Last reviewed on 7 September 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 5087

You can ask new governors for references so you’re confident they’re suitable for the role. Use our model letter and reference form to contact referees and save you time.

Use references to help you feel confident that your new governor has the skills, willingness and ability to learn and develop (this is covered on page 41 of the Governance Handbook).

Ask your new governor for referee contact details

Send them this application form where they can include details for their references. 

Who can be a referee?

Anyone who isn’t a family member or friend of the applicant.

For example, they could be an applicant's line manager or a more senior colleague at work. If appropriate, their child’s headteacher could be a suitable referee. 

If an applicant is being appointed based on specific skills, the referee should be someone who has knowledge of their capabilities in these areas.

This was explained to us by representatives of Governors for Schools and One Education.

Don’t request references for existing governors

It’s not common practice, and you’d need a clear rationale for doing this.

Plus, you’d need to have a plan for how you’d deal with a poor reference. This was explained to us by our associate education expert, Vicky Redding.

Download our referee letter and reference form

Send this letter and reference form to contact a referee for your new governor candidate.

You should have received the contact details for the referee as part of your new governor's application form.



Vicky Redding is a governance trainer and consultant. She provides training, advice and support on effective school governance.