School governors are volunteers who are committed to making sure that their school provides the best possible education for all its pupils.
Along with the headteacher, governors set the future direction for the school and decide how the school's budget should be spent. Governing bodies make decisions collectively on matters such as performance targets, school policies, the school's improvement/development plan, and the school's staffing structure.
They also hear appeals from pupils and staff and consider complaints.
In all types of schools governors should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
Different types of governors
Governing bodies are made up of different types of governors.
- Parent governors - elected from parents of children registered at the school
- Staff governors - elected from the teaching staff at the school
- Authority governors - appointed by the local authority
- Co-opted governors - appointed by the governing body to provide specific expertise
- Foundation governors - appointed at denominational or foundation schools to represent the foundation
- Partnership governors - appointed at foundation schools to represent the local community
Who is disqualified from being a school governor?
You are not able to be a school governor if any of the following apply, if you:
- are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or an interim order, debt relief restrictions order, an interim debt relief restrictions order or their estate has been sequestrated and the sequestration has not been discharged, annulled or reduced;
- are subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, a disqualification order under Part 2 of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, a disqualification undertaking accepted under the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002, or an order made under section 429(2)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986 (failure to pay under county court administration order);
- have been removed from the office of charity trustee or trustee for a charity by the charity commission or commissioners or high court on grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement, or under section 34 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from being concerned in the management or control of any body;
- are considered by the Secretary of State as unsuitable to work with children or young people;
- are barred from any regulated activity relating to children;
- are disqualified from working with children or from registering for child minding or providing day care;
- are disqualified from being an independent school proprietor, teacher or employee by the Secretary of State;
- have been sentenced to three months or more in prison (without the option of a fine) in the five years before becoming a governor or since becoming a governor;
- have received a prison sentence of two years or more in the 20 years before becoming a governor;
- have at any time received a prison sentence of five years or more;
- have been fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on school premises during the five years prior to or since appointment or election as a governor; or
- refuse a request by the clerk to make an application to the Criminal Records Bureau for a criminal records certificate.