School governors

Roles and responsibilities

Person speaking

Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education for all pupils. Raising educational standards in school is a key priority. This has the best chance of happening when there are high expectations of what pupils can achieve.
Governors promote effective ways of teaching and learning when setting the school aims and policies. They do this together with the head teacher, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the school.
Head teachers are recruited and selected by governors - and most head teachers choose to be governors themselves.

Governing boards are accountable to parents, the local community and the Local Authority or the Trustees. Appointments are for three or usually for four years. The governing board's main role is to help raise pupils' standards of achievement.

The Governing Board:

  • is accountable for the performance of the school to parents and the wider community
  • plans the school's future direction 
  • selects the head teacher 
  • makes decisions on the school's budget and staffing including the performance management policy 
  • makes sure the agreed Curriculum is well taught
  • decides how the school can encourage pupils' spiritual, moral and cultural development 
  • makes sure the school provides for all pupils including those with special needs.


Governors are at the heart of how a school operates. It's important they get things right. How they do their job effects the interests of pupils, staff and the reputation of the school in the community. Governors support and challenge head teachers by gathering views, asking questions and discussing what's best for the school. They are not there to rubber stamp decisions. They have to be prepared to give and take advice and must be loyal to decisions taken by the governing board as a whole. As long as they act within the law and take appropriate advice, governors are protected from any financial liability for the decisions they take.