We are hugely grateful for the work of school governors across our Diocese. There are 238 Church of England schools within the Diocese of Leeds.  All have a Christian foundation and their Instrument of Government requires that this is upheld by maintaining the Christian distinctiveness of the school through its vision, values and leadership, of which the Governing Board is an important part.

We support our governors through the Enhanced Service Plan, our annual service level agreement with our schools and academies. This provides access to:

  • A termly online briefing for all senior leaders, including governors
  • A termly governor briefing on a current issue facing schools
  • Two termly networking opportunities, one for governors and the other for chairs of governors
  • A termly newsletter
  • Access to a range of courses, some of which are governor specific, at a 40% discount.

Each of our church schools has a named adviser who is also able to offer in-school training and advice for governing boards.

What is the role of the governing body?

A strong, well led, governing body supportive of the school, its staff and its vision make a crucial contribution to the school's well-being and effectiveness. Governors are the strategic leaders within schools and have the responsibility of promoting high standards of educational achievement, ensuring every child and adult in their school flourishes. According to the DfE Governors' Handbook, the governing body has three strategic functions;

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction

  2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and the performance management of staff

  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent​​​​​​

What are foundation governors?

In the Diocese of Leeds, we have three types of foundation governor:

  • The ex-officio governor – normally the incumbent (local vicar) unless a substitute has been nominated by the archdeacon
  • Those appointed by the Board of Education as a Foundation Governor.
  • Those appointed by the Parochial Church Council (PCC)

It is a requirement of the Trust under which Church of England Schools were established to have foundation governors. They have a special responsibility:

  • To ensure that the guiding principles of the founding church are incorporated into all aspects of the governance of the school
  • That the Christian character of the school is preserved and enhanced in line with the trust deed

Foundation Governors bring a wide range of skills and aptitudes to the role. They must ensure that the board bears in mind the principles of the Church of England and distinctive Christian ethos of the school in all three of the strategic functions of governance outlined above.

Most school governor’s terms of office lasts four years, although a governor can step down at any point during that time.  Ex-Officio Foundation Governors remain in post for the duration of their role in parish.

What difference do governors make?

Governors can make a huge difference to a school and therefore its children, their families and the community. Effective governing boards work collectively to make their schools a place of Christian welcome where adults and children flourish. Boards are central to strategic decision making, setting a clear Christian vision, agreeing underlying values and long term priorities. The board is also vital in supporting and challenging the headteacher who has the operational role of successfully achieving these aims. As with all success, it will always be built on firm trusting, compassionate relationships.

How do I become a governor?

Schools are recruiting skilful volunteers to serve as governors in primary schools, secondary schools and academy trusts across the Diocese now. You don’t need lots of experience and you don’t need to be a parent. All we ask is that you value Church of England education, share our passion for making our schools the best they can be and have the commitment and skills needed to be a governor.

Being a governor is interesting and rewarding. If you’re interested in becoming a Governor start by finding out whether your local church school has any vacancies. If you’d like to become a foundation governor start by checking with the school or the church PCC. For information on whether you can get time off for public duties click here

Please email if you would like an application form or more information.

What if we have a vacancy?

At the Diocesan Education Team we are regularly asked if we can supply a foundation governor when a vacancy arises. We are sorry to say that we don’t hold a list of prospective governors as useful as that might be.

If you have a vacancy for a foundation governor here are some useful tips:

So you have a vacancy for a Foundation Governor? What next?


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