The electorate included all ratepayers, including women, who were entitled to vote in vestry elections, and women could also be members.
The County of London was divided into eleven divisions for the election of school board members: each division returned between four and seven members depending on population. The total size of the board was 55 members.
Each voter had a number of votes equal to the number of seats in the division. The voter was free to allocate the votes between the candidates in any way they wished. Where an elector gave all of his votes to a single candidate this was known as "plumping", and was seen as a way of ensuring representation of minority religious denominations. Voting was by secret ballot, with the exception of the City of London, where open voting was used.
By the time of the eighth election, the majority party were the Moderate Party, also known as the Church Party: in favour of providing elementary education, "economy" or low rates, bible teaching in schools and the toleration of voluntary schools provided by various Christian denominations.
In opposition to them were the Progressive Party, also known as the "Advanced" Party, who had held control of the board from 1870-1885. The party's candidates were supporters of free, compulsory and non-sectarian education, manual and physical training, the provision of secondary schools, swimming pools and gynasiums, free school meals and the direct employment oof labour.
In general the candidates supporting the board's policy received the support of the Conservative Party organisation, while the Progressives were aligned with the Liberal Party and Labour organisations.
The "Moderate" and "Progressive" party labels were also adopted by the two parties on the London County Council, following the first election to the body in January 1889.
The school board elected in 1891 had a three-year term of office. Under the terms of Section 44 of the Elementary Education Act 1876 casual vacancies occurring in the membership of school boards due to death or resignation were filled by co-option. Where a vacancy occurred the sitting members nominated a candidate or candidates. Where there was only one nomination, they were automatically co-opted. Where there was more than one candidate, the vacancy was filled by a vote of the entire board.
There were three co-options during the term of the eighth school board.