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Election of parent and teacher governors

As part of the reconstitution of boards of governors, parent and teacher members of boards of governors were appointed in 2015. Existing parent and teacher governors should remain in post until their successors take up post. Find our more about the role of a governor, read Q&As of controlled school governors highlighting what their roles entail.

Parent governors

  • In law, the term “parent” includes a guardian and every person who has the actual custody of the pupil
  • Parent governors must be elected by parents of pupils attending the school (or schools) at the time of the election from amongst the parents of such pupils.
  • An elected parent governor usually remains in office for the 4-year term (unless they resign) even if they cease to be a parent of a child attending the school. 
  • Each eligible parent will be entitled to nominate candidates, to vote and to stand for election. Participation must not be restricted to one parent per family. .
  • Only persons who are eligible to vote may propose and second nominations. If the election is to be conducted by means of a meeting, nomination needs to be made in advance. If it is to be conducted by post, nominations should be sought at the initial stage, a nomination form should be provided an a period stipulated for it return.
  • If the number of nominees is equal to, or fewer than, the number of places to be filled, all candidates should be deemed to have been elected, without the need for a vote.

Teacher governors

  • Teacher governors must be elected by assistant teachers at the school (or schools) at the time of the election from amongst such assistant teachers. In law, the term "assistant teacher" is "a teacher, other than the principal or a temporary or part-time teacher, employed on the staff of a school." However, the Department has considered representation over the years from schools and unions to permit part-time teachers to be eligible to stand as teacher governors on the basis of equality of opportunity. 
  •  An elected teacher governor ceases to hold the office of governor when he/she ceases to be employed as a teacher at the permanent staff of the school. 
  • Arrangements for the election of teacher governors should be drawn up by school authorities after consultation, either directly with the teachers concerned or with persons appearing to the school authority to represent their interests. 
  • If two or more candidates receive an equal number of votes during an election held at a meeting, a further ballot should be held in order to split the candidates. Only the candidates with the same number of votes should be involved in this ballot. 
  • Where two or more primary schools have been grouped together under one Board of Governors, one election involving all the schools should be held. 

The information above is taken from the Department of Education circular entitled election of parent and teacher members of Boards of Governors Circular Number 2017/20.

For further information about the election of parent and teacher governors please visit:

Department of Education - school governor appointments
Education Authority - application process
Education Authority - election of parent and teacher governors