Here we report a stop-mutation in the BOD1 (Biorientation Defective 1) gene, which co-segregates with intellectual disability in a large consanguineous family, where individuals that are homozygous for the mutation have no detectable BOD1 mRNA or protein. The BOD1 protein is required for proper chromosome segregation, regulating phosphorylation of PLK1 substrates by modulating Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activity during mitosis. We report that fibroblast cell lines derived from homozygous BOD1 mutation carriers show aberrant localisation of the cell cycle kinase PLK1 and its phosphatase PP2A at mitotic kinetochores. However, in contrast to the mitotic arrest observed in BOD1-siRNA treated HeLa cells, patient-derived cells progressed through mitosis with no apparent segregation defects but at an accelerated rate compared to controls. The relatively normal cell cycle progression observed in cultured cells is in line with the absence of gross structural brain abnormalities in the affected individuals. Moreover, we found that in normal adult brain tissues BOD1 expression is maintained at considerable levels, in contrast to PLK1 expression, and provide evidence for synaptic localization of Bod1 in murine neurons. These observations suggest that BOD1 plays a cell cycle-independent role in the nervous system. To address this possibility, we established two Drosophila models, where neuron-specific knockdown of BOD1 caused pronounced learning deficits and significant abnormalities in synapse morphology. Together our results reveal novel postmitotic functions of BOD1 as well as pathogenic mechanisms that strongly support a causative role of BOD1 deficiency in the aetiology of intellectual disability. Moreover, by demonstrating its requirement for cognitive function in humans and Drosophila we provide evidence for a conserved role of BOD1 in the development and maintenance of cognitive features.