School and Academy Governance
The Role of a Governor
Serving as a school governor is a fantastic way to serve and support a Church school. We have an amazing group of almost 300 governors appointed by the LDBS, serving in more than 160 Church schools all over London; they make a huge difference, and we could not run our schools without them. Our governors are volunteers: for many, serving as a governor in a Church school is an expression of their own Christian discipleship and service.
Governors in Church schools have a responsibility for:
- Ensuring clarity of Christian vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding the headteacher to account for staff performance management and the school’s educational outcomes
- Making sure money is well spent
LDBS-appointed governors have a particular responsibility for making sure their school promotes education which is consistent with the faith and practice of the Church of England, and that the Christian ethos of the school is preserved and developed.
Each school governing body is slightly different, but in a Voluntary Aided school it will always include LDBS-appointed governors and elected parent and staff governors. It may also include governors appointed by a local church, deanery or local authority.
In a stand-alone Academy there is usually a board of trustees appointed by the original members of the Academy as well as elected parents and school staff. In a Multi Academy Trust there is usually a single board of trustees overseeing a local governing committee for each school in the Trust.
The principles of good governance are the same for all types of school.
The LDBS provides a full range of training for school governors and trustees in our schools.
Becoming a Governor
School governors are instrumental in supporting ongoing school improvement and the development of the character of Church of England schools. As such, the role can be hugely rewarding, but it also carries significant responsibilities. Therefore, the LDBS is careful only to appoint people who meet the criteria for commitment, skills and circumstances.
LDBS governors commit to:
- support and promote the vision of the Diocese of London for children and young people within the school context
- support and promote principles of good governance within the school context
- give sufficient time to attend meetings and training, undertake background reading and make occasional visits to the school during school hours
Your skills, experience and knowledge
LDBS governors have:
- a commitment to the school, its leadership and community
- good interpersonal skills
- an ability to challenge, question and analyse in a supportive manner
- competent levels of literacy and numeracy, and ease with the English language
- relevant skills, experience and knowledge to contribute to the effective governance and success of their school. Skills, experience and knowledge will vary but may include:
- understanding the legal and policy environment in which schools operate
- analysing performance data
- budgeting and driving financial efficiency
- performance management
- premises management
- employment issues, including grievances
- school improvement
- children’s work and social care
- mental health and wellbeing
- community involvement
- are members of a Christian church.1
- meet safeguarding requirements including an enhanced DBS check.
- provide two positive references from a headteacher, a chair of governors, a member of the clergy, or someone who knows you in a professional context. References from friends are not accepted.
- are not disqualified from taking office as a governor.
- are appointed for a term of four years, with the option to renew for a further term if all parties agree.
1 Priority is given to applicants who are communicant members of a Church of England church or a church in communion with the Church of England. A list of those churches in communion with the Church of England can be found here
Applications are welcome from members of other churches which are members of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, the Evangelical Alliance or the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.
The LDBS is eager to increase the cultural diversity of our governing bodies and is actively seeking candidates from Black, Asian and other ethnic groups which are a minority in the UK.
Parents often make excellent school governors. LDBS does not appoint parents to the governing body of the school attended by their child, although former parents are welcome to apply. We encourage current parents to stand for election as parent governors in the school or to apply to be an LDBS governor at a different school.
Members of school staff often make excellent school governors. Serving as a school governor can be valuable experience for aspiring leaders. LDBS does not appoint staff to the governing body of the school where they work. We encourage them to stand for election as a staff governor, or to apply to be an LDBS governor at a different school.
The LDBS does not appoint a member of the congregation of any church whose PCC already appoints governors to the school. Applicants from such churches are encouraged to approach their PCC with a view to being appointed by the PCC as a governor for the school, or to apply to be an LDBS governor at a different school.
In exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of the Appointments Panel, applications will be considered from candidates who do not meet all the usual criteria, for example for a hard-to-fill post which has been vacant for a long time, or where the applicant offers a particular experience or skill which is needed by the governing body.
If you are interested in becoming a LDBS foundation governor, please download and fill in the Governor application form, which can be found on our Appointments Process webpage.
Please note in May 2021 changes were made to appointment form and reference form. For more details on these changes please see the Appointments Process briefing update (May 2021).