Role of School Governors
School governors are one of the country's largest voluntary groups with around 300,000 contributing to strategic development and raising standards of achievement at more than 30,000 schools. Many of the requirements and responsibilities placed on governing bodies are covered by legislation and well defined by guidance and recommended procedures.
The governing body has general responsibility for the conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. This gives rise to a range of specific responsibilities, which require the governing body to establish certain procedures which includes constitution of the governing body and instrument of government, standing orders and terms of reference. Committees are formed with delegation and operation agreed from the standing orders and terms of reference.
The governing body at the Buckingham School has a strong focus on three core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team to account for the educational performance of the school and its students; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure the money it receives is well spent.
School governors are members of their school's governing body, which is known as a 'corporate body'. A corporate body has a legal identity that is separate from its members and as a result, individual governors are generally protected from personal liability as a result of the governing body's decisions and actions provided they act honestly, reasonably and in good faith. Individual governors have no power or right to act on behalf of the governing body except where the whole governing body has delegated a specific function to that individual or where regulations specify a function is to be exercised in a particular way. The governing body has considerable discretion as to how to discharge its responsibilities but is required to constitute itself in line with the regulations and to appoint a chair and vice chair. The governing body may delegate certain of its responsibilities to certain governors or committees of governors, although in general, it is not compelled to do so.
School governors are drawn from different parts of the community and can be parents and staff or from the local authority, the community and other groups and their instrument of governance shows each group and numbers for their governing body which is agreed with the local authority in maintained schools. This helps ensure the governing body has sufficient diversity of views and experience but does not mean governors of a particular category represent that group on the governing body. For example, parent governors do not represent the parents at the school and do not report back to them.
Associate Members (not governors): appointed by the governing body to attend committee meetings and/or full governing body meetings due to their particular skills or experience and can be a member of the community or school staff.
- Information on how to become a school governor can be found on the learningtrust.net site.
- More detailed information on School Governance can be found at
The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 DfE link