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Model Governor Role Description

Role of a school governor: To contribute to the work of the governing board in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school.  As set out in the Governance Handbook, all boards have three core functions:

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


Activities: As part of the governing board, a governor is expected to

  • Contribute to the strategic discussions at governing board meetings which determine:

           - The vision and ethos of the school(s)

           - Clear and ambitious strategic priorities and targets for the school(s)

           - That all children, including those with special educational and/or additional needs, have access to a broad and balanced curriculum

           - The school(s) budget, including the expenditure of the pupil premium grant allocation

           - The school(s) staffing structure and key staffing policies

           - The principles to be used by school leaders to set other school policies

  • Hold the executive leadership to account by monitoring the school’s performance; this includes

           - Ensuring the school's self-evaluation of strengths/weaknesses is used to inform the priorities in the school development plan

           - Considering all relevant data and reports provided by school leaders and external sources on all aspects of school performance

           - Asking challenging questions of school leaders

           - Ensuring school leaders have arranged for the required audits to be carried out and receiving the results of those audits

           - Ensuring school leaders have developed policies and procedures, and that the school is operating effectively inside these

  • Acting as a 'link' governor / governor with delegated responsibility for a specific issue, conducting school visits and meeting relevant staff, and reporting to the governing board on the progress of the relevant school priority
  • Listening to and reporting to the school’s stakeholders : pupils, parents, staff and the wider community, including local employers
  • Ensuring the school staff have the resources and support they require to do their jobs well, including the necessary expertise on business management, external advice where necessary, effective appraisal and CPD (Continuing Professional Development), and suitable premises, and that the way in which those resources are used has impact.
  • When required, serving on panels of governors to:

               - Appoint the headteacher and senior leaders 

               - Appraise the headteacher 

               - Set the headteacher's pay and approve pay recommendations for other staff

               - Consider school complaints at the second stage (or as per the school's complaints process)

               - Hear the second stage of staff grievances and disciplinary matters

               - Consider reinstatement of excluded pupils


The role of governor is a strategic role not an operational one ie.

A governor does NOT:

  • Write school policies.  
  • Undertake audits of any sort – whether financial or health & safety – even if the governor has the relevant professional experience
  • Spend much time with the pupils of the school – for those who would like to work directly with children, there are likely to be other voluntary valuable roles within the school
  • Fundraise – this is the role of the PTA / Friends Association – the governing body should consider income streams and the potential for income generation, but it does not carry out fundraising tasks.
  • Undertake classroom observations to make judgement on the quality of teaching – the governing body monitors the quality of teaching in the school by scrutinising reports and data supplied by the leadership team and from external sources
  • Do the job of a member of school staff – if there is not enough capacity within the staff team to carry out the necessary tasks, the governing board needs to consider and rectify this.


As you become more experienced as a governor, there are other roles you could volunteer for which would increase your degree of involvement and level of responsibility (e.g as chair of a committee or a delegated role such as the safeguarding governor or the SEND governor). This document does not cover the additional roles taken on by the chair, vice-chair, committee chairs or delegated roles.


In order to perform the role well, a governor is expected to:

  • Get to know the school, including by carrying out school visits and by reading reports and data packs in advance of governor meetings, to gain a good understanding of the school(s) strengths and weakness
  • Attend new governor induction training, and other regular relevant training and development events
  • Attend meetings (full governing board meetings and committee meetings) and be involved in the discussion
  • Act in the best interest of all the pupils of the school
  • Behave in a professional manner, as set down in the governing board’s code of conduct, including maintaining strict confidentiality


This role description can also be adopted to cover the role of trustees. In multi-academy trusts, it would need to be reviewed for members of local governing boards, where the governors may not have all these responsibilities (see scheme of delegation.)