Daylesford Dharma School is operated through a 3 tiered governance and management structure. This structure will be used as a template for implementation to meet the management needs of a rapidly developing school student population.
The first level of Governance is provided by the Spiritual Mentor, Honorary President and Honorary Chairperson who act as an over-arching guidance for philosophical development. These three mentor positions are held by:
- Spiritual Mentor – His Holiness Dalai Lama, Buddhist representative;
- Honorary President – Venerable Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche, Essential Education representative; and
- Honorary Chairperson – Venerable Geshe Konchok Tsering, School Founder.
From time to time the Board of Governance will meet with its Spiritual Mentor and Honorary President to request guidance, direction and affirmation in matters relating to the Buddhist philosophical principles that underpin the foundation of the school culture.
The Board of Governance will assess the school’s functioning and accountability informed by the high level of ethical conduct and integrity expected by our philosophical mentors in combination with fulfilling its legal and statutory obligations as set out by the Australian Government and the Victorian State Government in compliance with the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority.
In matters of both school philosophy and culture, the Board will regularly communicate with its Honorary Chairperson, Geshe Konchok Tsering as additional support for its vigilance in philosophical and developmental integrity.
School Board of Governance
The second layer of governance will be provided by the Board of Governance which will comprise at least 5 members who will also represent the Committee of Management for the school’s legal entity – an Incorporated Association.
The Board has been convened and approved in consultation with the Honorary Chairperson. The Board will ensure that the school fulfills all of the legal, financial and educational obligations required to operate as a not-for-profit education provider.
The Board acts in a custodial capacity to ensure that the school’s mission and philosophy is actively reflected in the schools operation and within the school culture, through a process of evaluation and communication with both the school community and the school’s philosophical mentors.
The Board of Governance Directors are responsible for guiding and reviewing the school’s operations and ensuring compliance with legal, financial and registration obligations. It also appoints terms of reference and convenes the four Governance Committees (Curriculum Development, Programme Advisory, Strategic Development and Audit & Risk Management committees) and the five committees of management (Fundraising, School Community Welfare, Buildings and Maintenance, Special Events, and Parent–Teacher committees.)
The governance activities of the School are guided by the principles and practices of Australian Standard AS 4360:2007 whereby the various risks facing the effective and safe functioning of the School are considered.
Board of Governance Positions
School Director / Chairperson
Ensures school compliance with legal, financial and registration obligations; plans and coordinates governance and management committees; reports to and briefs the Board of Governors on all matters of school governance and management; initiates and reviews school policy, plans and procedures; convenes the teaching and staff appointments interview panel and co-ordinates school marketing, promotion and fundraising.
Acts as minute secretary at Governance meetings and coordinates and plans the Annual General Meeting and Annual Report.
Liaises with the school’s Accountant to develop and assess the financial records keeping system; oversees the budget and prepares regular financial reports for the Board of Governance and funding bodies and arranges financial auditing.
- Supports and coordinates the Strategic Development Committee.
- Supports and coordinates the Special Events Committee.
Fulfills the responsibilities of public officer as defined by corporate affairs and
liaises with corporate affairs regarding notifiable events and changes to governance.
Governance Committee Structure
There are five Governance Committees that will be established by, supported by and report to the Board of Governance. The Governance Committees are convened and appointed under terms of reference defined by the Board of Governors.
- Curriculum Development Committee – This committee comprises the Learning Manager, teaching staff, School Director and specialist educators. The committee meets on a regular basis to monitor and contribute to on-going curriculum development and twice annually or as necessary, convenes curriculum development and planning days.
- Programme Advisory Committee – This committee provides assessment, feedback and stimulus to the curriculum via appointed external academics, educationalists, and spiritual practitioners. The committee meets annually and is kept regularly informed and updated throughout the school year.
- Strategic Development Committee – This committee comprises representative members of the Parent-Teacher Committee as well as appointments by the Board of Governance to draft the 5 year strategic plan. It consults with and reports periodically to the school community.
- Audit & Risk Management Committee – This committee oversees the prevention and detection of risks across the school as well as guiding the school’s responsiveness to significant issues and challenges that arise. The committee comprises an independent professional who has experience in managing risks and auditing systems and processes.
- School Community Welfare Committee – This committee assesses and guides the school community welfare policy and programme. It also ensures that the practices for care, safety and welfare of students, staff and volunteers is in accordance with State and Federal laws and is reflective of the school mission statement. Included in this committee is the appointment of a Special Needs Coordinator with expertise in assessing specific education and pastoral needs of students and families. This committee includes an experienced Occupational Health and Safety Officer and teacher representative.
Management Committee Structure
There are four Management Committees that will be established over time, supported by and reporting to the Board of Governance. The Management Committees are convened under terms of reference defined by the Board of Governors and includes the democratic election of parents and teachers from within the school community.
Either the Learning Manager or School Director coordinates each of the Management Committees. These committees comprise:
- Fundraising Committee – This committee involves parents and community members and is coordinated with the school’s Grants Officer.
- Parent-Teacher Committee – This committee provides a pathway for input into the school vision development, assists in identifying and providing input into pastoral support programmes as well as organising school community gatherings and supporting fundraising events.
- Special Events Committee – This committee is convened as necessary to provide a pathway for interfaith dialogue and events, social justice and community awareness and service activities. Students will also be actively encouraged to become involved with this committee.
- Buildings & Grounds Management Committee – This committee is responsible for overseeing the maintenance schedule of the school buildings, grounds and equipment. It is coordinated by a registered builder and makes regular reports to the School Director and Board of Governance and provides in-put into the strategic development committee
The legal entity being utilised for the school’s operations is an Incorporated Association and is registered under the relevant Victorian legislation.
In 2011, the school was granted Deductible Gift Recipient status by the Australia Taxation Office.
Legislative and Regulatory Compliance
The school is required by Victorian law to be registered as an education provider with the Victorian Registrations and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and fulfill its legal obligations as a not-for-profit education provider.
The Daylesford Dharma School was granted registration status by the VRQA as an independent primary school on February 2nd 2009.
The school is also a registered member of the Independent Schools of Victoria association (ISV) and is a recipient of recurrent School funding through the Australian Government DEEWR and the Victorian Government DEECD and the Australian Government Targeted Programs.