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What is expected of governors

25 October 2016

Mutual understanding and cooperation leads to a more successful governing body. Essex County Council has developed a charter for local authority governors that sets out our expectations of local authority governors and our commitment to support.


The governing body expects the school to:

  • understand and respect its statutory role and purpose
  • recognise the shared commitment to school improvement and securing the best outcomes for every child
  • respect governors as volunteers who bring other skills, experiences and perspectives, and value their contribution
  • work openly with the governing body and provide clear, concise and relevant information on which to base decisions
  • enable all governors to become involved in the life of the school
  • contribute to the induction, training and development of governors
  • ensure that where educational jargon is unavoidable it is at least explained

The school expects the governing body to:

  • respect the professional expertise of the headteacher and staff
  • work openly in partnership with the headteacher and staff for the benefit of the school and its pupils
  • demonstrate its commitment, collectively and individually
  • act and take decisions that are in the best interests of the school and not those of self, individuals or groups
  • support the school with parents and in the community
  • recognise the need for both governor induction and ongoing training and development

The expectation of individual governors is that they will:

  • enhance the work of the governing body to enable a strong focus on raising standards, so that every child achieves their potential
  • demonstrate their commitment by getting to know the school and becoming involved in school life and activities
  • take personal responsibility for their ongoing training and development
  • prepare for meetings so they are well informed, having at minimum read all of the papers sent out with the agenda
  • attend meetings (governing body/committees/working group) and play an active part
  • support the school with parents and in the community
  • recognise the corporate status of the governing body and the concept of collective responsibility
  • respect confidentiality and the need to act with circumspection.

DBS Checks for governors

School Governance (Constitution and Federations)(England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 legislates for enhanced DBS checks for all maintained governors – from April 2016 for new governors; from 1 September 2016 for existing governors. Please read the guidance and note the new self-declaration form.

Code of conduct

It is good practice for governing bodies to adopt a code of conduct that sets out the expectations and commitment required from governors. 


Social networking tools present a great opportunity for school governors to communicate and collaborate effectively – but an increasing number of governors and staff are falling foul of using the web, so the revised version includes a reference to using social networks responsibly.


It is recommended that the code be thoroughly discussed so the whole governing body has ownership of it. Once adopted, governors should review and sign the code of conduct on an annual basis, ideally at the first meeting in the autumn term.