Welcome! Let’s begin by talking about the role of a school governor…

But first, this page references becoming a school governor in England. Click here if you’re thinking about becoming a school governor in Wales.

The role of a school governing board is to provide strategic leadership to the school(s) it’s responsible for. The board helps to ensure that there is:

  1. Accountability – justification for the decisions that are being taken.
  2. Oversight – scrutiny and investigation of key decision-making and performance.
  3. Assurance – confidence that the school is operating effectively and compliantly on a day-to-day basis, and is on a stable footing.

Together, this helps to provide assurance that the school is performing well, able to improve, and is complying with relevant duties and requirements.

Did you know there are 3 core functions of school governing boards?

The Department for Education (DfE) has specified three core functions that governing boards of all state-funded schools should prioritise:

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

In addition, a school governing board has a role to play in ensuring the school (or schools) are compliant with educational and other legislation, such as safeguarding, equality, and health and safety.

Governing in a maintained school vs governing in an academy trust – what’s the difference?

You may have heard of these terms but what do they mean, and what are the differences?

The majority of the school governor role will remain the same, but depending on the type of school, you may have different responsibilities, or different things to consider.

Maintained schools operate through the local authority. Examples of maintained schools include: community schools, voluntary aided and controlled schools, and foundation schools. In contrast, academy trusts are charitable bodies responsible for overseeing and governing a group of schools. Most academy trusts are multi-academy trust (MAT).

You can find out more about each type of school below.

Governing in a maintained school Governing in an academy trust


Regardless of whether you are a school governor in a maintained school or an academy trust, there's a few things you need to know...

Links to guidance and further reading

There is a lot of information to help you in your role as a school governor. You can use these links to further your knowledge about the role and the various areas you can support.

Guidance and further reading for new school governors