School governors

There are over a quarter of a million volunteers governing in state schools in England. By joining them, you can make a valuable contribution to school leadership.

Become a school governor

It is a rewarding role, working towards a shared goal of providing a high-quality education for children and young people in your community. It also provides an opportunity for personal development, building your skills and experience in areas such as project management, budgeting and working as part of a senior team. 

Governing boards meet regularly to look at the big picture and the school’s long-term goals. They set the culture and values of the school, responding to opportunities and challenges. Governors work closely with the headteacher, supporting them and challenging them.

The governor’s role

The governing board is responsible for:

  • developing a vision and strategy for the school
  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
  • holding the school leader to account to ensure that every pupil has the best possible education
  • engaging with pupils, staff, parents and the school community to understand their views 

Activities can include:

  • attending governing board meetings: these normally take place around six times a year and may be held outside school hours
  • looking at information and evidence on the school’s progress and discussing with school leaders 
  • visiting the school to see plans working in practice, and listening to the views of staff, pupils and parents 
  • selecting and appointing a headteacher following the resignation of the current headteacher
  • making decisions about issues such as pupil exclusions and staff disciplinary matters

Qualifications and requirements

There are no specific qualifications or requirements for the role - every governing board needs a balance and range of knowledge, skills and experience. You don't need to be a parent or to have a background in education.

Just as our schools are incredibly diverse and culturally rich places, it is vital that our governing boards reflect that diversity and that richness too. We would especially welcome interest from young people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

To be eligible to volunteer, you need:

  • the time to contribute (altogether, you can expect to spend about 6-8 hours a month on governance duties, with some meetings and visits taking place during the working day)
  • to be aged 18 or over
  • a willingness to attend training and to develop in your role

How to apply

If you would like to be a school governor, apply online below. By submitting your application, you declare that you have read the grounds for disqualification below, and are not disqualified from applying on any of those grounds.

Apply to become a school governor

Read our privacy notice which tells you how we use your data.

We will carry out a DBS check to ensure you have clearance to work with children and young people. 

If you would like to find out more about becoming a school governor before you apply, please contact School Governor Services.

Grounds for disqualification from membership of a governing body


You are disqualified from being a school governor if you:

  • are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order; an interim bankruptcy restrictions order; debt relief restrictions order; an interim debt relief restrictions order or their estate has been sequestrated and the sequestration has not been discharged, annulled or reduced
  • are subject to a disqualification order or disqualification undertaking under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986; a disqualification order under the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; a disqualification undertaking accepted under the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002; or an order made under section 429(2)(b) of the Insolvency Act 1986 (failure to pay under county court administration order)
  • have been removed from the office of charity trustee or trustee for a charity by the Charity Commission or Commissioners or High Court on grounds of any misconduct or mismanagement, or under section 34 of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from being concerned in the management or control of any body
  • have been removed from office an elected governor within the last five years
  • are included in the list of people considered by the Secretary of State as unsuitable to work with children or young people
  • are barred from any regulated activity relating to children
  • are subject to a direction of the Secretary of State under section 142 of the Education Act 2002 or section 128 of the Education and Skills Act 2008
  • are disqualified from working with children or from registering for childminding or providing day care
  • are disqualified from being an independent school proprietor, teacher or employee by the Secretary of State
  • are subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has been sentenced to three months or more in prison (without the option of a fine) in the five years before becoming a governor or since becoming a governor
  • are subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has received a prison sentence of two and a half years or more in the 20 years before becoming a governor
  • are subject to certain exceptions for overseas offences that do not correlate with a UK offence, has at any time received a prison sentence of five years or more
  • have been convicted and fined for causing a nuisance or disturbance on school premises during the five years prior to or since becoming a governor
  • refuse to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check, if requested.