Instrument of Government

The legal document which specifies the composition of governing bodies and defines the rules and procedures through which they function.

Chair of governors

A governor who is elected annually to chair meetings and represent the governing body between meetings.

Parent governor

A parent who has been elected by other parents of pupils at a school, to serve on the governing body.

Local Education Authority governor

A school governor who has been appointed, and can be removed, by the LEA. Normally these appointments reflect the balance of political representation in the area.

Minor authority governor

A school governor who is a representative of a minor authority, such as a parish council (in voluntary schools only).

Teacher governor

A governor who is a teacher at the school and has been elected by his or her colleagues.

Headteacher governor

A headteacher has a right to attend all meetings of the governing body and is a governor unless he or she opts not to be.

Co-opted governor

A governor of a county or controlled school who are added to the governing body by other governors for a particular reason, such as having relevant expertise, representing an underrepresented part of the community, etc.

Foundation governor

A governor who has been appointed, and can be removed, by the church or other organisation which provides the school.

Clerk of governors

The secretary to the governing body who issues agendas and compiles minutes.


The minimum number of governors who must be present for most decisions to be taken as a governing body - usually one third of all governors, rounded up.

Governors' sub-committees

Groups of governors who meet between meetings of the full governing body to work on particular aspects of a schools affairs, such as staffing, curriculum, finance, sites and buildings. They report back to the governing body.

Staff Governor

A governor who is a non-teaching member of staff (although there is a proposal to remove this category of governor).