Governors' and trustees' codes of conduct: models and examples
Cover all your bases with our model code of conduct. It sets out what you can expect from governors and trustees, from core responsibilities to expected behaviours.
Download our model code of conduct
Our model code of conduct:
- Is approved by Forbes Solicitors
- Is designed so you can adapt it to your trust's context and set it across your trust, so local governors can sign up to it too
- Takes account of relevant requirements and good practice
Tailor the document to reflect:
- Your scheme of delegation
- Any other relevant policies that your trustees/local governors must follow, e.g. social media and IT policies
- Whether your constitutional documents (i.e. articles of association, funding agreement) set out specific requirements for governance procedures and conduct
Make sure all trustees and local governors read and agree to the code of conduct, alongside any other relevant documents or requirements.
It's not a statutory requirement for you to have a code of conduct, but it is something that the Governance Handbook says you "should" have (see page 38).
Updates to our model policy
Important correction to make to your policy if you downloaded it before 28 April 2022
- We recommend you replace your existing appendix 1 with appendix 1 of our updated model code of conduct for trusts. This is likely to be the simplest approach and will make sure you cover everything you need to
- Or, if you don’t wish to replace the whole appendix, remove references to suspending trustees, so it’s clear your trust only has the power to remove them. You can keep references to suspension of local governors, who can be suspended or removed (subject to your constitutional documents)
- We also recommend that you check your articles of association and update them if they include provisions for trustee suspensions
Other changes to our model policy
- Section 3: added a new reference to promoting equity and diversity
- Section 6: clarified that relevant interests includes governance roles at other educational institutions
- Section 6: added a sentence about collecting diversity data and clarified that, if governors have already provided this information, they are able to request it be removed from any reporting
- Appendix 1: clarified that a failure to undertake training appropriate to the role is also grounds for the removal of a trustee
Although there's no required review frequency, Forbes Solicitors recommends you review and agree the code of conduct annually, upon significant changes to the law, or as needed. Your full board should ratify it.
Check that your chosen review frequency doesn't contradict anything in your constitutional documents.
University of Brighton Academies Trust, a 14-school trust, has a code of conduct for its trustees and committee members.
Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust, an 18-school trust, has a code of conduct for its trustees and governors.
We updated the 'social media' section of our model codes of conduct to reflect the need to be more flexible around accepting friend requests from parents, as there may be times where this is appropriate. The line we have included states that governors/trustees will:
- Carefully consider how appropriate it would be to accept any friend requests from parents or to join any parent/carer groups associated with the trust or any of our schools