This guidance is designed to help anyone putting forward a school governor or clerk for a national honour maximise the effectiveness of their nomination. 

Honours are a great way of recognising the achievements of ordinary school governors, trustees and clerks doing extraordinary things in their communities.

Anyone can make the nomination for a national honour but it does help if you can give a good overview of your nominee's work over time and demonstrate the impact on the school or schools.


There are two annual lists so there's no deadline. One list is published at New Year (end of December) and the other list is published for the Queen's Birthday (mid-June). It will usually take 12 to 18 months to process a nomination because of the background work undertaken by Department for Education officials. Ideally nominations should be made while the nominee is still in service and at least 12 months before they retire or step down.

What is an honour?

An honour is for those who have made a positive difference to the lives of children, adults and other people in their community. It recognises people who have made significant achievements in public life or committed themselves to serving their community. People who receive an honour have made life better for others.

An honour is not a reward for doing a “good day’s work”, or a reward for the length of service. It is about the impact the person has made. Therefore it is important to be specific about how the your nominee’s contribution has made a difference to children and young people.

"I’m pleased to see that governors are increasingly getting the recognition that they deserve in the public eye as well. You may well have noticed that the Queen's Birthday Honours was littered with awards for people who contribute to school governance, including Clare Collins, Lead Consultant to the NGA. And I really would encourage you to nominate your fellow governors as well." Rt. Hon Nicky Morgan MP, Former Secretary of State for Education.


The Department for Education is interested in hearing about all those making a positive difference and inspiring others to do the same. But they are particularly keen to hear about women, people with disabilities and those from under-represented groups such as black and ethnic minorities. They also keen to get more nominees from outside London.  

What makes a strong candidate?   

A strong nominee is someone who has delivered outstanding governance in their school, group of schools, local authority area or wider community. You'll be able to show how their work has had a wider positive impact and at what level this has been (for example, a local, regional or national level). Nominations should include examples and evidence to support these statements. For instance, examples of how a governor has mentored other governors in their area, sustained or improved Ofsted gradings, pupil performance data and work to support a local association or network of governors. 

How to make the nomination

Firstly, it's important that you do not inform the nominee that you are putting them forward for an honour. All nominations are considered in strictest confidence and it is not fair to raise expectations in case an award is not made.

In order to tell the Department for Education about the person you want to nominate you will need to complete a citation, that is, your opinion about why this individual deserves an honour. Judgements about the candidate's merits are made on the citation you will write for them, so a good citation is the key to success.

It should start with the major achievements, then add in supporting facts and service details, and should tell the story about what the candidate has done, the challenges they faced and, most importantly, the difference their personal contribution has made.   It would be helpful if at least 2 letters of support were sent with the completed citation form.

Next steps

Once you have nominated someone to receive an honour, your nomination will be assessed in the Department for Education and sometimes another government department will consider the nomination as well. Those nominations which are considered strong enough are recommended to the relevant independent Committee, made up of a mixture of senior civil servants and independent members, which then decides which nominees should be recommended for approval to the Prime Minister and The Queen.

Successful nominees are presented with their award at a formal ceremony called an investiture (dependant on award level). 

Help from the National Governance Association 

We are committed to doing all we can to celebrate outstanding contributions to school governance. As well as running our own awards every two years, we encourage and assist nominations for national honours. If you’d like to find out more about making a nomination for a governor, please contact [email protected].

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