School governors

Schools, education and learning

What is a school Governor?

Being a school governor or trustee is a challenging but hugely rewarding role.  Being a governor gives you the chance to make a real difference to the lives and life chances of young people!
Governors are unpaid volunteers that use and develop their skills/ knowledge in a board-level environment.

In  accordance to the Governors Competency Framework, all schools, regardless of sector, need governing boards that have a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience to enable it to be effective.

What do governors and trustees do?

The governing board provides strategic leadership and accountability in schools. It has three key functions:

  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
  • Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

Eligibility Click to get info

To be appointed as a school governor you must be at least 18 years old, there's no upper age limit and all governors are required to undergo an enhanced DBS check upon their selection.

All governors are elected or appointed for a specific term of office of up to four years, once appointed all governors have the same voting rights.

Categories of Governor Click to get info

Parent governors

Parent governors are elected by the parents of pupils at the school.

They do not have to stand down if their child leaves the school during their term of office. If not enough parents stand for election, parent governors may be appointed by the governing board.

Local authority governors

All candidates are required to complete an application form. Completed forms will be passed to the portfolio lead for children and young people for approval.  If approved, your application will be sent to the nominated governing board for consideration and appointment.

Staff governors

The head teacher is automatically a governor, with full voting rights, of the governing board. They can chose to opt out if they wish. Staff governors are elected by staff at the school and the total number of staff members on a governing board cannot exceed more than one third of the total places. Staff governors must be employed by the school at the time of election and will cease to be a governor should they leave their employment.

Co opted governors

Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing body.

They are persons who, in the opinion of the governing body, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.

Associate members

Associate members are appointed by the governing body as a member of any committee established by the governing body, but who is not a governor.

Foundation governors

Foundation governors are a person who:

  • is appointed as a governor by any person other than the local authority
  • is appointed for the purpose of securing that the character of the school including
  • where the school has a particular religious character such religious character, is
  • preserved and developed
  • where the school has a foundation, is appointed for the purpose of securing that the school is conducted in accordance with the foundation’s governing documents

Partnership governor

Where the school has a religious character, a “partnership governor” means a person who is appointed for the purpose of securing that such religious character is preserved and developed.

In September 2012 new Reconstitution Regulations were released, these state that the total membership of the governing body of a maintained school must be no fewer than seven governors.

The governing body of a maintained school must include the following:

  • at least two parent governors
  • the head teacher (unless the head teacher resigns the office of governor)
  • one staff governor; and
  • one local authority governor

The governing body may also appoint such number of co-opted governors as they consider necessary.

The total number of co-opted governors who are also eligible to be elected as staff governors when counted with the staff governor and the head teacher, must not exceed one third of the total membership of the governing body.

Partnership governor Click to get info

Where the school has a religious character, a “partnership governor” means a person who is appointed for the purpose of securing that such religious character is preserved and developed.

In September 2012 new Reconstitution Regulations were released, these state that the total membership of the governing body of a maintained school must be no fewer than seven governors.

The governing body of a maintained school must include the following:

  • at least two parent governors
  • the head teacher (unless the head teacher resigns the office of governor)
  • one staff governor; and
  • one local authority governor

The governing body may also appoint such number of co-opted governors as they consider necessary.

The total number of co-opted governors who are also eligible to be elected as staff governors when counted with the staff governor and the head teacher, must not exceed one third of the total membership of the governing body.

There are in the region of 920 governorships to govern the 78 schools in Waltham Forest. With this number of volunteers needed, there are always vacancies for skilled, knowledgeable governors.

  • all Governing Boards are encouraged to complete a full skills analysis to ensure they have enough expertise to carry out their duties 
  • school governors can come from all aspects of the local community, can take on and learn a lot through the role and do not need any formal qualifications
  • the only requirement is to give time and commitment, and personally enjoy a rewarding role
  • being a school governor offers you an extraordinary opportunity to make a real difference at the heart of the community.

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, please download the school governor application form (4,711KB Word file), fill in and return to us at the address below.

Once you have submitted your form Governor Services will forward it on to the appropriate schools or academies that currently have governor vacancies. 

If you are applying in response to an advert placed by a school advertising for parent governors, please contact the school directly to get a copy of their application form.

E-bulletins Click to get info

Each half term all governors are issued with a Governors’ Newsletter, this is issued via our online portal and can be access via our secure website.

Governors’ handbook Click to get info

Please see the Governance Handbook

Other documents Click to get info

Key documents for governors are available via the Hub

Some of these documents are in PDF format. To view them you may need to download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Contact Click to get info

Governor Services
Walthamstow Town Hall
Room 001
Forest Road
Walthamstow
E17 4JF

Telephone: 020 8496 3000
Email: governor.services@walthamforest.gov.uk