Board of Education
I came to give life - life in all its fullness (John 10:10)

Diocesan Advice on Leadership appointments

Please read these notes together with the Local Authority Guidance for your school, which will guide you through the procedure.

These notes are not exhaustive, and relate especially to your school’s religious character.

First steps

  • As soon as the governing body knows that the Headteacher is leaving, they should inform the Diocesan Director of Education and the Local Authority, for their support and advice.
  • At a specially convened meeting, the governors discuss the school’s requirements and by a resolution appoint a panel to manage the process of recruiting a new Headteacher
  • In a Voluntary Aided school, the governing body should decide whether it should be a requirement of the job that the Head Teacher must be a communicant member of the Church of England, or whether they wish a more general requirement for Christian commitment. The reasons for the decision should be minuted in case there is any future challenge.
  • The Job Description and Person Specification should include the Head Teacher’s strategic responsibility to preserve and develop the school’s religious character

Composition of the panel

  • The membership of the panel should include at least one foundation governor: typically, but not necessarily, the Vicar or equivalent.
  • All main categories of governor should be represented appropriately; but the panel should not be too large: 3 or 5 members normally (must be at least 3)
  • The panel should request that a Local Authority Officer and a representative of the Diocesan Board of Education (normally the Director of Education) be part of the interview panel and shortlisting meetings to ensure that the views of the Local Authority and the Diocese are represented

Function of the panel

  • Very briefly, the panel is to shortlist, interview and if appropriate recommend an interviewee to the governing body for appointment.

Denominational character of the school

  • The panel should discover which candidates both understand the religious character of the school, and also are personally equipped and committed to promote and support it.
  • Legally, that character is Church of England, as is stated in the Instrument of Government.
  • In a Voluntary Aided School, the governing body may require that the head teacher is an active member of the Church of England.
  • In a Voluntary Controlled or Foundation School, the governing body cannot require Church of England membership for the Head Teacher; but “regard may be had to [the candidate’s] ability and fitness to preserve and develop the religious character of the school”.


  • The panel recommends a candidate for appointment and the governing body, at a quorate meeting after the normal notice, makes the final decision. In a Voluntary Controlled school the Local Authority makes the actual appointment, and in a Voluntary Aided or Foundation school the governing body makes the appointment.
  • The governors’ meeting is usually on the same date as the appointment process, to enable a timely job offer.

Integrity of the process

  • It is especially important that the panel reaches its decision autonomously, with expert advice, and only considers information which comes through the appointment process.

Alex Tear, Diocesan Director of Education - April 2014