Schools need governors who are:
- interested in the well being of children
- prepared to commit time and energy to the work of the governing body
- prepared to visit the school during the working day occasionally
- able and willing to work as part of a team
- willing to undertake training or briefing sessions
- willing to share his/her knowledge, experience and skills for the benefit of the school as a whole.
The key task for governing bodies is to promote high standards of educational achievement.
Governing bodies work in partnership with the staff of their schools and with the local authority. Support is available to ensure that governors have the necessary skills and knowledge. Once appointed, governors have access to a comprehensive programme of training to support that which they will receive in their school.
Qualifications and disqualifications
Governors and Associate Members
Regulation 17, Schedule 4 of The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 covers the qualifications and disqualifications of governors for Maintained Schools.
All disqualifications apply to associate members except that they can be registered pupils at the school and can be under 18.
A governor must be aged 18 or over at the time of his or her election or appointment and cannot be a registered pupil at the school.
A governor must not also be a clerk to the governing body at which they are a governor.
A person cannot hold more than one governor post at the same school at the same time.
A person is disqualified from being a governor of a particular school if they have failed to attend the meetings of the governing body of that school 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 does not apply to the headteacher or to foundation governors appointed by virtue of their office.
A person is disqualified from holding or continuing to hold office as a governor of a school if, in summary, that person:
- is the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order; an interim bankruptcy restrictions order; debt relief restrictions order; an interim debt relief restrictions order; or their estate has been sequestrated and the sequestration has not been discharged, annulled or reduced;
- is subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986; a disqualification order under the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; a disqualification undertaking accepted under the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; or an order made under section 429(2)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986 (failure to pay under county court administration order)
- has been removed from the office of trustee for a charity by an order made by the Charity Commission or Commissioners or High Court on grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity, or under section 34 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from being concerned in the management or control of anybody
- has been removed from office as an elected governor within the last five years
- is included in the list of people considered by the Secretary of State as unsuitable to work with children or young people
- is barred from any regulated activity relating to children
- is subject to a direction of the Secretary of State under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 or section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008
- is disqualified from working with children or from registering for child-minding or providing daycare
- is disqualified from being an independent school proprietor, teacher or employee by the Secretary of State
- subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has been sentenced to three months or more in prison (without the option of a fine) in the five years ending with the date preceding the date of appointment/election as a governor or since becoming a governor
- subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has received a prison sentence of two and a half years or more in the 20 years ending with the date preceding the date of appointment/election as a governor
- subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has at any time received a prison sentence of five years or more
- has been convicted and fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on school or educational premises during the five years ending with the date immediately preceding appointment/election or since appointment or election as a governor
- refuses a request by the clerk to make an application to the Disclosure And Barring Service for a criminal records certificate.
Anyone proposed or serving as a governor who is disqualified for one of these reasons must notify the clerk to the governing body.
As legislation is often amended and new regulations introduced, please see the Governance Handbook for up-to-date information on the legislation applying to schools.