Recruiting a Clerk

Who appoints the clerk to governors?

The regulations place the legal requirement on the whole governing body to appoint a clerk to governors. It is not the duty of the headteacher to lead this process.

The School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013.


Regulation 6 (3) The governing body must appoint a clerk with a view to ensuring their efficient functioning and must have regard to advice from the clerk as to the nature of the governing body’s functions.
This appointment function cannot be delegated. However the governing body may convene a committee or working group and delegate functions such as reviewing the job description, advertising, short listing and interviewing candidates for the post. The working group or committee must then bring the recommendation back to the governing body for formal appointment.


Governing bodies are highly recommended to read the new DfE Clerking competency framework 2017 before begininng the recruitment process.


Writing the job description and person specification

Please see our model role description – Model Clerk JD and Per Spec 2017.  Governing bodies should not simply copy this model.  It must be used as a starting point and tailored for each individual school’s needs.


Do’s and Dont’s

The things the governing body should do

  • Ensure that the governing body has full input into the process of the recruitment of the clerk. Any governors delegated to work on this must report back to the governing body on their actions and decisions.
  • Consider how many hours the previous clerk carried out for the role. Do the hours need increasing or reducing?
  • Take a model job description as a starting point and review it completely. Then change it so that it meets the needs of your governing body. Every governing body is different. One model does not necessarily suit all schools.
  • Remember that pay must reflect what is in the job description and the skill level required. If you leave anything out you may end up paying extra for those duties you have not included at some point in the future.
  • Ensure that an annual review of the clerking post takes place, as with any other member of school support staff. Make sure that this is clarified in writing so that applicants know from the offset.
  • Ensure that a probationary period and initial review is built into the role and followed up.
  • Ensure that professional development is a requirement of the post, provided and paid for by the school. Take up of this should be monitored.
  • Consider having the job description and person specification professionally evaluated. This process can be carried out by your school’s HR provider.
  • Consider what expenses the clerk may incur in the course of their duties and clearly detail how these will be met by the school.


The things the governing body should not do

  • Do not expect the headteacher to write the job description and person specification. The headteacher is not the clerk’s line manager.
  • Write the job description and person specification with a particular an applicant in mind.
  • Expect that a member of school staff will take on the post.
  • Write the clerking post into part of any other staffing post within the school. It should be kept as a separate role to avoid complicated HR issues.
  • Do not underestimate the amount of hours the clerk will need to work in order to meet the rising demands of the role. Factor this into budgets and pay.


For a copy of our Clerking Recruitment Pack, or to ask for help with any part of the clerking recruitment process, please email us at [email protected] or call 01895 717321. 


Quotes from good and outstanding schools’ Ofsted reports 2014

Although the role of clerk is not specifically named in these quotes, these quotes show that an organised and effective governing body can achieve these judgements largely with professional and effective clerking. All of the quotes below are from schools deemed good or outstanding.

The governing body is well organised and highly effective in carrying out its role.

Governors have a detailed understanding of their role in supporting and challenging the school. They use their expertise to ensure that all their responsibilities are carried out effectively in a way that fully supports school improvement.

Governors carry out their statutory duties very diligently as a result of the training they have undertaken.

Governance is highly effective and all legal responsibilities are fully carried out.