About This Module

MODULE 4 : Policy Development and Review



The goal of this module is for school councillors to understand their governance responsibilities in relation to establishing and reviewing school policies.


A school council is responsible for developing and approving a number of policies to reflect the school’s values and to support the school’s broad direction, as outlined in its strategic plan. Some of the policies are required by law and the Department of Education and Training (Department), however a council may develop other policies to address local needs. It should be noted that, the day-to-day operational policies and procedures in schools are managed by the principal and staff.

Policies are made available to the school community as a means to:

  • clarify functions and responsibilities

  • manage change

  • promote consistency of practice

  • meet standards

  • ensure decision-making is transparent.

Policy development offers council the opportunity to engage with the school community on matters of importance to the community.

Councils should regularly review their policies to ensure that they remain relevant and valid. As a result of this review, they may decide to update a policy, bring a number of policies into a single policy or decide that a particular policy is no longer required. A limited number of key policies are preferable to many.

The following information shows what the principal and leadership team, the school council and the school community are responsible for in terms of policy development.

The principal

  • advises council about the need for school policy to meet government policy or legislation and guidelines

  • contributes to policy development as a member of council

  • implements policy

The school council

  • determines the need for policy on local issues within its powers and functions

  • develops policy including consulting with the school community if required

  • regularly reviews existing policies