Parent Governors Election


Electing Parent Governors

National Governance Association

As a local authority (LA) maintained school, we have two parent governors, as set out in the instrument of government. 

For LA maintained schools the Constitution Regulations (either 2007 or 2012) set out the minimum number/proportion of elected parent governors a governing body must have.

The 2007 Regulations require that:

  • In community schools, maintained nursery schools, community special schools and voluntary controlled schools, parent governors must comprise one third or more of the governing body. This also applies to foundation schools without a foundation, and those which have a foundation but are not qualifying foundation schools.
  • Qualifying foundation schools and voluntary aided schools must have at least one parent governor.

If you have chosen to reconstitute, or your school was established after 1st September 2012, you will follow the 2012 Regulations. The 2012 Regulations state that the governing body of every maintained school must have at least two elected parent governors.

Both sets of regulations define an elected parent governor as a person who is elected as a member of the governing body of the school by parents of registered pupils at the school and who is a parent at the time s/he is elected. A person is disqualified from standing for election (or appointment) as a parent governor if s/he is: 

  •  an elected member of the local education authority; or
  •  paid to work at the school for more than 500 hours in any consecutive twelve month period (at the time of the election or appointment).

Elections for parent governors must be organised by the ‘appropriate authority’:

  • For a community school, a community special school, a maintained nursery school or a voluntary controlled school this will be the LA.
  • For a voluntary aided school, foundation school or foundation special school this will be the governing body. The governing body can give responsibility for parent governor elections to the LA, providing that both the governing body and LA agree to the arrangement. If it chooses not to do this, it must determine its own arrangements in compliance with the Regulations. (It is extremely unusual for an LA to organise parent governor elections for a VA or foundation school)

Most LAs choose to delegate the responsibility for parent elections to the headteacher, who commonly acts as the ‘returning officer’. In some cases, the school may use the clerk to the governors or appoint another member of staff as returning officer. Where the appropriate authority is the governing body, the chair or clerk to governors may be the returning officer.

It is good practice to have an agreed procedure in place so that it is clear to all parents what the process is and that it is transparent and objective. In addition to the formal election procedure, you might want to consider providing additional guidance on other aspects of the election process. For example, nowadays many parents use social media, and may use this as a canvassing tool to garner support. The school cannot prevent parents from using social media - indeed this may be a good way for the school to raise awareness of the school governor role. However it may be wise to remind parents that not all use social media and that the full range of candidate information is available on the school website.