Before we begin…

The structure of school governance and the responsibilities expected of school governors differ slightly depending on the type of school you join. This page covers the responsibilities of school governors in maintained schools and as such, may not apply to you if you are a school governor within an academy trust setting.

If you’re a school governor in an academy trust, please visit our dedicated governance in an academy trust page for more information.


What is a maintained school?

The local authority oversees maintained schools. While many different types of school fall into this category, some include:

  • Community schools
  • Voluntary aided schools
  • Voluntary controlled schools
  • Foundation schools

Regardless of the type of school, they all have a school governing board.

Governing boards in maintained schools

The governing board in a maintained school is the accountable body for the school. It has a distinct legal identity and its role and functions are set out in law. Most of these schools have their own governing board, although some are part of a Federation and share a governing board with another school. However, this is not to be confused with an Multi-Academy Trust.

School governors sit on maintained school governing boards. There are specific categories of school governor, such as parent governor, co-opted governor and staff governor. The headteacher is also a school governor. To find out more, visit our page detailing the types of school governor and governing boards.

In addition to the above, the governing boards of church schools include foundation governors. It is their role to uphold the religious ethos of the school.

Our CPD-accredited induction programme provides a comprehensive introduction to becoming a school governor

Thinking about becoming a school governor and want to prepare for the role? Or just started volunteering and want to ensure you’re effective from the outset? Our ‘Become an Effective New Governor’ series may be for you.

This induction course is ideally suited to those new to education, with key language, regulations and acronyms explained so you can fully engage with meetings and visits early in your school governance role. Each section contains real examples of actions and questions – to help you develop best practice – as well as videos of current school governors speaking about their roles, all tailored to maintained schools.

Purchase our CPD accredited course

Interested in learning more about school governance in maintained schools?

The statutory guidance on constitutions of governing bodies of maintained schools is a must-read for all school governors in maintained schools. It covers: the description of the different categories of governor, priorities in deciding the constitution and membership of the governing body, the skills needed by governing bodies, school governor elections, publication of school governors’ details and the register of interests, terms of office, removal and disqualification of school governors, instruments of government (which sets out the governance structure of the governing body), and all aspects of the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012.

Every school has their own instrument of government that outlines the schools individual requirements. Schools commonly provide a copy of this as part of their onboarding process.