Categories of School Governor
In the current educational landscape, there are many different types of schools. It follows that there are different categories of governance boards and different types of governor.
Types of governance boards
If a school is maintained by the local authority (also known as a maintained school), it will have one governance board.
Sometimes, maintained schools formally group together into a federation. In this case, there may be one federation governance board for all the schools in the federation.
If the school is an academy, it will have layers of governance with the directors as the accountable body. Academies have the legal status of companies and are also charitable trusts. This means directors have the responsibilities of both company directors and charity trustees.
The Academy trust will also have academy members. The role of Members is analogous to that of shareholders in a commercial company, although Academy Trusts do not have shares. Members of an Academy Trust do not have rights of ownership in the company like shareholders because the profits of the company cannot be distributed to them. However, the Members can control changes in the constitution (subject to DfE approval) and other fundamental decisions relating to the Academy Trust.
It is common for academies to group together as a Multi Academy Trust (MAT), and in addition to members and the board of directors, there is usually a local academy committee for each school. Each Trust will have a scheme of delegation to determine which responsibilities lie with which level of governance.
Categories of governor
The composition of the governance boards varies from school to school and is determined by the schools Instrument of Government or the Academy Trusts Articles of Association.
Governance boards have a combination of appointed or elected Governors or Directors.
Parent: Elected from among parents of children and young people at the school.
Staff: Elected from among the teaching and non-teaching staff at the school. The headteacher is an ex-officio member of the governance boards of a maintained school.
Local Authority: (Maintained schools only). Nominated by the governance board and appointed by local authorities (Devon, Torbay and Plymouth).
Co-opted: Appointed by members of the governance boards/board of trustees .
Foundation: Foundation Governors and Directors represent the historic link with the original foundation of the school and its distinctive religious character. All Church of England Schools and academy trusts that include CofE schools are required to have foundation Governor or Directors.
Foundation governors (maintained schools): Appointed by the Diocesan Board of Education or other organisations as specified in the Instrument of Government. One of the Foundation Governors is an Ex-officio (has the right of office) and the position is usually undertaken by the Incumbent of the Parish.
Foundation Directors in Academy Trusts: Members appoint foundation directors in academies, as specified in the Articles of Association. Directors appoint foundation governors on local academy committees.
Associate Members: Appointed by the governance boards to add the right skills and expertise to committees of the governance boards. Associate members are non voting for decisions of the full governance boards but can vote at committee level.
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