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Types of Governor

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Types of Governor

All Governing Bodies should have re-constituted under the 2012 Constitution Regulations or 2012 Federations Regulations, by 1 September 2015.

  • Governing Bodies of maintained schools must have no fewer than seven Governors. 
  • The term of office for all types of Governor is four years but the Governing Body can decide a shorter term of office for one or more categories of Governor.

Parent Governors

Parents, including carers, of registered pupils at the school are eligible to stand for election as Parents Governors and are elected by other parents at the school. They do not have to stand down if their child leaves the school, though they may do so if they wish. Parent Governors may stand for re-election at the end of their term of office if they still qualify.

If a school is unable to fill Parent Governor vacancies by election, the Governing Body may appoint a parent in accordance with the criteria in Schedule 1 of the Statutory Guidance on School Governance Constitution Regulations. 

A person is disqualified from election or appointment as a Parent Governor of a school if they are a County Councillor or if they work at the school for more than 500 hours in a school year.

Local Authority Governors

Local Authority Governors are nominated by the County Council and appointed by the Governing Body. Nominations are confirmed at regular Governance Group meetings which include the Cabinet Member for Education. The local County Council Member for the area served by the school is informed that nominations are being sought for this vacancy.

Nomination of Local Authority (LA) Governors

The nomination of Authority Governors is the responsibility of local Members, whatever their party affiliation and is rarely made on the basis of political involvement but normally the likely contribution an individual will make to the school and its community.

  • Local member(s) have one month to nominate a governor, or to state reasons why the appointment should be deferred, before nominations from any other members are considered.
  • If no response is received from the local member(s) within one month from the date of notification, it is open to other members to make nominations.
  • There is a general presumption that nominees of local member(s) (if any) shall take precedence over nominees from other members, unless, in any particular instance, a strong case is made to the contrary.

All nominations received are submitted to the next meeting of the Group for approval. Once the Group has met, the decisions from the meeting follow the County Council's key decisions making process to ensure openness and transparency. At the end of this process letters of appointment are sent to the successful nominee. The Headteacher of the relevant school and the Chairman of Governors are notified of this appointment.

Authority Governors, once appointed, fulfil their duties as any other governor would do. In the same way that a parent governor does not represent the views of all parents at a school, but is a representative parent, so the Authority Governors does not represent the views of the LA, but is a representative of the wider community. The LA does not mandate its appointees with the role of promoting the LA’s views on issues.

There is no limit to the number of governing bodies a person can join, but it needs to be borne in mind that to be an effective governor there is a time commitment in terms of duties. Governing bodies hold at least 3 full governing body meetings a year, with many having 6 a year. In addition, there are likely to be committee meetings to attend, as well as other functions to support the school.

Selection Criteria

Buckinghamshire County Council Recruitment Strategy is underpinned by a commitment to promote community cohesion and equality, and aims to ensure that Buckinghamshire school governors reflect the diversity of the communities and are sensitive to the needs of the various communities their school may serve. Within this the Council seeks to appoint people as Authority Governors who:

  • Have a genuine interest in education and school improvement in Buckinghamshire;
  • Have a good knowledge of the local community and its needs;
  • Are able to commit their time, skills and energy to the school;
  • Are willing to undertake the necessary training and keep themselves up to date – particularly the LA induction course for newly appointed school governors.

Pre-appointment Checks

Prospective governors are required to complete a disclosure form declaring they are not subject to any disqualifications as set out in the School Governance Regulations 2003. If a governor is likely to have unsupervised access to children, then an enhanced CRB check should be carried out and the Human Resources Team can advise on this.

N.B. A person is disqualified from being appointed as a Local Authority Governor if they are eligible to be a Staff Governor of that school.

Staff Governors

Both teaching and support staff paid to work at the school are eligible to stand for election as a staff Governor. Staff Governors are elected by the school staff and must be paid to work at the school, volunteers are not eligible.

There can only be one Staff Governor. However, Governing Bodies may appoint members of staff as Co-opted Governors subject to restrictions as explained under the relevant section below.

Role of the Staff Governor Fact Sheet

The Headteacher

The Headteacher is a member of the Governing Body by virtue of their office. The Headteacher may at any time resign as a Governor, and withdraw their resignation, in both cases by notifying the clerk in writing.

Co-opted Governors 

Co-opted Governors are appointed by the Governing Body. The number of Co-opted Governors, who are eligible to be elected or appointed as Staff Governors, must not, when counted with the one Staff Governor and the Headteacher, exceed one-third of the total membership of the Governing Body. 
Co-opted governors are people who in the opinion of the Governing Body have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.

Foundation Governors

Foundation Governors are either appointed or take the role by virtue of an office that they hold. Where appointed, appointment is made by the person entitled under the Instrument of Government (usually the school’s founding body, church or other organisation) and for the purpose of securing:-

  • in all cases, that the school’s character (including religious character where it has one) is preserved and developed; and
  • where the school has a foundation, that the school is conducted in accordance with the foundation’s governing documents.


If an ex officio Foundation Governor is unwilling or unable to act as a Governor or has been removed from office under regulation 21(1) then a substitute Governor can be appointed.

An ex officio Governor is a member of a Governing Body by virtue of holding another office. In Voluntary Aided or Voluntary Controlled schools this is usually the incumbent, the vicar, rector, or priest in charge of the parish in which the school is situated.

Partnership Governors

Partnership Governors are appointed by the Governing Body. Foundation and foundation special schools without a foundation must have at least two Partnership Governors but no more than a quarter of the total membership of the Governing Body. Only those with the skills needed to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school are eligible for nomination and appointment.

Where the Governing Body cannot fill all the vacant posts, either because there were too few nominees or because nominees were rejected as ineligible, then the number of Partnership Governors required may be made up by persons nominated by Governors and appointed by the Governing Body in accordance with the criteria defined in Schedule 3 of the Statutory Guidance on School Governance Constitution Regulations.

Associate Members

Associate members are not Governors but are appointed by the Governing Body to bring expertise and experience in specific areas to committees. They may be appointed for a period of between one and four years. They may attend full Governing Body meetings and, if they are over 18, the Governing Body may grant voting rights at committee meetings. Pupils may be appointed as Student Associate Members (SAMS).

Academy Appointed Governors

The specific arrangements for the constitution of Academies’ boards and local governing bodies are set out in their individual articles of association. Governors may be appointed according to the conditions contained within the articles of association. 

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