School Governing Bodies: Play Your Part

Parents play your part in support of your children’s education and make your School Governing Body (SGB) your voice at school.

There are over 25 000 public schools in South Africa and every school has a School Governing Body (SGB) that is democratically elected. By participating in the SGB elections, every parent has the chance to be part of Government’s drive to improve learning outcomes and reach the goal of quality education in all our schools. This is your chance as a parent or member of the community to make a difference to our schools.

Composition of an SGB

An SGB is made up of:

  • Elected members;
  • The Principal by virtue of his or her official capacity; and
  • Co-opted members.

Elected members of the SGB comprise the following members:

  • Parents or guardians of learners at the school
    A parent means the biological parent or guardian of a learner or the person legally entitled to custody of a learner. A parent also means the person who undertakes to fulfill the obligations of a parent or guardian, or the person legally entitled to custody of a learner.

    A parent who is employed at the school may not represent parents on the governing body.
  • Educators at the school
    An educator is a person who teaches, educates or trains other people, or who provides professional educational services, including professional therapy and educational psychological services at an institution. This includes educators employed by the school.
  • Learners in Grade 8 or higher
    Only learners in Grade 8 or higher who are elected members of the Representative Council of Learners (RCL) can serve on the SGB. Learners with special educational needs Grade 8 or higher can also be elected if this is reasonably practicable.
  • Members of staff who are not educators
    These members are all institutional staff members appointed according to the Public Service Act, 1994 (Act103 of 1994), who are not educators at the institution, including those employed by the school.

The SGB of a special school should be composed as follows:

  • Parents of learners enrolled at the school, if reasonably practicable;
  • Educators at the school;
  • Members of staff at the school who are not educators;
  • Learners in Grade 8 or higher, if reasonably practicable;
  • Representatives of:
    • Organisations of parents of learners with special education needs, if applicable;
    • Sponsoring bodies, if applicable; and
    • Organisations of disabled persons, if applicable;
  • Disabled persons, if applicable;
  • Experts in relevant fields of special needs education; and
  • The Principal by virtue of his or her official capacity.

Duties of an SGB

A SGB must ensure that the school is governed in the best interest of all the stakeholders. All SGB members must always put the best interest of the school before any personal interests. The South African Schools Act stipulates that a SGB must:
  • Promote the best interest of the school and ensure its development
  • Adopt a constitution setting out how the SGB will operate
  • Adopt a mission statement for the school
  • Adopt a code of conduct for learners at the school which sets out disciplinary procedures
  • Help the principal, educators and other staff members to perform their professional functions
  • Decide on school policy which should include amongst others admissions, language and finance
  • Administer and control the property of the school, buildings and grounds
  • Encourage parents, learners, educators and other staff members at the school, to offer voluntary services to the school

The SGB may apply to the Head of Department, in writing requesting to be allocated any of the following functions

  • To maintain and improve the schools property, buildings and grounds
  • To buy textbooks, educational materials and equipment for the school
  • To pay for services rendered to the school.
Some key responsibilities of the SGB are:
  • Decision Making
  • Planning
  • Conflict Management
  • Team Building
  • Negotiation
  • School Finances

SGB Federations

Federation of Association of Governing Bodies (FEDSAS)
Tel.: (051) 522 6903 Fax: 086 512 9603

Governance Alliance (GA)
Tel.: (011) 453 3784 Fax: (011) 454 0545


South African National Association for Special Education(SANASE)
Tel.: (014) 594 2391 Fax: (014) 594 2391 


National Association of School Governing Bodies(NASGB)
Tel.: 072 283 4653 Fax: 086 520 6451


Governing Body Foundation (GBF)
Tel.: (031) 564 7048 Fax: (031) 563 0418
Tel.: (011) 678 0035 Fax: (011) 678 0035 


United front for School Governing Bodies (UF4SGBs)
Tel.: (011) 929 1230/1310 Fax: 086 568 9327


National Congress of School Governing Body
Tel.: 074 666 2700 Fax: 018 596 2741

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