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School governors

School governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education. They support and challenge the school to ensure all pupils achieve well. School governing bodies are vital as they work strategically with the headteacher, to hold him/her to account and ensure money is well spent.

Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. Previously governance was a hidden element of school leadership. Today the governing body is an integral part of school leadership and with the increased responsibilities and freedoms now being placed on all schools.

School Improvement Partnership logoGovernor services are provided by BDSIP on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The School Improvement Service Governor Services Team will support all governors and governing bodies to fulfil their changing roles and responsibilities as effectively possible so as to meet the needs of their pupils.

What governors do

Governors work as a team. They are responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education. 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 with the headteacher. Every school has a governing body. It will include:

  • parents elected by other parents at the school
  • staff governors elected by the teaching and non-teaching staff
  • local authority governors
  • community governors appointed by other members of the governing body, and usually, the headteacher

They may also include representatives from the local authority, church, charitable trust or business interests.

Special schools may have health authority or voluntary organisation representatives.

Governing bodies are responsible to parents and the community. Numbers of governors vary depending on the school’s type or size. Appointments are for up to 4 years.

Responsibilities of a school governor

The governing body’s main role is to help raise standards of achievement.


  • is accountable for the performance of the school
  • plans the school’s future direction
  • selects the headteacher
  • makes decisions on the school’s budget and staffing
  • makes sure the national curriculum is taught
  • decides how the school can encourage pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development
  • makes sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with special needs

Governor Net is a Department for Education dedicated site providing information and guidance for school governors.

Statutory policies for schools from the Department for Education provides advice on the policies and documents that governing bodies and proprietors of schools are required to have by law.

Become a school governor Toggle accordion

All over the country, school governors – people like you – are helping staff and head teachers ensure the next generation gets the best from school. The government is committed to raising educational standards in the class room and increasing the role of parents and the local community.


Volunteers are needed to help all our children reach their full potential. Schools are keen to attract people in the community who can bring energy, experience and fresh ideas.

Governors bring a range of experience and interests from many walks of life. They need to work closely with others to make good decisions and make sure their decisions are followed up. It helps to be a good listener as you will stand a much better chance of understanding how the school ticks. You certainly don’t need to be a parent to have the makings of a good governor.

Find out more

Help and advice is available from a number of sources. In addition to the training and advice offered by the governor support unit at the local authority, governors receive guidance from central government via the Department for Education.

Other organisations with their own help lines for governors include the National Governors’ Association and Governor Line.

If you are interested

Contact your local school and ask for the headteacher or chair of governors or ask to see the school’s annual report for information about the school. Or you can apply to Governor Services at Barking and Dagenham Children’s Services.

Application form:

School governor application form (DOC, 43.50 KB)

Becoming a governor offers challenges and rewards. You could be joining the largest volunteer group in the country and helping make sure our children are getting the best their schools can give.

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Governor Training is provided by the Barking and Dagenham School Improvement Partnership.

Governor training

Governor training Autumn term 2020

Governor Conference season 2020 flyer (PDF, 268KB)

Child protection / Safeguarding children

Safeguarding - child protection presentation (PDF, 184.52 KB)

Health and safety

School governor occupational health, safety and wellbeing (PDF, 1.06 MB)

The pupil premium and the new primary PE and sport funding

The Pupil Premium - how schools are spending the funding (PDF, 39.11 KB)

Main handout (PDF, 237.58 KB)

Pupil Premium - analysis and challenge tools (PDF, 259.48 KB)

What does Ofsted say about governors and the PP (PDF, 71.75 KB)

Safer recruitment training

The NSPCC now has the responsibility for this area of governor training.

Training is no longer face-to-face but can be accessed online:

Register at NSPCC training

School finance training session

Finance and what to look for (PDF, 830.01 KB)

Training and liaison governor briefings

January 2015

Training and liaison governors briefing - January 2015 (PDF, 279.58 KB)

Traded service training (PDF, 170.25 KB)

April 2015

Training and liaison governors briefing - April 2015 (PDF, 1.17 MB)

Chairs’ network briefings

February 2015

Good practice - HT report 2 (committee) 2014 (DOC, 150.50 KB)

Performance review of the chair of governors (PDF, 86.95 KB)

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School Improvement Partnership

Headteachers and school governors were invited to a presentation on 25 January 2017 “Shaping a new School Improvement Partnership for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham”.

The presentation slides:

School Improvement Partnership briefing (PDF, 444.63 KB)

Governor documentation

Checklist for visiting schools (PDF, 58.94 KB)

Getting to know the education system (DOC, 67.50 KB)

Governing body wheel (PDF, 52.51 KB)

Governors role in monitoring and evaluation (PDF, 53.02 KB)

High hopes primary school - case study (PDF, 37.35 KB)

How to respond to Ofsted inspectors (PDF, 76.91 KB)

School development plan (DOC, 41.50 KB)

Types of governors (PDF, 58.97 KB)

What governing bodies do (PDF, 45.81 KB)

What should governors monitor? (PDF, 40.39 KB)

Working strategically (PDF, 35.11 KB)

Preparing for Ofsted

Preparing for the visit from Ofsted (PDF, 50.66 KB)

How to respond to Ofsted inspector's questions (PDF, 76.91 KB)

Named governors job descriptions

School governors - pupil-sports premium governor - job description (PDF, 42.44 KB)

School governors - pupil attainment data governor - job description (PDF, 37.65 KB)

Role of the governing body in relation to looked after children (PDF, 73.22 KB)

School governors - subject aspect link governor - job description (PDF, 53.29 KB)

School governors - SEN and inclusion governor - job description (PDF, 59.14 KB)

School governors - training and liaison governor - job description (PDF, 84.25 KB)

School governors - link governor - job description (PDF, 45.12 KB)

School governors - health and safety governor- job description (PDF, 56.45 KB)

School governors - child protection governor - job description (PDF, 52.72 KB)

Barking and Dagenham Safeguarding Children’s Board

School visits

Classroom visits policy (DOC, 37.00 KB)

School visit record (DOC, 50.00 KB)

Checklist for visits to your school

Link governor job description (PDF, 51.10 KB)

School governor visits - numeracy (PDF, 55.55 KB)

School governor visits - literacy (PDF, 53.76 KB)

School governors - NGA skills audit (PDF, 105.71 KB)

Examples of committee terms of reference

School governors - curriculum committee (DOC, 33.00 KB)

School governors - finance committee (DOC, 36.00 KB)

School governors - personnel committee (DOC, 33.50 KB)

School governors - premises committee (DOC, 33.00 KB)

School governors - terms of reference - general template (DOC, 29.50 KB)

Children and Families Bill

Children and Families Act - governor briefing May 2014 (PDF, 261.99 KB)

Children and Families Act - governor briefing appendix 1 (PDF, 370.20 KB)

Code of conduct

Code of conduct.4.12 (DOC, 31.00 KB)

NGA skills audit

NGA skills audit (DOC, 139.00 KB)

Governance statement

Governance statement summer 2014 (DOC, 74.50 KB)

DFE governance handbook

DFE governance handbook

Director’s reports

A director’s report is produced every term to draw governors’ attention to local and national issues. Governing bodies are encouraged to discuss these reports at their termly meetings.

Recent reports

Innovative e-Learning in LBBD (PDF, 695KB)

Supporting recovery for SEND provision September 2020 (PDF, 2.4MB)

School Improvement Partnership presentation - governing bodies - summer term 2017 (PDF, 1.5MB)

Cultural Education Partnership development plan draft 2015 (PDF, 417KB)

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