School Advisory Councils

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The Statement of Mission’s shared goal of supporting Catholic schools to be eucharistic in character can be achieved through the work of School Advisory Councils.

School Advisory Councils are an essential component of governing and operating Catholic schools in the Ƶ of Melbourne. They provide a forum for consultation and participation for parish and school communities.

The new governance arrangements were developed through a consultation process with priests, principals and parents around the critical role the parish priest and principal have in leading the school’s mission with the support of the School Advisory Council.

The councils are advisory and call on that part of our wider Catholic tradition that sees advice given in the framework of mutual respect, right relationship and hope: a foundation of our trinitarian faith.

Catholic schooling seeks to provide the young with the best kind of education possible, one that fosters a formation of the whole person that is deeply and enduringly humanising.
Statement of Mission)

The particular advisory responsibilities of the School Advisory Council and the principal’s authority in relation to the operational management of the council have been detailed through the provision of:

  • Working Together in Mission: Charter for parishes and schools in the Ƶ of Melbourne. The charter invites us to reflect on the essential foundations of what we are all called to be about.
  • Ƶ Terms of Reference for School Advisory Councils. Templates for each school to modify for local context to establish and operationalise their council.
  • School Advisory Council Manual. The Manual delivers an overview of Catholic schools and the context in which they operate, before detailing the principles that inform the role that councils will play to support Melbourne Ƶ Catholic Schools (Ƶ) schools.

A school environment that supports the Catholic ethos is largely the responsibility of the principal as educational leader and the parish priest as custodian of mission, and the work of the school staff.

For ease of use, reference to ‘parish priest’ will include priest moderator, parochial administrator, member of an association of canonical administrators or Archbishop’s nominee, including their role as custodian of mission. When used in all School Advisory Council support documents, ‘custodian of mission’ designates their specific role in relation to schools and their title in reference to their ex-officio duties on a School Advisory Council.

The School Advisory Council plays a significant role in supporting the spiritual and educational welfare of students through its support of the principal as delegated authority of the Ƶ board – the governing body, and of the parish priest as custodian of mission.

Members of School Advisory Councils in all Ƶ schools meet high standards of community, group and individual behaviour, and appreciate, value and share the educational mission and ethos of the Catholic Church.

Through a process of discussion, deliberation and consensus, School Advisory Councils ensure advice is authentic and congruent with who we are and what we proclaim.


The Ƶ office assists schools by providing services through the School Advisory Councils Secretariat located at James Goold House.

The purpose of the Secretariat is to support principals and parish priests as custodians of mission in their responsibilities related to strengthening the parish–school community through the provision of resources and advice in working with School Advisory Councils.

228 Victoria Parade
East Melbourne VIC 3002
Phone: (03) 9267 0228 or (03) 9267 0320
Email: secretariat@macs.vic.edu.au