About school governors

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?

A person is disqualified from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor of a school if, in summary, that person:

  • is the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order; an interim bankruptcy restrictions 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;
  • is subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986; a disqualification order under the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; 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)
  • has been removed from the office of trustee for a charity by an order made by the Charity Commission or Commissioners or High Court on grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity, or under section 34 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from being concerned in the management or control of any body
  • is included in the list of people considered by the Secretary of State as unsuitable to work with children or young people
  • is barred from any regulated activity relating to children
  • is subject to a direction of the Secretary of State under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 or section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008
  • is disqualified from working with children or from registering for child-minding or providing day care
  • is disqualified from being an independent school proprietor, teacher or employee by the Secretary of State 21
  • subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has been sentenced to three months or more in prison (without the option of a fine) in the five years ending with the date preceding the date of appointment/election as a governor or since becoming a governor
  • subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has received a prison sentence of two and a half years or more in the 20 years ending with the date preceding the date of appointment/election as a governor
  • subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has at any time received a prison sentence of five years or more
  • has been convicted and fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on school or educational premises during the five years ending with the date immediately preceding appointment/election or since appointment or election as a governor
  • refuses a request by the clerk to make an application to the Disclosure and Barring Service for a criminal records certificate.