Frequently Asked Questions

With an increasing national emphasis on skilled, knowledgeable governors and trustees, it has never been more important to keep up-to-date with changes in legislation, guidance and good practice.

Here are our most frequently asked questions. If you can't find the answer to your question contact Governance Support or 033301 39834. Professional but approachable we are willing to listen, in confidence if necessary, to support you in carrying out your role.

Q What is the role of an associate governor?

First of all, associate members are not governors, so do not appear on the Instrument of Government for maintained schools.

They are appointed 'because of the specific expertise and experience they can contribute to the effective governance and success of the school', typically for a defined period such as a year. Although associate members do not have voting rights on the full governing board, they may have voting rights on a committee if this is defined in the terms of reference. They can also chair a committee. However, since associate members are not governors they cannot override a decision of the governors so cannot have a casting vote. Although associate members are not governors they are required to complete a self-declaration form on appointment.

Q One of our parent governors comes to the end of their term of office soon but would like to remain on the governing board. Can we just re-elect them?

No - Parent governors are elected by other parents at the school, not by the governing board. Arrangements must be made to fill parent governor vacancies through elections so every parent or carer has the opportunity to stand for nomination. 

Remember - if you are keen to retain an existing parent governor because of the key skills, knowledge or experience they bring to the governing board, you can also consider appointing them as a co-opted governor if you have a vacancy. Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing board for the skills and experience they bring to their team. 

Q I need to put together a Complaints Panel, but all our governors have had prior involvement. What do we do?

Where it is necessary for the governing board to convene a governor panel to hear a parental complaint, it can be difficult to find governors who are available, impartial and completely untainted by the circumstances of the hearing. Under the Collaboration Arrangements (maintained schools) you can use governors from another school but this does require a formal agreement between the schools. Our model template can be used to set this up.

Q Are school governors entitled to time off work to carry out their duties?

By law, employers must give employees who serve on maintained school boards  'reasonable time off' to carry out their duties, but this does not have to be time off with pay, and is a matter for discussion between the employee and the employer. Guidance on time off for public duties.

For academies, the CBI believes there is a robust business case for employers supporting their staff to volunteer in governance roles, with employers benefitting from the development of skills and experience of its staff serving on governing boards.


Review of Governance

Effective governance is pivotal to school improvement and the continued success of the school. Since April 2013 over 120 governing boards have benefited from an EES for Schools Review of Governance (RoG). They have become an established tool to support proactive governing boards in their self-evaluation and as a health check in preparation for inspection.
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Frequently Asked Questions

The world of school governance is constantly changing. Please visit our FAQ page to view the questions we are most frequently asked. If you can't find the answer to your question, or wish to discuss in confidence, please contact the Governor Services team on 033301 39833 or email us.