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General information for and about school governors

What do school governors do?

School governors:

  • promote high standards of educational attainment
  • set targets for pupil achievement
  • take general responsibility for the conduct of the school
  • manage the school's budget, including deciding how many staff will work there, and their pay
  • make sure that the curriculum is balanced and broadly based, in particular that the National Curriculum and religious education are taught, and report on pupils' achievement in National Curriculum assessments and examination results
  • participate in the appointment of senior staff (including appointing the headteacher) and regulate staff conduct and discipline
  • and draw up an action plan after an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted).
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Do you publish a handbook for school governors?

Yes.  The Department for Education (DfE) has released a new Governors Handbook for September 2014.  This is the fourth edition of the handbook which was first published last year.  Annex A (page 117) summarises the changes since the previous edition.

Governors Handbook - Sept 14 (pdf 1.6mb opens in new window)


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Can I access council policies for school governors?

Yes.  The page containing local authority-supplied policies and reports for school governors can be found by following the link below:

Council (local authority) policies for school governors

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Who can be a school governor?

Anybody over 18 years of age, with a the following exceptions.

A person is disqualified from holding or from continuing to hold as a governor or associate member if they:

  • are at any time during their period of office 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 headteacher;
  • are bankrupt;
  • are subject to a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 or to an order made under Section 429 (2) of the Insolvency Act 1986;
  • if they are subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors 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 492(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 Commissioners or High Court on grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement, or under Section 7 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990 from being concerned in the management or control of any body;
  • are included in the list of teachers or workers prohibited or restricted from working with children or young people;
  • are disqualified from working with children;
  • 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;
  • is under 18 years of age at the time of election;
  • and is holding more than one governorship at the same school.


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How do I apply to become a school governor?

Being a school governor can be a challenging and rewarding experience.

Do you have skills that could be useful as a school governor or just an interest in improving pupils' education?

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 appointed by the local education authority
  • being appointed by the church or charitable trust
  • or by being co-opted (appointed) by the the other governors.


Schools organise elections and tell parents and staff about them, but you can always ask a school whether there are vacancies now that need to be filled.

You can also complete and submit a local authority school governor application form, available to download below.

 Local Authority School Governor Application Form (pdf 71kb opens in new window)

 Local Authority School Governor Application Form (word 48kb opens in new window)


If you feel that this is the role for you, then please contact us.

Governors' Support Team,
East Riding of Yorkshire Council,
County Hall,
East Riding of Yorkshire,
HU17 9BA.

Tel: (01482) 392446

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Do I need qualifications to be a School Governor?

No. Schools need volunteers (whether parents or not) with experience of life, but some governors may have qualifications or professional skills.

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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.

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I am a school governor.  Where can I get information about school finance?

There are local authority documents and information available to school governors via the council's education website, eRiding:

eRiding Education - Governors' Finance (external East Riding website)

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