Lunn reveals staggering backlog of School Governor applications

Alliance Education Spokesperson Trevor Lunn MLA has revealed in an answer he received to a written question to Minister Caitríona Ruane that almost 500 people are still on the waiting list to become School Governors. The Minister’s Department released a statement on 23 February calling for new school governors to step forward as there are currently 200 vacancies and Trevor Lunn said the Department should be focusing on finding places for those on the waiting list already as opposed to calling for new applicants.

Trevor Lunn MLA said: “The number of people still on the waiting list for appointment as a School Governor is staggering. The Minister should be looking to appoint people from this massive backlog of approved applicants instead of her department publicly calling for more new applicants.

“Where is the logic in asking for new candidates when currently approved ones have not been allocated places?

“This is a very frustrating process for applicants and I would like to see progress on quicker appointments and more thought given to the whole process in general.

“We acknowledge that it takes time to complete vitally important Access checks so there is always going to be a certain waiting time, however the fact that 140 people have been waiting for 22 months or more is perplexing.

“Hundreds of suitable people have applied already and are waiting for allocation of a place, so why isn’t the Minister allocating from this backlog instead of asking for new applicants?”


To ask the Minister of Education to detail (i) how many applications for appointment to a Board of Governors her Department has received in the last five years, broken down by secondary school and sector; and (ii) of these applications how many have been waiting (a) 3 months; (b) 6 months; (c) 9 months; (d) 12 months; (e) 15 months; (f) 18 months; (g) 21 months; (h) 24 months; (i) 27 months; (j) 30 months; (k) 33 months; and (l) more than 36 months for approval.

School Boards of Governors are reconstituted every 4 years.

The Department holds a list of 1,258 applicants who put themselves forward to be a governor during the reconstitution exercise undertaken in 2009/10. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of those applications by school or sector. Applicants are permitted to express more than one preference for the types and sectors of the schools that they wish to serve in. There is no guarantee in applying for a governor position that an applicant’s particular preferences can be accommodated.

Applicants’ preferences may range from an interest in a specific school to an interest in serving on any school in the local area.

Following the previous reconstitution exercise undertaken in the 2005/06 school year any unplaced applicants were given the option of having their names removed from the list of applicants, or of re-applying to be considered for a post in the next reconstitution and any vacant posts that might arise in the interim period.

(ii) There are currently 457 applicants who have not been placed with a school. A number of these applicants have expressed preferences for particular schools which currently have no vacant DE governor posts. Of the 457 applicants:

(a) 13 applied within the past 3 months;

(b) 8 applied within the past 4-6 months;

(c) 5 applied within the past 7-9 months;

(d) 12 applied within the past 10-12 months;

(e) 108 applied within the past 13-15 months;

(f) 61 applied within the past 16-18 months;

(g) 110 applied within the past 19-21 months;

(h) 140 applied within the past 22-24 months; and

(i)-(l) none applied over 24 months ago.

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