A Short Guide to School Governing Bodies


The governing body works with the headteacher and the staff at the school to make sure that the school provides a good quality of education for all its pupils. Governors work in partnership with the headteacher to set the strategic direction of the school. The school governing body is akin to the Board of a company.

Governing bodies in schools are accountable for:

  • the use of public funds
  • the quality of education provide
  • the wider contribution of the school to the community

Governing body membership is a combination of appointed and elected governors; governors usually sign up for a four-year term of office after which they may be re-elected or re-appointed. The number and type of governors varies; we have 9 governors.

The Legal Status of Governing Bodies

  • Governing bodies are set up by law as corporate bodies so the responsibility for the actions and decisions of the governing body lies with the whole governing body rather than individual members.
  • A governing body must act as a group. Individual governors cannot act on behalf of the governing body unless authorised to do so, or in special circumstances where emergency action is needed.
  • Individual governors are appointed or elected by specified bodies or groups but they are not delegates and are free to vote according to their own wishes.
  • Provided governors act within the scope of their functions and procedures, in accordance with the law and their instrument of government and with honesty and in good faith, individual governors will not be held liable if things go wrong as a result of the governing body’s decisions.

The Role of the Governing Body

model-of-governornanceThe main aim of the governing body is to maintain and improve the quality of education and the standards of achievement at the school. The Governing Body has responsibility for the overall strategic direction of the school and for the standards achieved. A key role of the governing body is to challenge and support the school leaders, holding them to account for tackling weaknesses and further improving outcomes for all pupils.

The role of governors is:

  • to provide a strategic view
  • to act as a “critical friend”
  • to ensure accountability.

Statutory Duties of the Governing Body

There are some duties, laid down by law, that a Governing Body has a responsibility for;

  • promoting community cohesion,
  • ensuring the health, safety & wellbeing of staff & pupils
  • setting the school’s aims, objectives and policies
  • monitoring and evaluating the work of the school
  • drawing up the School Improvement Plan
  • drawing up a post-Ofsted action plan
  • setting and monitoring the school budget
  • ensuring that the national curriculum is in place
  • setting appropriate targets of achievement at Key Stage 1
  • ensuring inclusive practice relating to special educational needs, race, equality, disability and gender
  • ensuring the special educational needs of pupils are met
  • appointing the headteacher and deputy headteacher and determining how the appointment of other staff is managed
  • establishing a performance management policy for staff appraisal
  • establishing procedures for the management of staff conduct

Becoming a School Governor

Governors around desk_Section BannersThere are over 300,000 school governors in England and they form the largest volunteer force in the country. To be a governor you do not need any specific skills or qualifications but you do need time, energy and a commitment to the education of children. In addition to this, attributes that make a good school governor include:

  • the ability to work as part of a team.
  • a desire to help the local community.
  • an external perspective.
  • a willingness to change assumptions.
  • the time to get involved.

As a typical school governor, you can expect to spend at least six to eight hours a month on your duties. Being a governor can be challenging but extremely rewarding; existing skills can be used but many new skills can also be gained.

All governors are expected to help the school raise standards and to support its ethos and vision. They are also expected to be loyal to their school and the community it serves. Anyone appointed will be expected to undertake training courses, as appropriate.

To be a parent governor you must have a child registered at the school at the time of your election. If your child leaves during your term of office you can still stay on as a parent governor.

Co-opted governors are appointed (and re-appointed) by the governing body and are people living or working in the local community.  Governing bodies often use this category to appoint individuals with specific expertise or ‘fresh eyes’.

Local Authorities have a legal responsibility to appoint governors, known as LA governors. They are the appointed representatives of Central Bedfordshire Council.

St. Georges Governance Pack 2017-2018