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Roles Overview

Overview of Ministry, School Board, PAC, and School Planning Council Roles

Ministry Policy Site

This page provides a general overview of ministry Board of Education and school level responsibility for developing, administering and implementing education policies in British Columbia.

Additional information on ministry, board and school policy roles can also be found in: the Statement of Education Policy Order, the School Act and other related legislation.

Ministry Role and Responsibilities

In Canada, provincial governments have responsibility for education; the federal government has no constitutional responsibilities for education. In British Columbia, the Lieutenant-Governor appoints the Minister of Education, who is responsible to the Legislature for administering K-12 education system legislation.

In practice, the Minister has overall responsibility for the administration of Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) education, and presides over and provides direction to the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education has a substantive and primary role in determining education policies in the following areas:

  • Setting educational standards based on the outcomes students need to achieve,
  • Monitoring student performance and reporting the results to the public,
  • Working with schools and communities to improve student and school performance,
  • Allocating funds for the education system, and
  • Overseeing the governance of the system as a whole (see the Ministry's Service Plan).

Examples of ministry policy include:

School Board Role and Responsibilities

Sometimes, provincial authority for determining education policy is delegated to Boards of Education, which may further delegate policy development or implementation to individual schools.

School boards have a duty to govern districts and their schools in accordance with specified powers in a fiscally responsible and cost effective manner. School boards also have a policy role, which is to set education policies that reflect the aspirations of the community and that are consistent with overall provincial guidelines.

Some examples of where the Board of Education determines policy include:

  • determining educational programming for students in the district, which can include the establishment of "magnet" schools (i.e., specialty schools within the public school system like the Langley School of Fine Arts)
  • establishing a local school calendar that differs from the standard school calendar (i.e., scheduling vacation breaks, professional development days etc.)

School Role and Responsibilities

At the school level, school principals have the right to exercise professional judgment in managing the school in accordance with specified duties and powers. Schools may set policy that is consistent with provincial and district guidelines.

Within each school, principals also work with their School Planning Council, which is an advisory body. The major responsibility of School Planning Councils is to consult with the school community in developing, monitoring, and reviewing school plans for improving student achievement. Improving student achievement may also mean considering how to effectively implement ministry and Board of Education specific policy.

Examples of school policy includes school rules for student conduct and what is expected for parental involvement.

Other Policy-Making Entities in B.C.

For links to other policy-making entities in British Columbia, visit the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA), which contains policies for many of the province's Boards of Education. Or visit ministry links to individual School Board Websites or School Websites.

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