General information for and about school governors

Who can become a school governor, how to become one and other useful information about the role of governors.

What do school governors do?

Information about the role of school governor is available from the National Governance Association. There description has been published below:

Governor role description

For those governing in maintained schools

A model role description for trustees is available from

Governors work together to carry out their core functions:

  1. ensuring there is clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  2. holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils and the performance management of staff
  3. overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent
  4. ensuring the voices of stakeholders are heard.

Governors must also ensure that the governing body complies with all legal and statutory requirements. Governors should seek the advice of the clerk to the governing board and other professional advice as appropriate.

Governing body strategic responsibilities

Governing bodies work closely with headteachers and senior leaders. Headteachers are responsible for day to day management whereas the role of the governing body is strategic. As such, governors are responsible for:

  • determining the mission, values and long-term ambitious vision for the school
  • deciding the principles that guide school policies and approving key policies
  • working with senior leaders to develop a strategy for achieving the vision
  • ensuring that parents, pupils, staff and the wider community are involved, consulted and informed as appropriate
  • ensuring that all pupils have access to a broad and balanced curriculum such that pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their education and adult life
  • setting the school’s budget and ensuring it is managed effectively together with premises and other resources
  • agreeing the school’s staffing structure and keeping it under review to ensure it supports delivery of the strategy
  • ensuring robust risk management procedures are in place and that risk control measures are appropriate and effective.

Monitoring and evaluating school performance

Governors must monitor the priorities that have been set to ensure progress is being made by:

  • measuring the school’s impact and progress towards its strategic objectives
  • ensuring the required policies and procedures are in place and the school is operating effectively in line with these policies
  • evaluating relevant data and feedback provided by school leaders and external reporting on all aspects of school performance
  • asking challenging questions of school leaders in order to hold them to account
  • holding the headteacher to account for standards, financial probity and compliance with agreed policies
  • visiting the school to monitor implementation of the strategy and reporting back to the board (this could be in a link governor capacity)
  • ensuring that there are policies and procedures in place to deal with complaints effectively.

Panels and committees

When required, governors are expected to serve on panels or committees in order to:

  • appoint the headteacher and other senior leaders
  • appraise the headteacher and make pay recommendations
  • hear staff grievances and disciplinary matters
  • review decisions to exclude pupils
  • deal with formal complaints.

Contribution to the governing body

Governors should ensure that they are making a positive and meaningful contribution to the governing body by:

  • attending meetings (a minimum of 3 full governing board meetings and a number of committee meetings each year), reading papers and preparing questions for senior leaders in advance
  • establishing and maintaining professional relationships with senior leaders and colleagues on the board
  • getting to know the school, including visiting the school occasionally during school hours
  • undertaking induction training and developing knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis.


Governors should receive out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of fulfilling their role as governor and NGA recommends that a governing board should have such an expenses policy. Payments can cover incidental expenses, such as travel and dependency care, but not loss of earnings.

Who can be a school governor?

A governor must be aged 18 or over at the time of their election or appointment. A person cannot hold more than one governorship at the same school. Registered pupils cannot be governors.

A person is disqualified from being a governor or associate member if they:

  • have a mental disorder and are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983

  • have failed to attend the governing body meetings for a continuous period of six months, beginning with the date of the first meeting they failed to attend, without the consent of the governing body. This provision does not apply to the head teacher

  • are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or an interim 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 to an order made under section 429 (2) of the Insolvency Act 1986

  • have been removed from the office of charity trustee or trustee for a charity by the Charity 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 anybody

  • are included in the list of teachers or workers considered by the Secretary of State as unsuitable to work with children or young people

  • are disqualified from working with children or from registering for childminding or providing day care

  • are disqualified from being an independent school proprietor, teacher or employee by the Secretary of State

  • have been sentenced to 3 months or more in prison (without the option of a fine) in the 5 years before becoming a governor or since becoming a governor

  • have received a prison sentence of 2.5 years or more in the 20 years before becoming a governor

  • have at any time received a prison sentence of 5 years or more

  • have been fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on school premises during the 5 years prior to or since appointment or election as a governor; refuse to an application being made to the Criminal Records Bureau for a criminal records certificate.

How do I apply to become a school governor?

If you have an interest in education and the future of our young people, then volunteering as a governor is a fantastic way to make a huge contribution to our schools within the East Riding. In addition to helping drive educational progress and attainment in your local community, you will have the opportunity to develop and enhance your own skills which will also benefit you in both your personal and professional life.

You can become a school governor by:

  • being elected by parents as a parent governor. If your child attends the school
  • being elected by the teaching or non-teaching staff, if you are a member of the teaching or non-teaching staff
  • being nominated by the local education authority
  • being appointed by the church or charitable trust
  • or by being co-opted (appointed) by the governing body.

Parents and staff governor elections are organised by the school, please contact your nearest school for further information.

If you feel that this is the role for you and would like further information please contact Lisa Devine for an informal discussion. or apply today by completing our governor application form.

Lisa Devine, School Governance and CPD Manager

Tel: (01482) 392173

Do I need qualifications to be a School Governor?

No. Schools need governors from all walks of life with a wide mix of skills and relevant experience who can make a significant contribution to the running of their school.

We passionately believe that the best run schools are those with the highly-skilled governors who can both hold schools to account and direct their future path. It is essential that governing boards recruit and develop governors with the skills to deliver their core functions effectively.

How do I contact the governors at my child's school?

In order to contact the governors of your child's school you will need to get in touch with the school in the first instance and they will make the contact on your behalf. You will not be able to contact the governors directly, but the school will treat your contact in confidence where appropriate and act as a mediary.

If you need to make a complaint about a school and involve governors you will need to follow the school's complaints procedure.

Where can I find information on East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership?

The East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership website provides information on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the area:

East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership (external council website)

What information is available to support me in my role as a school governor?

HERE for Schools Governor Resource Pages

The HERE for Schools governor resource pages provides a vast amount of information to help you in your role, further information is available and will require you to login.

GAtHER (external website)

The Governor's Association through Hull and East Riding (GAtHER) are a small independent group of experienced governors drawn from governing bodies of schools across the City of Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire.

If you are serving as a governor in a school or college, here you would find information and support to help you in carrying out your very important role:

Governors Support Service

The governors support service can provide advice and guidance to all governors, please contact your Clerk or email

What training is available to me as a school governor?

HERE for Schools (external website)

The HERE for Schools platform offers a wide range of training for governors. Governors can search for relevant training, however, in order to request to attend an event you must login. Any requests to attend training will then be directed to your school for approval.

NGA - Learning Link e-learning (external website)

Governors of schools who have subscribed to the Governors Support Service Level Agreement will have access to the National Governors Association (NGA) Learning Link. Learning Link is an easy to use e-learning portal offering over 50 modules that will help governors with their professional development.

For further information and to register please follow the link above.

Where can I find information on education, learning and training opportunities for young people?

The Hull and East Riding Prospectus is run jointly by Hull City Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council, supported by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, and provides a prospectus of education, learning and training opportunities in Hull and East Riding for young people aged 14 to 19:

Log on | move on (external website)

Do you publish a handbook for school governors?

Yes. The Department for Education (DfE) publish a Governance Handbook along with a Competency Framework for Governance which can be accessed here:

Governance Handbook (pdf 1mb)

A Competency Framework for Governance (pdf 676kb)

Can I access policies for governors published by the local authority each term?

Yes. The latest policies for governors from the local authority can be accessed via HERE for Schools.

You can select a document to view using the 'download' link.

If you need a document to be provided in an alternate format please contact:

Amanda Hall-Miell
Senior Governor Support Officer
Tel: (01482) 392446


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