Becoming a school governor
Schools are run by a Board of Governors working with the principal to secure the delivery of education in the school suitable to the needs, ages and abilities of the pupils. Becoming a governor is a way of contributing to your local school and learning new skills.
Who can become a school governor?
All types of people can become school governors, with the exception of anyone disqualified on the basis of child protection requirements, bankruptcy restrictions or recent criminal convictions. No special qualifications are required, but you must be 18 years of age or over.
Enthusiasm, commitment, an interest in education and team work are important qualities. You don't need to have a child at the school.
Schools particularly welcome new governors who have transferable skills developed at work, such as business, finance or human resource skills. As a new governor, you would usually be appointed to the Board of Governors of a school within your local community.
What do school governors do?
The role of the Board of Governors is to manage the school with a view to providing the best possible education and educational opportunities for all of the pupils.
- setting the school’s vision and aims
- establishing and maintaining the school’s ethos
- setting the school’s plans and policies
- monitoring and evaluating school performance
- promoting self evaluation to sustain school improvement
You can access school governor information, application forms and a booklet entitled Becoming a School Governor, on the Department of Education (DE) website.
Make-up of Board
The Board of Governors is normally made up of:
- Foundation governors - those who originally founded the school
- Education and Library Board (ELB) or DE governors – those who fund the education system. These governors are appointed by the ELBs and/or DE to represent the public or tax payer’s interest
- parent governors - elected by parents of registered pupils at the school
- teacher governors - elected teachers on the staff of the school
- principal – non voting member who acts as secretary
- co-opted members – up to three non voting members from the business community
What is involved?
Boards of Governors manage the school in line with a scheme of management approved by DE.
They meet as often as its business requires - a minimum of once a term.
You may be paid expenses you incur when carrying out your duty from the school budget. You cannot claim attendance allowances or payments for loss of earnings.
Training and support
Training and support is available from ELBs. Each board has its own training program:
- Belfast Education and Library Board (contacts section)
- North Eastern Education and Library Board (contacts section)
- South Eastern Education and Library Board (contacts section)
- Southern Education and Library Board (contacts section)
- Western Education and Library Board (contacts section)
Employers can help
If you are working you may be entitled to reasonable time off work to carry out your duties as a governor.
Your employer does not have to pay you for your time off, but may do - they could benefit as a result of you becoming a school governor.
Apply to become a school governor
You can apply to be a governor via the Department of Education's website:
To apply to become an ELB, parent or Foundation governor:
- contact the relevant ELB – links to ELBs are available above
- parent – the school which your child attends
- Foundation – contact your local church or your local integrated school