Governing board's role in appointing staff

Understand the part your board plays in appointing headteachers, deputy headteachers and other members of staff in maintained schools and academies. Learn more about your safer recruitment responsibilities and how to remain strategic.

Last reviewed on 20 September 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 40370
  1. Appointing headteachers and deputy headteachers
  2. Appointing other members of staff
  3. Safer recruitment 

Thanks to our governance experts Fiona Stagg and Jill Wakefield for their advice on this article. 

Appointing headteachers and deputy headteachers

The governing board has legal responsibility for selecting a headteacher, according to section 2.2.1 of the headteacher recruitment guidance from the Department for Education (DfE). 

Your board can't delegate responsibility for the establishment of a headteacher or deputy headteacher selection panel, or the approval or appointment of the panel’s recommendation. See paragraph 96 of the Governance Handbook.

During the headteacher/deputy headteacher recruitment process, your board will:

  • Appoint a selection panel of at least 3 governors (see regulation 15 of The School Staffing (England) Regulations)
  • Tell the local authority (and diocese, if you're in a church school)  
  • Advertise the vacancy and shortlist candidates
  • Request references 
  • Hold interviews
  • Appoint the successful candidate

For more detailed information about what you'll do in each stage of the process, see our articles on:

Appointing other members of