Advice for Governors and Directors


The Bishops Memorandum on the Appointment of Staff in Catholic Schools’ sets out the Bishops’ collective requirement on all Catholic schools and colleges in relation to staffing, the use of Catholic Education Service (CES) contracts of employment, workplace policies and associated model employment documents for Catholic schools.  All Catholic schools governing bodies, local academy committee’s and Boards of Directors  must ensure that they have a copy of the Memorandum and that they comply with it.

Every Catholic school, academy and college in England and Wales is required to comply with the Bishops’ Memorandum, that’s why it is included in every Foundation Governor and Directors Induction Pack – a copy is also available to download below.  It is important that, as employers, maintained school governing bodies and academy Directors ensure that CES contracts and associated workplace policies and documentation are used.  This is because the contracts reflect the Bishops’ requirements that the Catholic character of schools is preserved and developed.

Certain posts in school are called Reserved Posts and as a minimum the Bishops’ expect the following roles to be filled by practicing Catholics:

  • Head Teacher ( including Executive Headteacher, Head of School, Principal or equivalent senior leader)
  • Deputy Head Teacher (or equivalent)
  • Head or Co-Ordinator of RE ( including Head of RE Department, RE Subject Leader or equivalent)
  • Lay Chaplain
  • Chief Executive of a Diocesan Multi Academy Trust (including Senior Executive Leader or equivalent post)

Other leadership posts that directly affect the Catholic Mission of the school should wherever possible be staffed by skilled staff who are practicing Catholics.

All staff must respect and support the aims and objectives of a Catholic school and this must be explicit in the recruitment and induction process for all new staff.


The Education Service has written recruitment guidance for school leaders, governors and Directors to follow – it is available to download below.  Important points for employers to note are:

  • The Director of Schools must be informed as soon as a vacancy in a reserved post arises.
  • The Diocesan Bishop is entitled to be represented at all proceedings relating to the appointment of candidates to reserved posts.  In practice this means that a member of the Diocesan Education Service must be invited to be part of the recruitment process.
  • Recruitment packs, including advert wording, Job Descriptions and Person Specifications should be sent to the Director of Schools for input before advertising.
  • Senior vacancies should be advertised widely.
  • References must be sought and received PRIOR to interview, including a satisfactory priests reference for reserved posts.  This includes temporary, interim or ‘acting’ roles, secondments or fixed term positions.
  • All staff should receive a robust induction, including participation in diocesan training and networking events which are advertised in school and on this website.

Sample interview questions and template interview timetables are included in our recruitment advice.  Please contact us if you have any questions regarding the recruitment process using the details at the top of the page.


    “Governance is an important ministry in the Church, we welcome people from all walks of life to apply”

    NORTHAMPTON DIOCESE, director for schoolS

    Governor Bitesize: