Roles your school or trust must have in place

Use our list of positions and responsibilities that maintained schools and academies are legally obliged to fill, to check you're compliant.

Last reviewed on 30 June 2023
Ref: 42703
  1. Governing board and governance
  2. Headteacher
  3. Special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
  4. Designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
  5. Designated teacher for looked-after and previously looked-after children (LAC and previously LAC)
  6. Data protection officer (DPO) 
  7. Careers leader (secondary schools only)
  8. First aiders
  9. Fire safety 

Not sure about what everyone does in your school? Use our handy cheat sheet to get you up to speed on what all the different roles and their responsibilities are.

Governing board and governance

Your school must have a governing board, elect a chair and vice-chair from among its members, and appoint a clerk.

This is set out in section 19 of the Education Act 2002, and regulations 6(3) and 7(1) of the School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) Regulations 2013.

All the requirements, including for federations and voluntary and foundation schools, are explained in our article on who should be on your governing board


Your school must have a headteacher, or someone carrying out the role of headteacher in their absence or until a headteacher is appointed.

You can find this in sections 35 and 36 of the Education Act 2002.

If you're a mainstream school, your school leaders must designate a qualified teacher to the role

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