Election of Parent Governors

Appoint a parent governor

Community, community special and voluntary controlled schools

Hampshire County Council is the appropriate authority for arranging and appointing parent governors.  The County Council has delegated the responsibility of ensuring an election takes place to fill a parent governor vacancy to the headteacher.

When electing parent governors, headteachers must follow

Who can stand and vote for parent governor

The definition of 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.

Disqualification Criteria

A summary of the disqualification criteria that apply to school governors are listed in Annex A, section C of The constitution of governing bodies of maintained schools statutory guidance.

Seeking nominations

The headteacher should send a letter to parents inviting applications for the role of parent governor:

  • as soon as a parent governor resigns, or
  • at the beginning of the term in which a parent governor’s term of office expires

Send a letter to each address where a pupil has have more than one person with parental responsibility living at different addresses.

Where a vacancy arises at short notice, send out the letter as soon as possible. You can delay this process until the beginning of the next term if this situation arises near the end of summer.

Parents interested in standing as a governor must complete a school governor application form.

This will ensure that all potential candidates are aware of the current disqualification criteria and it gives them the opportunity to state:

  • their reasons for applying, and
  • the experience and personal skills they can bring to the role.

This information forms their election statement to go out with the ballot paper, if this part of the process is required.

The closing date for applications should be ten school working days from the date letters are distributed. The actual closing date and time should be clearly stated in the letter so that parents are aware of the timescale to submit their application form.

Processing applications

If the number of applications is equal to, or less than the number of vacancies to be filled, a ballot need not be held. The applicant(s) is automatically elected. The headteacher should notify the successful candidate(s), as soon as possible after the closing date. They should then complete the relevant section on the School Governor application form(s) to confirm they have elected the candidate(s) and checked their identity.  The headteacher should then pass it to the clerk to update their records and the Governor Services’ membership database.

If there are more applications than there are vacancies, the headteacher will have to arrange for a secret ballot to be held.

The ballot

Voting is carried out electronically.  We ensure there is means for those who cannot participate in this process electronically, or would prefer not to use electronic communication, to take part by post.


Each parent can vote once per vacancy. Some parents may have more than one child in a school. Therefore, the school will need to create a system to make sure no parent receives more than one ballot paper.

Candidates have the right to attend the count. They must be advised of the venue, date and time of the count at the same time as the ballot papers are sent out.

Counting the ballot papers

The ballot box should be opened on the next school working day after the closing date for the return of ballot papers, as notified to the candidates.

The count will be conducted by the headteacher, or his/her nominee. If there is a tie in the numbers of votes cast, the first step should be to recount the votes. If the votes are still equal for two or more candidates then the headteacher, or their nominee, should arrange for them to draw lots.

After the election

The headteacher should inform any candidates who were not at the count as soon as possible after it has taken place, thanking unsuccessful candidates for their interest and encouraging them to become a governor at another school.

The Headteacher should then complete the relevant section on the School Governor application form to confirm they have elected the candidate and checked their identity.  They should then pass it to the clerk to update their records and the Governor Services’ membership database.

Parents and governors should be notified of the result within ten school working days.

The start date

The successful candidate(s) will start the day after the present parent governor finishes.

Where the post is already vacant the start date is the date of the count.  If an election did not take place the start date is the day after the closing date for applications.

Remaining parent governor vacancies

There may still be vacancies after seeking applications from parents of current pupils at the school.  The governance board can appoint people to the posts in line with paragraphs 10 and 11 of Schedule 1 of The School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012/1034.  Governance board should only appoint parent governors who have the skills to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school.

All candidates must complete an application form, so they are aware of the current disqualification criteria.

At a full governance board meeting consider applications as a separate agenda item. The clerk should then complete the relevant section on the School Governor application form to confirm they have:

  • appointed the candidate
  • checked the candidate’s identity

The clerk should then update their records and the Governor Services’ membership database. The candidate’s start date will be the date of the meeting at which the appointment was made.

There may still be vacancies after the governance board has considered all candidates. In this case the governance board will need to make another approach to parents. For example a personal letter from the chair with positive comments from current parent governors can be successful. Governors should also use opportunities where parents will be in the school to encourage them to join the governance board. For example at parents’ evenings or new intake events.