Terms of reference: template and guidance

Find out what you should include in your terms of reference, what they can be used for and who can create them. Download our template so you can develop your own.

Last reviewed on 10 May 2024See updates
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  1. The full board should approve them
  2. Use our template terms of reference
  3. What to put in them
  4. Terms of reference for full boards
  5. Review your terms of reference annually
  6. Specific terms of reference

The full board should approve them

But there's no rule on who has to write them. Typically, either:

  • The board writes and approves terms of reference. The relevant committee formally adopts them and creates a related work plan, or 
  • The committee puts together terms of reference and the board approves them 

In practice, the chair of the board or committee will probably write the terms of reference. 

Don't consider terms of reference in isolation. Include the full board, because it's important that responsibilities are delegated clearly and don't overlap.

Find out about terms of reference for trustees and local governing bodies to understand when they are and aren't needed in academy trusts. 

You can use terms of reference for panels and link governors, as well as committees

Link governors might benefit from having their delegated responsibilities set out in a short formal document.

Use our role descriptions to help you.


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