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School governance

Every Church school has a governing body or a local governing committee (if the school is part of a multi-academy trust) which is responsible for overseeing the work of the headteacher and seniors leaders in schools.

The role of the governing body

Governing bodies are the legally accountable body for Church of England schools in the Local Authority sector. If the school is academy, the local governing committee acts as sub-committee of the Trust Board who is the legally responsible body for every school in the trust.

Governors are strategic leaders and have the responsibility of promoting high standards of educational achievement, ensuring every child in their school receives the best quality education.

The Department for Education (DFE) Handbook

The DfE Governance Handbook (October 2020) states the governing body has three core functions;

• Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
• Holding executive to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils and the performance management of staff; and
• Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
The role of the Diocesan Board of Education

The DBE Measure 2021 states that the Diocesan Board of Education may give advice to governing bodies of Church schools on any matter affecting Church schools.

The governing body of a voluntary or foundation school which is a church school must obtain the advice of the DBE before—

a) publishing proposals under section 15(2) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 for the discontinuance of the school
b) publishing proposals under section 19(3) of that Act for an alteration to the school,
c) serving notice under section 30(1) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 of an intention to discontinue the school, or
d) beginning consultation under section 88C(2) of that Act about the admission arrangements proposed for the school.
The appointment process for governors of Church schools

The size of the governing body can vary, but a Church school's governing body will be made up of representatives from the school staff (including the headteacher), the local authority, the parent body, the PCC of the parish church and the Diocese, the latter being referred to as Foundation Governors.

Individuals nominated by the PCC or the DBE to become a Foundation Governor must complete an application form and skills audit form which can be downloaded below:

Please send completed forms for the attention of the Deputy Director of Education, Matthew Rixson to schoolgovernance@cofeguildford.org.uk.

Applications for the appointment and re-appointment of foundation governors are reviewed once each half-term by an appointment panel.

Applications will be reviewed on the following dates:


• 9th January 2023
• 20th February 2023
• 24th April 2023
• 6th June 2023
• 5th September 2023
• 6th November 2023


• 8th January 2024
• 26th February 2024
• 22nd April 2024
• 10th June 2024
• 2nd September 2024
• 11th November 2024

Important information: Signed application forms and skills audits must be submitted at least one working day before each review date to be considered.

Clerking Professionals please contact us at schoolgovernance@cofeguildford.org.uk.

Governor training

The DBE and the Education team is committed to supporting all our governors and provides a substantial training programme

Useful Links

DfE Governance Handbook 
National Governors' Association
Education inspection framework (EIF)
Governor Training

If you require support for governance please contact the Diocesan Director of Education, Alex Tear.

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