The MR (Participation Council) has a number of rights and powers under the law. You can use these as a useful tool to get what you think is important on the agenda.
The participation council has four rights:
– Right to information
– Right of initiative
– Right of advice
– Right of consent
Right to information
The right to information means that the MR has a right to information. To know what is going on and what the choices are, you need clear, well-organized and comprehensible information. An MR does not have to wait for the management to provide this information, but may request documents itself for information.
The information the MR should receive:
Some documents the MR gets in writing from the management by default. Some of these at the beginning of the school year and some during the school year.
At the beginning of the school year, the MR receives at least:
– the composition of the school board
– the organization within the school;
– the management statute, and
– main points of the policy already adopted.
During the school year, the MR schould also receive:
– the budget;
– the annual report (before July 1);
– the principles used by the management in the exercise of its powers (good governance);
– remuneration relationships, and
– judgments of the complaints committee.
Part of the right to information is the right to clear, well-organized and comprehensible information. After all, some subjects can be quite complicated. Therefore, the MR also has the right to support in order to perform its function as well as possible, such as:
Training: to be able to do your job well, you may take courses (such as the course from LAKS, specifically aimed at students in the MR)
External expertise: sometimes subjects are so complicated or specialized that you as an MR member cannot work them out yourself. You may then hire outside help (for example from an accountant when reviewing the budget).
Help and advice from a teacher: sometimes an MR likes to have a teacher (who is not in the MR), who thinks along with them and can give advice. This too can be seen as a form of support. You can agree, for example, that such a teacher gets a few hours in his contract for that and the school pays for the hours that this teacher puts in the support.
For all these forms of support, the school management must reimburse the costs. There should be no discussion about that. So think about what would be a useful help for your MR and discuss this with your school leader.
The right of initiative
The right of initiative means that the MR may make proposals to the management and make points of view clear. The management is obliged to respond in writing within three months.
The formal task of the MR is to give approval or advice on proposals put forward by the management. But the MR is also the body that has eyes and ears in and around the school and knows what is going on. Therefore, the MR can also show initiative and come up with proposals and ideas to improve or change certain things at school. Do you have a proposal that you would like to have discussed in the MR? Please indicate this to the chairman or secretary of the MR!
The right of advice
The advisory right means that the MR has the right to give advice to the management on policy matters. Before the management makes a final decision, the proposal must first be submitted to the MR for advice. The advisory right mainly concerns topics related to the organization of the school.
A few examples on which the MR may give advice are:
– changes in the class schedule;
– changes in the policy regarding the admission and expulsion of pupils;
– arrangement of vacations;
– new construction or major renovation of the school;
– policies of the school;
– appointment or dismissal of the management, and
– appointment or dismissal of members of the board.
The right of consent
The right of consent means that the MR has the right to give consent to the management on policy matters. Before the management wants to implement policy, it is required to first submit this policy proposal to the MR for consent.
The MR has the right of consent on various topics that are, of course, about the school. The entire MR votes on some items, but on others the staff section or parents/pupils section can vote separately.
Some policy matters on which the whole MR may vote:
– changing the educational objectives of the school;
– establishing or changing the school plan;
– establishing or changing the school regulations, and
– establishing or changing rules on safety, health and welfare policy.
A number of policies on which students may vote together with parents include:
– the adoption of the school guide, and
– establishing or changing the policy on activities that take place outside school hours.
A number of policy matters on which pupils may vote:
– adoption or modification of the pupil statute;
– adoption or amendment of the policy on facilities for the benefit of pupils;
– adoption or amendment of regulations concerning the processing and protection of personal data of pupils, and
– adopting or amending the pupil participation policy.
Especially the pupil statute is a great opportunity to discuss school rules and other things that you as a pupil have to deal with every day. So make sure that the pupil statute is indeed regularly updated and includes topics that are important to the pupils: after all, you have to agree to them!
A detailed overview of all powers per subject can be found in the MR Handbook.