Document Type

Working Paper


Every State in Australia is moving towards establishing policies and structures in schools that allow for greater parent participation. Following is a summary of each State's policies in order to establish the context in which this study was deemed as significant.

Having led the rest of Australia in school council involvement in controlling school affairs, the Victorian Ministry of Education in 1983 formally recognised the important role of parents in schools. The ministry's booklet entitled Parent Participation, originally printed in 1985, was revised and reprinted in 1987. The introduction states 'parents have been recognised as partners, with teachers, in affecting educational outcomes, and have been given shared responsibility for making decisions about schooling'.

The Education Department of South Australia, in its policy statement on parent participation in schools, entitled Parents and Schools, states that: The policy puts an onus on schools to reach out to their parents to encourage involvement or participation in decision-making affecting the education of their children while observing the rights of parents to choose the type and level of their commitment.

Defining 'involvement' as the contribution that parents made to the life and business of the school without necessarily being part of the decision making process, and 'participation' as parents sharing with school staff and students in the making of decisions about school aims, policies and programs, the Department called upon each school to develop a policy which not only promoted and developed the role of parents in the school, but also enabled parents to participate in school decision making. The implementation of a plan consistent with each school's policy was due to begin in 1989.