Participation Council (MR)
The MR (Medezeggenschapsraad or Participation Council) fulfills an important function, in independently representing the interests of parents/guardians, students and teachers, and its existence is required by Dutch law.
It exists primarily to advise the school’s Senior Management Team on ‘whole of school’ issues and are required to critically assess proposals from the Supervisory Board and Directors, including legally required documentation and reports, as well as having the ability to raise issues directly with Senior Management. Whilst primarily an advisory body, the MR does have the ability to disapprove of some proposals before they are finalised, and does have some additional legal powers available if necessary. The MR meets at least six times during the school year, where the HSV Directors are invited to attend the later part of the meetings.
In its organisation, the MR is operated equally between parent and teacher representatives who receive formal training for the role, and is Chaired and Vice-Chaired by parent representatives to ensure its independence is evident. These positions are appointed from within the MR by its members. Members of the MR are elected following a location wide advertised process, and the results are then communicated to; management, families and staff. Representative seats are allocated on the basis of fair representation, as follows:
- KSS – One International Department (ID) parent and one ID teacher
- NSL – One ID parent, two Dutch Department (NA) parents, one ID teacher and two NA teachers.
- VHS – One ID parent and one ID teacher
- VNS – One ID parent and one ID teacher
The working language of the MR is English.
Examples of our work have included; review of the budget, the Annual Report to the Board, a review of the school trip policy and practices, a review of school communications with a focus on both content and method of delivery, Healthy and Safety practices and policy, a review and authorisation of the increase in ID school fees, a review of the schools initial response to the COVID-19 crisis, a review of proposed holidays and study days, a review of the schools internal formation plan, a review of current VOG practices and having worked with the Directors to improve practices around the collection of payments and internal administration.
Currently, among other issues, we are working closely with the Senior Management Team on the COVID response and risk management.
The MR are committed to assisting the school achieve its objectives, to hold it accountable where appropriate, and to seek to ensure effective communication, through joint working, yet maintaining independent and critical thought.