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Becoming a school governor

School governors are part of a school’s governing body

Their role is to: 

  • set the school’s strategic direction
  • hold the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • ensure that the school’s budget is properly managed and money is well spent

School governors usually serve a four year term of office, but can resign at any time. If you become a school governor, you will be expected to: 

  • attend around three meetings of the governing boards every year, plus meetings for any committees you’re on
  • visit the school once a term 
  • commit to complete on-going training to continuously update your knowledge   

How to apply 

Contact the school to find out if there are any vacancies. You can learn more about the role of a school governor from Inspiring Governance and Governors for Schools

Types of school governor 

There are six types of school governor: 

  • Parent governors are parents of children attending the school and are elected by other parents.
  • Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing boards and usually have specific skills that will help run the school.
  • Staff governors work in the school as teachers or support staff and are elected by staff at the school.
  • Foundation governors are appointed by the organisation that supports the school: this is often a local church parish or diocese but can be a charitable trust.
  • Local Authority governors are appointed by the governing boards following a nomination from the local council. These are often from local political parties.
  • Associate members of committees will have specialist knowledge of a committee’s subject area. They are appointed by the governing governing board. 

Academy schools do things differently. You’ll find details in their Articles of Association, which you can get from the school. 

Who can't be a school governor 

You are not able to be a school governor if, you: 

  • are a registered pupil at the school
  • are under 18 at the date of election or appointment
  • have had your estate sequestrated and the sequestration has not been discharged, annulled or reduced
  • are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or an interim order
  • are subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 or under Part 2 of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1989(c), or a disqualification undertaking accepted under the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002(d); or (d) an order made under section 429(2)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986(e) (failure to pay under county court administration order).
  • have been removed from the office of trustee for a charity by an order made by the Charity Commissioners or the High Court on the grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity for which you were responsible or privy, or to which you contributed or which you facilitated by your conduct; or (b) have been removed, under section 34 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005(a) (Powers of Court of Session), from being concerned in the management or control of any governing governing board
  • are disqualified from working with children 
  • have been convicted of any offence within the last five years and been passed a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than three months without the option of a fine
  • have been convicted of any offence in the last 20 years and had a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than two and a half years
  • have at any time been convicted of any offence and passed on a sentence of imprisonment for a period of not less than five years
  • have been convicted under section 547 of EA 1996(a) (nuisance or disturbance on school premises) in the last five years or under section 85A of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992(b) (Nuisance or disturbance on educational premises) of an offence and have been sentenced to a fine 
  • refuse a request by the clerk to the governing boards to make an application under section 113A of the Police Act 1997 for a criminal records certificate

Governors’ Diversity Survey Report and Action Plan

The Governors' survey report and action plan 2021 on diversity within governing boards can be downloaded here. Many thanks to all governors who contributed.

The survey, held in spring 2021, indicates that while some governing boards are diverse in terms of membership and practice, to reflect local communities better there could be more Black, disabled, male and younger governors and practice could improve.

The survey also received useful feedback from governors about their experiences of governance, what motivates them, their challenges and what support they have received and would like to receive

The action plan identifies work that the local authority will do to address diversity and to improve support, in partnership with governing boards and schools.

If you have any questions, please contact Jane Wright.

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