What roles must a school 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 29 June 2022
School types: Maintained, Academy · School phases: Primary, Secondary
Ref: 3349
  1. Governing board and governance
  2. Headteacher
  3. Chief finance officer (CFO) (academies only)
  4. Accounting officer (academies only)
  5. Special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
  6. Designated safeguarding lead (DSL)
  7. Designated teacher for looked after and previously looked after children (LAC)
  8. Data protection officer (DPO)
  9. Careers leader (secondary schools only)
  10. First aiders
  11. 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

Maintained schools

All maintained schools must have a governing board, elect a chair and vice-chair from among its members, and appoint a clerk.

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


Academy trusts must have at least 3 Members, but it's the Department for Education's (DfE's) strong preference that trusts have at least 5 Members wherever possible. The Members:

Academy trusts must also have at least 3 trustees. Of these trustees, there must be a minimum of 2 parent trustees unless the trust has established