Governance and working as part of a governing body team is rewarding, interesting and makes a huge difference to the school, its pupils and the community. We are delighted to welcome new governors and hope that the information below is helpful.

There are several different categories of governor – foundation, parent, local authority, staff and ex-officio. Anyone wishing to serve as a governor must be over 18 and will have to apply through an agreed process to ensure that they are suitable to support a school under their chosen category. Most importantly prospective governors must have the time, appropriate skills and commitment to help the governing board and school provide outstanding outcomes and experiences for all children and staff.

All governors on a church school governing board work collectively to ensure the effectiveness of the school as a place of learning, where Christian values flourish, regardless of their category. All Church of England schools must have foundation governors who additionally support and promote the Christian foundations on which the school was built. In the Diocese of Oxford, we have three types of foundation governor:

  • Those appointed by the ODBE in collaboration with the local church community
  • Those appointed by the Parochial Church Council (PCC)
  • The ex-officio governor – normally the incumbent (local vicar) unless a substitute has been nominated by the archdeacon

We recognise that chairs of governors have a particular role to play in guiding their governing board to be as efficient and effective as possible. Our ODBE Chairs’ Network provides an opportunity to share and discuss concerns and good practice, working on the principle that “the wisdom is in the room” and we can learn from one another. We offer two Network events each year, offering food for thought and key questions to discuss. We can also support new chairs by finding experienced chairs as mentors. School Link Advisers are also always happy to be contacted by chairs.

The role of the clerk is also significant to the smooth running of a governing board and we seek to support this work through two separate sessions. Session one looks at the key skills, knowledge and competencies needed to be an effective and informed clerk in a Church of England school, and is suitable for new clerks or those who would like to refresh their knowledge. A second session looks more specifically at the clerking of panels and is suitable for new and experienced clerks.

Regular contact with national agencies including the DfE, National Governance Association and the countrywide Diocesan Governance Group ensure that we have access to current advice and guidance and a platform to voice the needs and concerns of our governing boards and schools. More locally, we work closely with Local Authority and Multi Academy Trust officers in order to provide support and challenge for local governing boards.

If you are interested in becoming a governor or would like to know more about the roles and responsibilities please contact the school of your choice or Tracy Makin, School Support Officer at: or 01865 208242.