Parent bodies make significant contributions to their schools every year.

In state schools, parent bodies are referred to as P&Cs, in independent schools they are usually referred to as P&Fs.

Not all independent schools have P&Fs. Some independent schools have different structures, such as parent advisory groups.

If independent school parents are interested in forming a parent organisation, QIS Parents Network recommends parents work collaboratively with the school principal or leadership team to create an appropriate structure.


Running a Parent Organisation

QIS Parents Network has created the below FAQ document guide which may answer some initial questions about the set up and running of a school parent support group.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a P&F Association?

P&F stands for Parents and Friends.

In state schools, parent bodies are referred to as P&Cs (Parents and Citizens) associations but in independent and Catholic schools, parent bodies are typically referred to as P&F associations. Parent bodies make significant contributions to schools every year.

Do independent schools have to have a P&F?

There is no legislation that requires independent schools to have a Parents and Friends Association and some independent schools don’t have these structures.

Some independent schools have alternative structures such as parent advisory groups, which work productively with their school leadership team.

If your parent group is wishing to apply for grants, some grants may require applicant organisations to be a legal entity so this is something to consider. Details of what is required will be detailed in conditions attached to grants.

If your P&F is established as a ‘charity’ you must meet a number of reporting requirements. (see more detailed information below.)

My school doesn’t have a P&F – how do I set one up?

QIS Parents Network strongly encourages independent school families interested in forming a parent organisation to speak with their school leadership team as a first step.

Deciding on the structure the parent organisation should take, how it will be governed and what its purpose is (e.g. fundraising / creating social events for parents / providing parent input to school leadership) are all decisions that should be made in partnership with the school to ensure good long-term outcomes for both schools and families.

Is there a governing or advisory body that oversees P&Fs in the independent sector?

No.

As each independent school is governed individually, either by its own board or by a higher governing body, independent school P&Fs operate individually.

There are many benefits to working collaboratively with your school leadership team in setting up a P&F structure. Having the support of your school will ensure that you can ask the school leadership team for support and guidance when needed. A school that has a great working relationship with its P&F will often feature and promote the P&F in official school communications.

What happens in the State Sector?

In the Queensland state school sector, P&Cs are overseen by P&Cs Qld, a company limited by guarantee and governed by a constitution.

State school P&Cs pay membership fees to be part of P&Cs Qld and in return receive benefits such as insurance for fundraising events, book-keeping support and HR advice. Many P&Cs run business at their school and employ staff to operate services like tuckshops, uniform shops and Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services, whereas in the independent sector, these services are typically run by the school or external providers.

Where can I get advice about P&F governance?

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network does not provide governance advice to P&Fs, but if your school is a member of Independent Schools Queensland, your principal can contact Independent Schools Queensland’s “School Services’’ team for advice and support when needed.

Are there rules around how a parent group operates?

There are regulatory requirements around some P&F structures. Parent bodies that are set up as charities must meet a range of reporting requirements, including submitting an Annual Information Statement to the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC).

The ACNC has a range of helpful information and advice for parents and friends groups to ensure they are meeting their obligations.

It’s important that registered parent bodies comply with ACNC requirements otherwise they put their charitable status and therefore their valuable work in jeopardy.

The ACNC has prepared a  question and answer fact sheetfor parent bodies  to help them meet their reporting requirements.

The ACNC website contains further information for charitable parent bodies.

What grants are available to parent bodies?

Grants are offered by a range of government and non-government organisations.

Some of these links may be useful:

Queensland Government – Funding, Grants and Resources

The Funding Centre

Grant Guru

List of grants at QCOSS

Where can I find out more information about P&F governance?

There are a range of resources available to support parents in the set up and running of a school parent support group.

Catholic School Parents Queensland has developed a range of resources that independent school parent groups may find useful in providing a basis for policies and procedures in key areas such as:

  • a P&F model constitution
  • finance and insurance
  • running a meeting