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Frequently asked questions

This section provides answers to FAQs about the role of controlled school governors.

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What is a controlled school?

Controlled Schools are under the management of the Education Authority and include nursery, primary, secondary, special and grammar schools, including a small number of Irish medium and integrated schools.  Most controlled primary schools were originally set up by the Church of Ireland, the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Who can be a controlled school governor?

A school’s Board of Governors is made up of parent and teacher members, members representing the owners or former owners of the school and members of the general public with an interest in education, who are appointed by the Department of Education or the Education Authority. You must be 18 to be a school governor – you don’t have to be a parent at the school.

Do I need to have a particular skill set or experience to apply?

You don’t need to have a particular skill set or experience. School governors bring a range of skills and competencies from their own working and personal lives to the role.

Along with these you should have an interest in education and free time that you can dedicate to the role.

A commitment to improving educational outcomes for all pupils, along with support for the ethos of the school is essential.

The Nolan Principles of Conduct Underpinning Public Life apply to service as a school governor. These include selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

What is the role of a controlled school board of governors?

The role of the Board of Governors in a controlled school is to make sure that the school provides ‘the best possible education and educational opportunities for all of the pupils.’ (Every School a Good School – The Governors’ Role).

What are the responsibilities of Boards of Governors?

Governors have a range of responsibilities. As well as ensuring the school provides a good education for its pupils Governors play a central role in the planning, development, monitoring and evaluation of all aspects of school life, including establishing and maintaining the school’s ethos, setting the strategic direction for the school and appointing staff.

What types of controlled schools need governors?

All phases of controlled schools need governors. Nursery, primary, special and post primary. 

How long is the term of office for a governor?

Governors are volunteers who are appointed in an unpaid capacity. A term of office normally lasts 4 years but they can resign at any time.

What is the make-up of a controlled school Board of Governors?

A controlled school’s Board of Governors is made up of parent and teacher representatives, TRC (Transferors Representative Council) representatives and members of the general public appointed by the Education Authority (EA) or Department of Education (DE).

Do all of these representatives have the same responsibilities and voting rights?

Although nominated by different groups, all governors have the same role and voting rights.

Can I specify the school I wish to apply to?

Yes, on the application form you can apply to a specific school if you wish or you can indicate a school phase or geographical area you are interested in. If the schools you apply for have no governor vacancies then you will be offered an alternative school that could benefit from your skills. 

Who cannot be a school governor?

You will not be eligible to be a school governor if

  • You already hold 3 school governor posts
  • You are adjudged bankrupt
  • You are applying for a post in a school where you are employed
  • You are applying for a post in a school and you have a financial interest in the supply of goods or services to that school
  • You have been convicted within the previous 5 years of any offence with a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than 3 months without the option of a fine.

How can I apply?

You can find information about the application process and download an application form https://www.eani.org.uk/school-management/school-governors/application-process