How to become a school governor

Can anyone be a governor?

You do not have to be an education expert and anyone over the age of 18 can be a governor, with certain exceptions. The exceptions are if you have had certain criminal convictions or disqualifications, are disqualified from working with children or become bankrupt. It is also recommended that governors should be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Once you become a governor you can be removed from the governing body if you fail to attend governing body meetings, without the consent of the governing body for a period of six months.

You can speak to Tower Hamlets governor services in confidence for advice on disqualifications.

Types of governor

The number of people on a governing body varies depending on the needs of the school and can be between 7 and 23 people. Normally governors are appointed for four years, but can be reappointed after that time.

A school governing body can made up of:

  • parent governors - selected by election and drawn from parents and carers of children at the school
  • staff governors - selected by election from teaching and support staff paid to work at the school
  • community or co-opted governors - appointed by the governing body to represent community interests
  • local authority governors – nominated to the governing body by Tower Hamlets
  • foundation governors - appointed by the school's founding body, church or other organisation named in the school's instrument of government
  • sponsor governors – a discretionary category appointed by the governing body from individuals who have made significant contributions to the school
  • associate members (not governors) - appointed by the governing body to attend committee meetings and/or full governing body meetings due to their particular skills or experience.

Read more about the types of governors for academy schools.

Parent governors

Parent governors are elected by the parents of pupils at the school and they must be the parent of a child at the school at the time they are elected.

Parent governors in particular are likely to be asked by other parents about matters which may be confidential. It is important that the governing body decides which issues are confidential and which are not and can therefore be shared with parents.

Parents are not restricted to serving only as elected parent governors, they can be appointed as local authority governors, community/co-opted governors or foundation governors. Special rules apply to parents who are also employed to work at the school. Tower Hamlets governor services can advise on these.

How do I apply to be a governor?

Contact Governor services on 020 7364 5000, email governors@towerhamlets.gov.uk or complete the webform. You can also directly contact the head teacher or chair of governors of the school you are interested in, and, if you are interested in being a governor of a church school, the Diocese.