Leadership and Governance

image of headteachers

Church schools at their best offer a vision to what it is to grow to full humanity.
(The Way Ahead, Church Schools in the New Millennium, 2001)


The Board of Education is committed to helping schools to continually strengthen their effectiveness and distinctiveness as Church of England Schools. Governors, headteachers and school leadership teams play a central role in securing high standards and in ensuring that every young person within a school can enjoy ‘life in all its fullness’.

Whilst the governing bodies role is largely strategic, a strong, well-led governing body, supportive of the school, its staff and its mission makes an important contribution to the school’s well-being and effectiveness. Working closely with governors and senior colleagues, it is the headteacher’s job to create a shared vision and plan for the school that inspires students, teachers and the whole school community to give and achieve their best. Headteachers and principals are both the spiritual and academic leaders of their schools or academies.

Headteacher Recruitment

Headteacher support

Academies & School Organisation

Appointing a Head Teacher –  Guidance for Governors (March 2016)

National Standards for Head Teachers – January 2015

Support for Headteachers

Bishop’s Visitors scheme

Academy conversion


Voluntary controlled and aided schools


Free schools

Changing status

School Admissions

All Voluntary Aided, Foundation and Academy schools are their own admissions authorities and must set, consult on and determine admissions arrangements. We recommend that this is done annually.

School admission code
School admissions arrangements and regulations
School admission regulations related to infant class sizes

School admission appeals code
School admission appeal arrangements and regulations

All admissions arrangements are subject to the Department for Education Admissions and School Appeals Codes and all governors should ensure they are familiar with these documents.


Important Changes – DBS Checks Now Mandatory for Governors

Following the publication of the new School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 it is now mandatory for all governors at maintained schools to apply for an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check.

With effect from 1 April 2016 all newly appointed or elected governors in maintained schools must apply for an enhanced DBS check within 21 days of their election or appointment.

Serving governors, who do not already have an enhanced DBS check, need to have one in place by 1 September 2016.

The Governance of Church of England Schools

Church Schools were established in a tradition of Christian commitment to education to serve local communities or parishes.   The School Standards and Framework Act 1998 has underwritten the continued opportunity for church schools to hold their place in the state system in three forms, either as Voluntary Aided, Voluntary Controlled or Foundation schools.

Unlike Voluntary Aided schools, the two last categories are schools where the church foundation does not have a majority on the governing body.  However, all church schools are governed under Instruments of Government, operating since 1 September 2003, which contain “an ethos statement” adopted by the governors to encapsulate the religious character of the school and its purpose.  It represents a modern interpretation of the school’s original Trust Deed, the legal document which founded the school.

Foundation Governors

Foundation Governors are expected to bring to the Governing body an informed regard for the Church nature of the foundation of the school, to ensure that its Christian ethos is preserved and developed, and the religious worship reflects the tradition of the Church of England.

The law gives some powers and duties specifically to headteachers, and others to governing bodies. In a well-managed school, the headteacher and governing body will work in a close and balanced partnership.

Governors have a general responsibility for the effective management of the school, acting within the framework set by national legislation with guidance from the Diocese and the LA.  But they are not expected to take detailed decisions about the day-to-day running of the school – that is the role of the headteacher, whose appointment is one of the most important decisions with which the governing body will be concerned.  A good headteacher will discuss all the main aspects of school life with the governors and expect them to offer general guidance.  Since it is for the governors to be answerable for the running of the school, the headteacher will want to be confident that her/his actions have their support.

All governors have equal rights and responsibilities. They are not delegates and must act according to their judgement, in the best interests of the children in the school.

The responsibility of the governing body is collective. Governors do not have power to act individually unless instructed by the whole governing body.  Governors work collectively with the headteacher and staff to carry out their responsibilities.

Governors’ responsibilities involve the considerable commitment of time and energy.  It is not necessary for governors to be “experts” – accountants, surveyors, solicitors, teachers – but they must be willing to bring to bear their own common sense and experience of life on the many issues presented for their attention.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) will recommend people who it regards as being able to bring a Christian perspective to the life of the school to the Diocesan Board of Education, for appointment as foundation governors.  They will have knowledge of what Christian values might be from their own learning and relationships within the Church.

The National Governors Association (NGA) have relaunched the Governing Board Skills Audit. There are now two models, one for governors, trustees of single academy trusts and academy committee members, and a second for trustees of  Multi-academy trusts. Both helpfully appear in word and excel formats. Further details and both models can be found on the following link: NGA Models for Governor Skills Audits

 Governance Documentation

Application and Appointments of Foundation Governors Documentation:

A new approach Jan 2018

1 Nomination, Appointment and Re-appointment of Foundation Governors 2017

2 Nominating Foundation Governors – PCC Considerations 2017

3 Foundation Governor Application Form (Maintained) July 2018

4 Foundation Governor Application Form (DGET) Sept 2018

5 Academy Trustee Application Form 2017 DGET

6 Governors Skills Audit 2017

7 Guidance on the Removal of Foundation Governors Jan 2018

8 Incumbents Multi Parish Benefices with more than one church school governance advice

Governance Information and Links:

1 Governance Handbook (D f E Weblink)

2 Competencey Framework for Governance (D f E Weblink)

3 Clerking Competencey (D f E Weblink)

4 Constitution of Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools ( D f E Weblink)

5 Statutory Policies for Schools ( D f E Link)

6 Best Practice for Complaints Procedures (D f E Weblink)

7 Making Staff Appointments 2017

8 Publication of Governors Details and Register of Interests Governance 2017

9 Foundation Governors – Legal Position 2017

10 Ex-officio Foundation Governor Information 2017

11 Differences Between Categories of Church Schools 2017

12 DGAT Academy Governance Information (DGAT Weblink)


14 Exploring Church School Distinctiveness – Questions for Governors 2017

15 Governance Readiness for Ofsted Inspection 2017

16 Guidance for School Governors when Conducting or Commissioning an Independent Review 2017

17 SIAMS – Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (Diocesan Weblink)

If you have any queries related to Governance, please contact the department on education@glosdioc.org.uk and we will be happy to assist you.


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