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by Michael Ford last modified 18 May, 2018 03:20 PM
"In order to enable the continued development of successful schools, high quality governance is essential… The governance of our schools cannot be left to chance; schools need governors with the right skills and gifts to provide strategic oversight and direction" - A Diocesan Board of Education for the Future, July 2013

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Governors and local board members have a vital role in supporting Church of England schools, preserving and developing their Christian ethos.

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The Church of England's vision for education is “to fulfil human potential, meet the needs of society and transmit knowledge and culture. Fulfilling human potential rightly requires a focus on progress and achievement, excellence and high quality of educational experience, but also through offering a life enhancing encounter with the Christian faith and the person of Jesus Christ.”

The Diocesan Board of Education claims its role as servant leader, enabling the creation of an interdependent family of outstanding schools and academies. We want to empower, enable and encourage transformational leadership in schools and parishes which transforms the lives of children and young people. Schools and academies are aiming to be distinctive, effective and inclusive. Governors as leaders are key partners in this work. Schools need governors with the experiences, skills and understanding to work strategically alongside other school leaders.

Our developing Governance strategy intends to support governors and local area board members in a rapidly changing educational environment.


Foundation Governors

For most diocesan schools, the local Parochial Church Council (PCC) is responsible for making foundation governor nominations to the Board of Education. The Board of Education is responsible for making the appointments.

The responsibilities of a foundation governor are the same of those of other governors, but in addition, foundation governors are the 'formal Christian presence' on the Governing Body; they are upholding the religious Trust Deed of the school. In the case of an academy all governors have the duty to uphold the academy’s Christian distinctiveness as specified in the Memorandum of Understanding.

The key function of foundation governors is to ‘explore, with their partners on the Governing Body, ways in which the Church’s role in the school may be more fully and positively implemented’.

So what does this mean?

  • Have particular concern for RE and Collective Worship
  • Making sure that financial decisions allow RE to be resourced well
  • Seek to maintain and develop links with the local church 
  • Ensure that the school’s ethos statement makes its Church connection clear so that Christian values inform the life of the school and are always evident in the attitudes and relationships of governors, staff and pupils
  • Work with fellow governors and staff colleagues to set clear aims and objectives for the school that will promote high standards and a positive environment for learning and personal growth
  • Ensure that school policies clearly reflect Gospel values and legal requirements. Encourage the inclusion of prayer and reflection  at Governing Body meetings
  • Encourage the appointment of good teachers and support staff who are well-qualified and excellent practitioners, are aware of the Christian ethos of the school and willing to support it
  • Ensure that Headteacher candidates are asked to ‘demonstrate their ability and fitness to sustain and develop the religious character of the school’
  • Ensure that new Heads have access to effective external support
  • Encourage senior staff to develop their professional understanding of the ways in which they exercise leadership in a Christian school
  • Promote quality in Collective Worship and in the Religious Education provided by the school
  • Report to the PCC and congregation about the work of the school, encouraging parishioners to support it prayerfully and financially
  • Be prepared to present the Diocesan Board of Education’s views to the Governing Body on any matter
  • Provide pastoral support where required for staff

If you are interested in becoming a school governor, please contact your local school or:

Main contacts:

Neil leads Governor training, governing body strategies, development and recruitment.

Dan supports foundation governors in their role and works with schools and parishes in governor recruitment, retention and training.

Pam handles data processing for governor body members, minutes of meetings and renominations.

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