It is the specific responsibility of the foundation governors to ensure that the foundation of the school/academy is sustained and developed. It is the role of the foundation governor to put all decisions and discussions within the context of the Christian foundation of the school. The foundation governor will also be able to bring to the school/academy its strategic relationship to both the local and diocesan church community and through this to the local community in a wider sense, and vice-versa.

The Governing Body is a corporate body that has responsibility for the governance of the school/ academy and have a duty to undertake the core elements of governance. The role of the Foundation Governor has the remit of being a representative of the founding church and of the Trustees. All governors must also bear in mind the principles of the Church of England, of the Trust Deed and of the Ethos Statement of the school/academy in relation to the core elements of governance.

it should be noted that it is the legal responsibility of the whole Governing Body or Board of Directors (not just the Church-appointed governors/directors) to ensure that a Church of England school/academy is conducted according to it’s trust deed and constitutional documents.

What accountability do governors have?

Governors can add the extra dimension of accountability in relation to the foundation of the school, the Trust Deed and the ethos statement. In practical terms this can have a wide range of applications, perhaps the most obvious of which is in relation to the premises of the school/academy, of which the the governing body are effectively stewards for future generations

Are governors critical friends?

The governor has a specific additional role and an added perception to bring to this aspect of school governance. The spiritual care of the school/academy community is very important.

Why do we have Foundation Governors?

In short, it is a requirement of the Trust under which Church of England schools were established. Local churches or patrons undertook to build schools for the education of the children of their local communities, and endowed them with a Church of England foundation. They have special responsibility to ensure that the guiding principles of the founding church are incorporated into all aspects of the governance of the school, the terms of the Trust Deed governing the school are adhered to Every Church of England school/academy has a Trust Deed which stipulates the principles and legal conditions under which the institution was established and should be run. At the majority of Church of England schools/academy the Trust Deed will dictate that the buildings are used for educational purposes only (there are exceptions and anomalies) with a clause specifying use by the local church on particular days or occasions.

Who can be a Foundation Governor?

Foundation Governors are normally appointed by the Diocesan Board of Education and/or the Parochial Church Council (PCC) and sometimes by a separate trust or person. A Foundation Governor does not need to be a member of the PCC or on the church electoral role. However they do need to be:

  • An active member of a Christian worshipping community;
  • Willing to uphold the faith and beliefs of the Church of England within the academy;
  • Committed to education in a Christian context;
  • Enthusiastic and active in promoting the academy’s distinctive Christian foundation.

Why Foundation Governors are key?

As a Foundation Governor, you will play an essential role in ensuring your school’s/academy’s Church of England foundation is preserved and developed. Foundation Governors are the guardians of the Church of England foundation and distinctive Christian character of a Church school/academy It is recommended that the foundation governors

  • Ensures the school/academy is conducted in accordance with it’s Trust Deed and Ethos Statement, set out in the Instrument of Government;
  • Plays an active part in supporting the process of the Section 48 Denominational Inspection (SIAMS) and its related documentation;
  • Has particular concern for the spiritual care of the school/academy and its community;
  • Has particular concern for collective worship (CW), religious education (RE) and spirituality within the school/academy. This may be helped by a foundation governor becoming a link-governor for one or more of these areas;
  • Helps to ensure that school/academy policies, procedures, custom and practice are founded in Christian values so that all members of the school/academy are valued and the daily running of the academy is distinctively Christian;
  • Maintains and develops the partnership between the school/academy, the parish church (churches) and the Lichfield Diocese;


  • Ensures collective worship takes place according to what is set down in the Funding Agreement, so that collective worship in the academy is of a Christian nature with a focus on the Anglican tradition and practices;
  • Ensures RE meets the requirements set out in the Funding Agreement so that Christianity predominates;

If you are interested in receiving further information please contact Paula Lloyd on 01543 306040 or email [email protected] or download the following information:

Being a Foundation Governor in the Diocese of Lichfield

Nominations for foundation governors are usually completed by the local incumbent, to download a nomination form please use the link below:

Nomination Form for Foundation Governors

For other useful guidance on governors please click on the links below:

Clergy as Governors

Academy Local Governing Body Undertaking

Guidance for Governors on the appointment of Headteachers/Principals in Church of England Schools and academies

NGA (National Governors Association

The NGA assists governors and trustees in their strategic role. Please click here to be taken to the NGA website.

Amanda Spielman’s address to the NGA 2019

Ofsted (EIF)

Click here for the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework that would be useful for governors.