Parent governor elections

Parent governors are elected by other parents at the school.

The definition of a parent under education law covers:

  • all natural parents whether they are married or not
  • any person who has parental responsibility for a child or young person
  • any person who has care of a child or young person, such as lives with and looks after the child

The school will need to decide who comes within the definition of parent in respect of a particular pupil. Generally parents include all those with day to day responsibility for a child.

Who can become a parent governor?

Any parent, or carer, of a registered pupil at the school at the time of election is eligible to stand for election as a parent governor, unless they are:

  • an elected member of Cheshire East Council
  • are paid to work at the school for more than 500 hours per year
  • ineligible to become a school governor under Schedule 4 of The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012.

Even if their child leaves the school, parent governors may continue to hold office until the end of their term of office.

If you are not a parent of a child at a school, you may be able to become a local authority nominated governor.

Information for prospective parent governors

The Department for Education’s Statutory Guidance on the constitution of governing bodies (PDF, 280KB) of maintained schools describes how governing bodies should provide information for prospective governors on the role, responsibilities, level of commitment and preferred skills of any candidates.

Although the Statutory Guidance is for maintained schools its guiding principles can be applied to both SATs and MATs.

Parent governor election process 

The rules, procedures and arrangements for electing parent governors are different depending upon the type of school and its legal governance structure. However, the principle of parent governors being elected by other parents remains the same. In maintained schools, the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 make it clear that every parent of a child at the school is eligible to both stand in the election, and vote in the election.

Schools must make every reasonable effort to fill parent governor vacancies through elections. However, the regulations make provision for the governing board to appoint parent governors where not enough parents stand for election. However, governing boards may only appoint, as a parent governor, a parent who has in their opinion the skills to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school.

Contact us

School Governance Team

0300 123 5036

School Governance
Floor 5, Delamere House
Delamere Street

Page last reviewed: 10 April 2024