Called to Serve – Being a Foundation Governor

Called to Serve – Being a Foundation Governor or Foundation Director in the Diocese of Portsmouth

On this page you will find key information about the role of foundation governors and foundation directors in our Catholic schools.  If you are interested in applying to be a foundation governor or director then you will find all you need to apply towards the bottom of this page.

(Please note when we talk about foundation governors, this can in the majority of instances also be applied to foundation directors.  A foundation governor is normally linked to one school and its governing body.  A foundation director is part of the board of directors for an an academy trust and as such will have responsibilities towards all schools in the trust.)

Please don’t hesitate to contact CASO for any further help you require.  (

What does it mean to be a governor in a Catholic school?

All schools have governing bodies made up of different categories of governors. All Catholic school governing bodies include foundation governors but may also include parent governors, staff governors, the head teacher (or equivalent), local authority governors and co-opted governors.

The main role of the governing body is to operate at a strategic level, leaving the head teacher and senior school leaders responsible and accountable to the governing body for the operational day-to-day running of the school. As such, the three core functions of the governing body are:

i. Ensuring clarity of the Catholic vision, ethos and strategic direction;

ii. Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance and Catholic character of the school and its pupils; and

iii. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

Foundation governors are specifically appointed by the Bishop to ensure the preservation and development of the school’s Catholic character, to ensure that the school is being conducted as a Catholic school, and to represent the Bishop’s education policy to the governing body. Foundation Governors have a particular role to play, as representatives of the Bishop/Religious Order. The Diocese describes their work as a ministry in the Church. In his appointment letter to Foundation Governors Bishop Philip describes their role as follows: “Foundation Governors form the majority on the Governing Body in a voluntary aided school and have a particular role to play as my representatives. In this respect they have a responsibility to ensure that:

  • they give clear witness, as individuals and as a team, to the Gospel message and that at all times the school serves as a witness to the Catholic faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ;
  • religious education is in accordance with the teachings, doctrines, discipline and general and particular norms of the Catholic Church (the policy for this Diocese is based on the Curriculum Directory of the Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales);
  • religious worship is in accordance with the rites, practices, discipline and liturgical norms of the Catholic Church;
  • the admission of pupils, employment of staff and the secular and religious education curriculum are in accordance with the Trust Deed;
  • they consider not only the interests of the school where they are a Foundation Governor, but have regard for the interests of other Catholic schools and the Catholic community as a whole throughout the Diocese.”


Foundation Governors have, therefore, an important part to play in ensuring the Catholic character of our schools and in building the community of Catholic schools throughout the Diocese.  Foundation governors always outnumber all other governors by at least two so as to ensure a majority vote where matters of particular Catholic importance arise.


Below you will find further information on being a foundation governor or foundation director in our diocese.  If you would like to take the next step and apply then please complete and return the nomination form below.  You will also find a list of schools with current foundation governor vacancies.