This site uses cookies to store information on your computer Please review our cookie policy


Role of the Governing Body

Department for Education

The Department for Education (DfE) sets out information on the role of governing bodies in the Governors' Handbook.  It says:
In all types of schools, governing bodies should have a strong focus on three core strategic functions:


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

The Governors' Handbook goes on to describe the functions of governors in more detail. It says:

Governing bodies are the key strategic decision-making body of every school. It is their role to set the school’s strategic framework and to ensure all statutory duties are met.
The Handbook says the governing body should ensure that the school has a medium to long-term vision for its future, and suggests governors could set this out in a specific written vision statement.
It says governors should also ensure there is a robust strategy in place for achieving the vision, which should address the fundamental questions of:

Where are we now?
Where do we want to be?
How are we going to get there?

Avoid 'routine involvement in operational matters'

The Handbook says governing bodies should "avoid routine involvement in operational matters" and instead:

... should focus strongly on holding the headteacher to account for exercising his/her professional judgement in these matters and all of their other duties.

However, it adds:

Since the governing body is responsible in law for the school, it may need to intervene in operational matters if a circumstance arises where, because of the actions or inactions of the headteacher, the school may be in breach of a duty if the governing body did not intervene.

Files to Download