School governors are one of the country's largest voluntary groups with around 300,000 contributing to strategic development and raising standards of achievement at more than 30,000 schools.
School governors are members of their school's governing body, which is known as a 'corporate body'. A corporate body has a legal identity that is separate from its members and as a result, individual governors are generally protected from personal liability as a result of the governing body's decisions and actions provided they act honestly, reasonably and in good faith.
Individual governors have no power or right to act on behalf of the governing body except where the whole governing body has delegated a specific function to that individual or where regulations specify a function is to be exercised in a particular way.
School governors are drawn from different parts of the community and can be parents and staff or from the LA, the community and other groups. This helps ensure the governing body has sufficient diversity of views and experience but does not mean governors of a particular category represent that group on the governing body. For example, parent governors do not represent the parents at the school and do not report back to them.
The governing body has a range of duties and powers and a general responsibility for the conduct of the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement. Its responsibilities include but are not limited to:
The governing body has considerable discretion as to how to discharge its responsibilities but is required to constitute itself in line with the regulations and to appoint a chair and vice chair. The governing body may delegate certain of its responsibilities to certain governors or committees of governors, although in general, it is not compelled to do so.
There are a range of roles and actions the governing body or individual governors need to consider:
Further information and reading can be found on the National Governors' Association website.
The NGA represents school governors from all state-funded schools, including those from LA maintained schools and academies in England.