What is a Foundation Governor?

Foundation Governors are appointed in the name of the bishop and form the majority of the governing body of a Catholic school. They have a legal duty to preserve and develop the Catholic character of the school and to ensure that the school is conducted in accordance with its trust deed.  Governing boards have three core functions:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

The ministry of Foundation Governor is an important one, because the Catholic character of our schools depends on committed Catholics being willing to undertake this service. The bishop is therefore very appreciative of all those who offer to assist him in this vital task

Responsibilities and Time Commitments

The average Foundation Governor role will take up about 10-12 hours per month. However, this can vary depending on the school calendar or by events, such as an Ofsted inspection.

This commitment includes the minimum requirement of attending three full governor meetings per year and serving on at least one committee.

The committees will focus on areas such as finance, curriculum, Catholicity, pupil progress and site management.

You will also be required to attend Catholic training sessions organised by the diocese during each term of office.

Do I fit the criteria?

Because of our baptism, all Christians are all called to serve the Church’s mission. So lack of experience is no bar to appointment, because all that is required is a wish to serve the mission of the Church in this particular way. Induction and training will be provided for Foundation Governors.

1. To become or remain a foundation governor, a person must be and remain:

  • a practising Catholic;
  • providing education for his or her own children, if of school age, in a Catholic school or college (unless exceptional circumstances apply);
  • able to give priority of attendance at meetings of the governing body to ensure representation of the bishop;
  • able to possess a valid DBS disclosure certificate before entry to any school.

2. To become or remain a foundation governor, a person must not be disqualified from becoming or remaining a governor in accordance with:

  • the current School Government Regulations (or the college’s Instrument of Government);
  • the Charities Acts; and
  • the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000.

3. In respect of the school or college for which a person is or is to be a foundation governor, he or she must not at any time be:

  • related to any member of the school or college staff, teaching or non-teaching;
  • related to any governor whether elected, appointed or ex-officio, of the school;
  • employed (whether as a teacher or otherwise) at the school.

4. A person (other than the parish priest) will not be re-appointed as a foundation governor of a particular school or college if he or she has just completed three terms of office on that particular governing body.

If criterion 2 ceases to apply during the term of office of a governor, the term of office comes to an end automatically by operation of law. Should criteria 1 or 3 cease to apply to a foundation governor during his or her tenure of office, the governor would be expected to offer his or her resignation to the bishop.