What governing bodies do

The school’s governing body is responsible overall for the conduct of the school and must lead the school with a view to promoting high standards of achievement. It should fulfil its functions in a strategic way. Broadly speaking governing bodies have responsibilities in the following areas:


  • Ensuring the schools clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff, and,
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

How governing bodies are made up

Governing bodies have the authority to determine the constitution of their governing body. This is to ensure they have a dynamic governing body which is no larger than it needs to be, with governors and trustees who are actively contributing the relevant skills and experience. They are:


  • Parent governors - elected by other parents at the school; 
  • Staff governors - elected by teachers and staff working at the school; 
  • The head teacher;
  • Local authority governors - nominated by the local authority; 
  • Community/co-opted governors - representing the wider community, chosen and appointed by the governing body; and 
  • Foundation governors at church schools - appointed by the diocesan boards and church authorities.


There may be other categories of governor depending on the type of school.

How governing bodies work

A governing body works closely with the Headteacher and makes strategic decisions collectively as a team. As well as through school visits, it conducts most of its business through meetings, making use of relevant information, data, guidance and advice from the Headteacher and other independent sources. Regular attendance at meetings is essential. Most governing bodies have committees that focus on curriculum, standards, finance, premises, personnel, teaching and learning. Governors will be expected to join at least one committee which best fits the skills they possess or are willing to develop.

Length of office

Governors generally serve for a four year term but may resign mid-term if personal circumstances change.

Contact us

Merton and Sutton Governor Support Services
Children, Schools and Families
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Tel: 020 8545 3307 / 3118 / 3923
Fax: 020 8545 3260
Email: governor.support@merton.gov.uk>