promote the role of the Parent Council. Should a vote be necessary to make a decision, each parent member at the meeting will have one vote, with the Chair having a casting vote in the event of a tie.
Role of Vice Chair
The Vice Chair will attend & chair meetings in the absence of the Chair.
Role of Secretary
The Secretary will take the minutes of each meeting. These should be submitted to the Chair within 14 days of the meeting, where possible, for subsequent approval from the Head Teacher. The Secretary will be responsible for collating and photocopying documentation to be used at each meeting using school resources.
Role of Reps
The Chair will email details of the next meeting and discussion topic to all members at least 7-14 days in advance of the proposed date of meeting. Each rep is expected to cascade that information to their classes giving them at least 7-14 days notice and invite feedback/ideas and suggestions in advance of the meeting. Reps are expected to attend each meeting or ask another parent from that class to represent them at the meeting where possible. Reps are encouraged to fully participate in discussions and positively represent the views of their classes. When the minutes have been approved, Reps should forward these by email to their classes. It is the responsibility of each rep to maintain an up to date parent email list for their class.
Each rep will have the opportunity to raise matters pertaining to their classes under “Any Other Business” so long as it falls within the scope of the Parent Council.
The Chair may invite members to set up & attend sub-groups to assist with the production of questionnaires and other information for parents and the school. For example, review of the School Travel Plan, school meals review etc and report back findings to the group under the guidance of the Chair.
Any parent is welcome to join a working party sub-group without the need to be a member of the Parent Council. Please speak to your Parent Council class rep if you are interested.
1 The definition of a ‘parent’ is an adult including mother, father, carers with parental responsibility or care for a child attending the school