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Governing board roles

Types of governor and trustee

Governing boards are made up of people who are elected or appointed from the school/trust and local community.


Governors are appointed or elected to governing boards in local authority maintained schools. Academy committee members who govern within multi academy trusts are also often referred to as governors.

Trustees are appointed or elected to academy trust boards. In some academy trusts, trustees are referred to as ‘directors’.

Select a category below to learn more about parent governors, staff governors and other types of governor and trustee.

Categories of governor and trustee

  • Parent governors and trustees have parental responsibility for, or are carers of, pupils at the school/trust.
  • Primarily elected by the parents of the school, they are a key part of the governing board that provide a parental perspective.
  • Most boards have between two to four parent governors.
  • Staff governors are employed to work at the school and are elected by staff to the board.
  • They offer a staff perspective but do not represent the staff body.
  • There is only one staff governor position in a maintained school.
  • Some academy trust boards have a staff trustee position but this is not recommended.
  • Co-opted governors and trustees are appointed by the board based on their skills, experience and perspective.
  • They often have specialised knowledge in areas like HR, finance, law, data and education.
  • Sometimes known as community governors.
  • Foundation governors and trustees are appointed by a charitable body or foundation associated with the school/trust.
  • They ensure that the school/trust character (including religious if it has one) is upheld.
  • Partnership governors are appointed by the governing body of local authority maintained foundation schools.
  • Only required in foundation schools that do not have a foundation.
  • Local authority (LA) governors are nominated by the LA to serve on the governing body of an LA maintained school.
  • The governing body appoints them and can set eligibility criteria which nominees must meet.
  • Someone who has a place on the governing board because of the position they hold.
  • This normally includes headteachers in local authority maintained schools.
  • Governing bodies in LA maintained schools can choose to appoint associate members.
  • Associate members are not governors but are appointed to serve on a committee due to their specific skills.
  • Find out more about associate members

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