How to deal with difficult behaviour from governors or trustees

Know how to deal with problematic behaviour from governors and trustees so you can make sure your board functions effectively. See our example scenarios and find out what steps to take to resolve disputes.

Last reviewed on 4 January 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 4260
  1. What might difficult behaviour look like?
  2. Have a code of conduct and get everyone to agree to it
  3. Try to resolve any problems first – suspension or removal should be your last resort
  4. Keep a record of all evidence
  5. Example scenarios of difficulties and disputes

Note: we refer to 'governors' in this article, but this information can also apply to trustees and local governors in academies. 

What might difficult behaviour look like?

You may have to deal with a variety of situations of difficult or disruptive behaviour from governors or trustees, for example if they:

  • Consistently don't respect the views of fellow governors on the board
  • Use social media in a way that could damage the school’s/trust's reputation
  • Are newly appointed or elected (e.g. as a parent governor) and don't understand, or refuse to stick to, the remit of their role  

See our scenarios of difficult behaviour and how to address them in the last section of this article.

Have a code of conduct and get everyone to agree to it

Help you make sure everyone on the board is treated fairly and with transparency Give you something to refer to if a governor is behaving problematically – you'll be