There are a number of different categories of school governor, each with a different appointment and election procedure. Not all categories appear on every governing board and the makeup of each governing board is written in the Instrument of Government for maintained schools and in the Articles of Association for an Academy.
Most governors serve for a four-year term of office, but governing boards can decide to choose a term of between one and four years for any category of governor. In Academies the trust also has the power to appoint governors.
When appointing governors, consideration should be given to the skills and experience needed by the governing board to enable it to carry out its duties effectively.
Pupils over 18 years of age are eligible to be governors.
Governors are either:
- Elected – parent and staff governors (except the head teacher). A candidate is “elected unopposed” when the number of nominations is less than or equals the number of vacancies (and is not ‘appointed’).
- Local Authority and partnership
- Parent governors (in certain limited circumstances)
- Trust governors (in academies)
- Associate members.
Each category of appointed governor has a different appointing body and a different appointment procedure. The process by which governors are appointed should always support fairness and openness.
Most governors serve for a four-year term.
How to apply
Before applying, can you answer ‘yes’ to the following questions? If so, then you may well have what it takes to be a school governor:
- Do you believe schools should give children the best possible education?
- Do you want to put something back into your local community?
- Are you interested in people?
- Do you have time to get to know your school, to go to meetings and read papers?
- Are you comfortable asking questions?
- Are you open to new ideas and ready to learn?
If you wish to be a governor at a specific school (for instance where your child attends) contact the clerk or chair of the governing board, or the Headteacher at the school and let them know of your interest.
If you wish to be considered for the role of a school governor, please complete the application form and return it to Governor Services.
The appointment process
There is one place for an elected staff member on the governing board of all maintained schools. Governors are elected by and from all the teaching and support staff. They cannot be appointed.
The head teacher is a member of the governing board by virtue of their post and serves in addition to the staff category. The head of a school may choose whether or not to be a governor. If they decide not to be a governor, they still have the right to attend all meetings of the governing board and its committees. The place remains reserved for them and cannot be taken by anyone else.
The staff governor is elected by the school staff. Any contested election is held by a secret ballot of all staff.
Staff may also be appointed as Co-opted governors provided that the total number of co-opted governors who are also eligible to be elected as staff governors, when counted with the staff governor, does not exceed one-third of the total membership of the governing board.
In academies, staff governors can be either elected or appointed by any process determined by the governing board provided that the number of governors employed by the academy does not make up more than one-third of the total governor positions.
There must be places for at least two parent governors in every school and academy in Warwickshire. They are elected by and from the parents of registered pupils at the school, but very occasionally, if no nominations are received, a parent governor can be appointed by the governing board.
A person wishing to stand as a parent governor must have a child at the school at the time of their election. For this purpose, the legal definition of parent is ‘any individual who has or has had parental responsibility for, or cares or has cared for, a child or young person under the age of 19’. If their child leaves the school during their term, they can continue to the end of their term of office.
No one who works in the school for more than 500 hours in any school year is eligible for election or appointment as a parent governor, although they may vote in parent governor elections.
If there are more candidates than vacant places, an election will take place by secret ballot. If there is the same number of candidates as vacancies, then candidates are elected unopposed. If insufficient nominations are received, a parent governor can be appointed by the governing board but special criteria for appointment apply in these circumstances.
Co-opted governors may serve on governing boards of all maintained schools. They are selected and appointed by the governing board because they have the skills required to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school. They can be people who live or work in the community served by the school, or people who are committed to the success of the school. In making their choice, the governing board should try to widen the representation and skills represented on the governing board.
They can be parents, elected members of the local authority or members of staff providing that the total number of co-opted governors who are eligible to be elected as staff governors, when counted with the staff governor and the head teacher, does not exceed one-third of the total membership of the governing board.
Some academies have also included this category of governor in their governing board. This will be shown in their Articles of Association.
There are foundation governors only at some foundation, voluntary aided, voluntary controlled schools and academies, also at trust schools with a foundation. Those in faith schools are appointed by the church or other voluntary body that originally set up the school to uphold the faith ethos of the school.
The parish priest or vicar may be an ex officio foundation governor of the local voluntary aided school and this will be stated in the Instrument of Government of the school.
In some schools, the number of foundation positions must outnumber the total number of all other governors by at least two.
Local Authority (LA)
Local Authority governors are nominated by the LA according to criteria set by the governing board of the relevant maintained school and it is our aim to have one Local Authority governor on the governing board of each of Warwickshire’s maintained schools.
The appointment (and reappointment) process for a Local Authority governor includes input from the relevant governing board who determine the skills and experience required from the nominated candidate.
No one who is eligible to be a staff governor can be appointed as a Local Authority governor.
In making decisions on the nomination of Local Authority governors the applicant must meet the following criteria:
- Has a commitment to, and an interest in, education
- Has a desire to support the school concerned
- Has a willingness to serve the local community
- Has skills and experience which will support the work of the school
- Has the ability to work as a member of a team
- Is able to arrange their commitments to fit in with the membership of a governing board
- Will respect the Council’s views on education matters at governing board meetings
- Will attend relevant training.
There are partnership governors only at foundation schools. They are appointed by the governing board from nominations received from the local community and parents of pupils at the school. They cannot themselves be elected members of the LA, members of staff or parents of pupils currently attending the school.
These can be appointed by the governing board to serve on one or more governing board committees and may attend full governing board meetings. They are not governors, but the governing board may assign some voting rights in the committees on which they serve.