Becoming a school governor
School governors play an important role in supporting leadership in our schools.
Governors set the strategic vision and direction, approve the budget and work in partnership with the senior leadership team.
An effective governor will:
- Be supportive of the ethos of the school.
- Have the ability to work in a team.
- Have an interest in education and a desire to ensure children receive the best possible educational opportunities.
- Have commitment, patience, energy, enthusiasm.
- Show a willingness to engage, learn and to undertake training.
- Opportunity to make a contribution, in a voluntary capacity, to the local community.
- Supporting children and young people to reach their full potential.
- Opportunities to grow and enhance personal skills and experience in areas such as planning, chairing, finance and recruitment.
- Networking opportunities with different people and professions.
- The term of office for governors is normally four years, however governors can be appointed at various times during this four-year cycle as vacancies arise.
- All boards of governors are required to meet once every school term but in practice, boards may meet more often. Governors may, in addition, be invited to sit on committees to deal with issues such as finance or staffing; these may meet more frequently.
- Governors are expected to undertake training to enable them to fulfil their roles.
- Some governors may choose to take on additional roles within the governing body, including chairperson, vice chairperson, designated governor for child protection.
- Governors are expected to attend meetings regularly and to read documentation associated with the meetings.
Before You apply
The Application for EA School Governors includes a section on ‘Conflicts of Interest’.
Applicants should consider if they have a ‘Conflict of Interest’ such as being a relative of an existing governor or member of staff of the school, being a Principal of a school in the same community or having been recently employed in the school. This description is not exhaustive, and governors may not be eligible if there is a perception of a conflict of interest. Further information on eligibility and ‘Conflicts of Interest’ are included within the FAQ section.
Apply to be a school governor
Anyone 18 years of age or over can apply to be a governor; you don’t need to be a parent.
Please click the link below to apply for the new 2024-2028 term of office. If you require the form in an alternative format please either contact [email protected] or the reconstitution helpline on 028 9041 8069.
The process of considering submitted applications will commence early in 2024. The first phase of applications closed on 18 December 2023 and the second phase closed on 05 February 2024. Applications received on or before 4 May 2024 will be considered in the third phase of meetings. Applicants should note that the first appointment letters for the new term of office are not expected to issue until June 2024.
If you wish to apply for the current term of office, 2018-2024, please contact [email protected] for an application form.
Membership of Boards of Governors differs according to the school sector and phase (nursery, primary, post-primary, special).
The size of the Board of Governors can range from 8 to 36 members and may have representation from some of the following dependent on the sector:
- Education Authority governor: Appointed by EA.
- Department of Education governor: Nominated or appointed by DE as appropriate to a range of schools.
- Transferor governor: Normally nominated by representatives of the Church of Ireland, Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Methodist Church in Ireland in the locality served by the school. Appointed to controlled schools only*.
- Trustee governor: Normally nominated by the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Diocese. Normally appointed to Maintained and controlled integrated schools only*.
- Parent governor: Elected by parents of pupils at the school.
- Teacher governor: Elected by the teaching staff at the school.
- Principal: Non-voting executive member of board of governors and normally Secretary to the board of governors although this is not mandatory.
*Controlled Integrated Schools will have both Transferor and Trustee governors
Co-opted governors - A Board of Governors can consider the co-option of governors as a means to extend its competences in specific aspects of school governance. Co-opted members do not have a vote on the Board of Governors.
The exact membership composition for each type of school is laid down in legislation and in the Scheme of Management for the school.
A summary membership table is provided in the link below: