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Pheobe – Becoming a school governor with a criminal record

Pheobe contacted our helpline as she wanted clarification that her conviction was spent and did not need to be disclosed when applying to become a member of the Board of Governors at her child’s school.

We explained to Pheobe that generally school governor roles were exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders 1974 and would usually require an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check. Therefore, although her conviction was spent, it would still be disclosed on an enhanced certificate until it became eligible for filtering (11 years from the date of conviction).

Pheobe told us that she was now reconsidering her decision to apply for the role as she didn’t feel that the school would consider taking her on once they knew about her conviction.

We explained that we didn’t think her offence was relevant to the work that she would be doing as a school governor and although she needed to disclose it, it didn’t mean that she would automatically be turned down. To reflect the diverse background of its children, schools often looked to recruit governors with a wide range of backgrounds, skills and experiences. We gave her some further information on what points she should try to address when disclosing to the school to allay any fears they may have.

Phoebe contacted us a couple of months later to let us know that after disclosing her conviction to the school, they had carried out an in-depth risk assessment before offering her the role of a school governor.

Phoebe said:

I was really disappointed to hear that I needed to disclose my conviction and I seriously considered withdrawing my application. I’m so pleased that the Unlock advisor encouraged me to go ahead as I absolutely love the job at the school and I’m starting to feel as though I’m making a real difference to the children.



Just because a role requires you to disclose your spent conviction, don’t be put off from applying. Unless you are barred from working with children, a criminal record shouldn’t stop you being a school governor. Each case should be judged on its own merits.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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