Constitution of School Governing Bodies

All Governing Bodies of community, community special, foundation, voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools can agree on a model for the size and membership of their Governing Body based on what best suits the circumstances of that school.

The size of the Governing Body can range from a minimum of seven to no maximum number.

Instrument of Government

The Instrument of Government is the document that records the name of the school and the constitution of its Governing Body. The Governing Body drafts the Instrument and submits it to the Local Authority (LA). The LA must check if the draft Instrument complies with the statutory requirements, including the relevant guiding principles for the constitution of Governing Bodies. If the Instrument complies with the legal requirements, the LA will make the Instrument. The Governing Body and LA can review and change the Instrument at any time.  For Church of England and Catholic Schools this will also need to be agreed by the appropriate Diocese.

Parent Governors

Parents (including guardians/carers) of registered pupils at the school are eligible to stand for election for parent governorship at the school. Parent Governors are elected by other parents at the school.

Staff Governors

Both teaching and support staff paid to work in the school are eligible for staff governorship. Staff Governors are elected by the school staff and must be paid to work at the school; volunteers are not eligible. 

Only one Staff Governor position exists on a Governing Body which will represent all teaching and support staff employed specifically to work at the school.

The Headteacher is a member of the Governing Body by virtue of their position and counts as a member of the staff category. If the Headteacher decides not to be a Governor, he or she must inform the Clerk in writing of that decision. The Headteacher’s place remains reserved for him or her and cannot be taken by anyone else.

Local Authority (LA) Governors

LA Governors are appointed by the Local Authority (LA). LAs can appoint any eligible person as an LA Governor.

Co-opted Governors

Co-opted Governors are appointed by the Governing Body to represent community interests. Co-opted Governors can be people who live or work in the community served by the school, or people who do not work or live close to the school, but are committed to the good governance and success of the school.

Foundation Governors

Foundation Governors are appointed by the school’s founding body, church or other organisation named in the school’s Instrument of Government. They may hold their governorship in an ex-officio capacity if they are the holder of an office specified in the Instrument of Government, for example a parish priest. If the school has a religious character, the Foundation Governors must preserve and develop this.  They must also ensure compliance with the Trust deed, if there is one.

Associate Members

Local Authority maintained schools can appoint Associate Members, who are not members of the Governing Body (and therefore not included in the Instrument of Government), but are allowed to sit on Committees and attend Governing Body meetings.  An Associate Member could be a pupil, member of staff, or someone with particular expertise in a given area.  They can be appointed for between one and four years, and can be re-appointed at the end of their term of office.  They can also be given voting rights on Committees.

Term of office

The maximum term of office of all categories of Governor is four years, but the Governing Body can decide to set a shorter term of office for one or more category of Governor. This does not apply to the Headteacher or to any Additional Governors appointed by the LA.

If the term of office for a particular category of Governor is to be shorter than four years, this has to be recorded in the Instrument of Government. The term of office can be shorter than one year and cannot be varied for individual Governors. Any Governor may, at any time, resign by giving written notice to the Clerk.

Types of schools

Expression of interest

If you are interested in becoming a School Governor, contact the Governance Service, via:

For further information, please contact us: 

Last updated: 09 December 2020 15:08:31