Requiring boards to combine in certain circumstances

The Education Act 1989 (the Act) allows the Minister of Education (the Minister) to combine school boards of trustees (boards). Currently, the decision to combine is driven by the schools, with the Minister establishing the combined board if certain conditions are met. The requirements for this are covered in section 110 of the Act.

The Education (Update) Amendment Bill (the Bill) will amend section 110 to give the Minister the power to establish a combined board where he or she has reasonable cause to believe that there are serious problems with the governance of one or more of the schools or institutions concerned, and that those problems could be addressed by combining boards.

The Bill also amends section 110A of the Act to provide that the Minister may require a combined board to have an alternative constitution if the combined board is for four or more schools.

Further information

When will these changes take effect?

The Bill is expected to come into force in 2017.

When could the Minister require school boards to combine?

The new power could be used in situations such as where a school or schools find it difficult to attract competent trustees to serve on the school’s board of trustees or sufficient numbers of people willing to serve on a school board.

Will there be any restrictions on the Minister’s power to combine boards?

The Minister’s power will be restricted by section 111 of the Act. That is, the Minister will not be able to combine a board that administers a special education institution with a board that does not. Also, the Minister will not be able to combine a board that administers a State integrated school with a board that does not. 

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