Supporting the independent education community

Workplace Meetings

Workplace meetings Workplace meetings do not need to be over formal, nor do they need to abide strictly by standing orders. However, it is still important that they are controlled because meetings that degenerate into an unruly free for all rarely achieve anything. Meetings must have a purpose and this purpose must be understood by everyone attending the meeting.

A good way to maintain some control is to appoint a chairperson and to insist that members can only speak when 'recognised' by the chair.

You should also ensure that minutes or notes are made and kept. This section contains a form for taking minutes, which can be photocopied for use in meetings. It also contains a meeting notification sheet and a form for recording attendance.

Chapter meetings are usually open to members. However if the chapter decides, they may invite non members to attend from time to time.

Principals have their own chapter and should not attend school-based chapter meetings.

Before the meeting:

  • Prepare the agenda
  • Arrange a suitable time and place
  • Notify and remind people to come
  • Allocate roles if appropriate (eg chair, minute taker, time keeper etc)
  • Prepare material for meeting
  • Have minutes of previous meeting (if appropriate)

During the meeting:

  • Explain meeting purpose
  • Explain procedure (eg speak through the chair, etc)
  • Outline agenda - get agreement
  • Hear reports
  • Have questions to improve understanding
  • Make sure everyone has an opportunity to be heard
  • Keep discussion on track and to time
  • Take notes/minutes
  • Use problem solving - facts, issues, option, action
  • Encourage consensus decision making
  • Ensure everyone understands what has been decided.

At the end of the meeting:

  • Decide on tasks to be done
  • Delegate responsibility for tasks
  • Make sure notes/minutes are written up
  • Set time, date and place of next meeting.


A motion is a proposition submitted to a meeting for discussion and vote. It becomes a resolution of the meeting if the vote is carried.

There are two types of motion, procedural and substantive. A procedural motion deals with matters affecting the conduct of the meeting, ie "That the minutes be adopted as a true and accurate record of the last meeting". Substantive motions call for action of some kind by the organisation. Elements
Motions begin with the word 'That' which is an abbreviation of the words "I move that....". Motions should identify four elements. Where the motion has come from, what the issue or problem is, what action is to be taken and who will take the action.

"THAT the All Saints' Chapter directs the IEU Representative to raise the issue of large practical class sizes at the next Branch meeting and request that the Branch undertake an audit of practical class sizes in the area."

In this case the sponsor of the motion is the All Saints Chapter and the issue or problem is large practical classes. The Chapter has told the Rep to raise the matter at the Branch level and request the Branch to conduct an audit. The intention of this motion is pretty clear, although it could be argued that some definition of practical classes might have been included to give guidance for the audit.

Ideally motions should be short and to the point. They should observe the rules of grammar and avoid jargon. Prepare a motion with care and if possible before the meeting.

Once a motion has been moved and seconded it becomes the property of the meeting. Occasionally there will be those who support the general thrust of a motion but who want to include something extra or change some part of the motion. To achieve this they will move an 'amendment', which is in itself, a motion relating to the original one. In the above example an amendment such as the following might be moved.

"That the words 'large practical classes' be relaced by 'practical classes in excess of 20 students'."

The focus of the debate shifts to the amendment that is put to the vote first. If it is carried it becomes the 'new motion' and debate continues. If the amendment is defeated debate continues around the original motion.