School effectiveness

Governor qualification and disqualification criteria

A governor must be aged 18 or over at the time of their election or appointment and cannot be a registered pupil at the school.

A person cannot hold more than one governorship at the same school.

We would recommend that as part of any appointment process governors read the criteria and confirm that they are not disqualified from serving as a school governor because of these criteria.

Disqualification and qualification criteria August 2017 (word) *

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All governors are now required to apply for an enhanced DBS check (effective from 18 March 2016). The regulations specifically state:

  1. By 1 September 2016, all maintained school governing bodies to apply for an enhanced criminal records certificate for any serving governor who does not have one; and
  2. From 1 April 2016, all maintained school governing boards to apply for an enhanced criminal records certificate for any newly appointed governor within 21 days of appointment

The new School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (

It is important that all governors have completed or are in the process of being checked by 1 September 2016 as failure to do so may result in disqualification from being a governor. Equally all newly appointed/elected governors or associate members will need to be checked as part of the recruitment process.

Although the new legislation is for maintained schools, academy and free school governors also all have to be DBS checked and the chair’s check has to be done via the DfE – for more details see page three of disclosure and barring service (DBS): guide for academies (GOV.UK website)

The check that governors need to apply for is an enhanced DBS check which searches the police national computer for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands etcetera.

It would also include any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the position being applied for (of school governor in this instance).

As school governors are not engaged in what is referred to as “regulated activity”with children in their role as a governor, they do not need the enhanced DBS check to include a check of the children barred list.

If any school have a governor who they feel is engaged in regulated activity, then please make this known when the application is made.


In summary governing boards and proprietors must have an enhanced DBS check without a barred list check as part of the appointment process for governors.

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Last updated: 20 Sep 2017