How governors are appointed

Your school's instrument of government will tell you the number and type of governors and how they are appointed. The process varies according to the category of governor.

Parent and staff governors are elected to the board.

Co-opted governors
  • Appointed by the governing board on the basis of the skills, experience and perspective they offer.
  • The selection and appointment process is determined by the governing board, agreed at a full board meeting and recorded in the minutes.
  • The full governing board can agree to re-appoint co-opted governors at the end of their term of office and the decision should be minuted.

Foundation governors
  • Appointed by a foundation or charitable body associated with the school (often the diocese or other religious body).
  • At schools with a religious character, foundation governors help to ensure that the religious character is upheld and promoted (in addition to their other governor responsibilities).
  • The appointment process varies - check your instrument of government and consult the appointing body (the diocese in many cases).
  • Governance professionals should confirm details of the appointment with the appointng body.
  • The appointing body decides whether to re-appoint foundation governors at the end of their term of office and the process for doing so.

Partnership governors
  • Appointed by the governing board in foundation schools that do not have a foundation.
  • The selection and appointment process is determined by the governing board, agreed at a full board meeting and recorded in the minutes.
  • The full board can agree to re-appoint partnership governors at the end of their term of office and the decision should be minuted.

Local authority (LA) governors
  • LA governors are nominated by the LA, but it is for the governing board to agree whether to appoint them.
  • The governing board can set eligibility criteria for nominees and can put forward nominations to the LA.
  • The selection and appointment process is determined by the governing board, agreed at a full board meeting and recorded in the minutes.

Associate members are appointed by the governing board to serve (with voting rights) on one or more committees based on their expertise and experience. They may also attend full governing board meetings but do not have a vote.

Appointment regulations and considerations are further explained within Department for Education (DfE) guidance on governing board constitution (see Annex A) and governance structures and roles guidance.

Removing governors from the board

  • We recommend that all governing boards set out expected standards of conduct and behaviour within a code of conduct.
  • Removing a governor from the board should be a last resort. Our guide to effective teamwork provides suggestions on how to resolve issues at an early stage.
  • Before removing a governor, the board should consider whether suspension is a more appropriate course of action – The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) regulations set out grounds for suspension.
  • We recommend that you seek local authority, HR and legal advice as appropriate.
  • For guidance on when removal might be appropriate, refer to DfE guidance (page 24).
  • Be aware that foundation governors can only be removed by their appointing body (who should be consulted at the earliest opportunity).
  • LA governors can only be removed by the LA that appointed them.

Get bespoke advice from NGA GOLDline

NGA GOLD members can contact our GOLDline advice service which provides governing boards, governance professionals and school leaders with independent and timely advice.

Contact GOLDline on 0121 237 3782 or make a GOLDline request online.

Procedure for removal

The procedure for removing governors is included in DfE guidance (pg 24-25). In summary, it requires the board to:

  1. Include the removal as an agenda item at a governing board meeting.
  2. State the reasons for removal for inclusion in the minutes.
  3. Give the governor an opportunity to respond.
  4. Arrange a second meeting with the removal of the governor as an agenda item - the meeting should be no less than 14 days after the first meeting and allow a vote on the resolution.

Appeals

  • Governing boards are expected to have an appeals process in place to enable any removed governor to test the reasonableness of the board's decision.
  • An independent panel should conduct the appeal, which could include governors from another school and/or a suitable official from the local authority or a suitable diocesan representative.
  • Any governor subject to removal should be provided with written details of the case against them ahead of any meeting, including details of how their case is being handled and the timeframes involved.
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