Why become a Governor?
Governors make a positive and rewarding contribution to help Governing Bodies be more effective leading to school improvement. It also allows Governors to use their professional skills in a different context and to gain broad level experiences.
Governing Bodies bring together and utilise the skills and experiences of people from various sectors and industries. Professional skills which governing bodies may find valuable include financial management and accountancy; organisational change management; legal; human resources; property and estates management; procurement and contracting services; project management; equal opportunities; safeguarding and care; risk management; health and safety; marketing and public relations; and ICT.
Becoming a Volunteer Governor makes a difference to young people and gives something back to your community.
No prior experience or understanding of education is required to be a governor as induction, training and support will be provided. What is needed is someone with the necessary skills, attitude and time to contribute.
Benefits of being a Governor:
Being a school governor can be a very rewarding role. Here are some benefits that others have found:
- the knowledge that you are helping schools and pupils
- the satisfaction of giving something back to the community
- a sense of purpose and achievement
- new skills which may be transferable elsewhere
- broader horizons
- new friends and workmates
- training and support in order to help you fulfil your duties and responsibilities
The skills you need to become a governor include:
- commitment and interest in our children’s future and improving educational outcomes
- inquisitiveness to read paperwork, analyse and question
- the ability to assimilate information, make judgements and take decisions
- good inter-personal skills and the ability to work as a team
The options available:
There are two avenues available to becoming a Governor:
1. Becoming a Full Term Governor where you will be expected to undertake the full duties as described below;
2. Becoming an Associate Governor whereby you would be appointed to certain committees or projects in the short-term where your skills will be influential in resolving matters. You would not be expected to attend all Governing Body or Committee meetings nor undertake the level of work expected of a full term governor.
Governing Body role and responsibility:
School governors are a team of people who work closely with the Headteacher to make key decisions that directly affect the education and well-being of the children.
The powers and duties of a governing body include:
- Providing a strategic view – setting the framework within which the head and staff run the school; setting aims and objectives, agreeing policies, targets and priorities for achieving these objectives; monitoring and evaluating
- Acting as a critical friend – provide support and challenge to the Headteacher and staff, seeking information and clarification
- Ensuring accountability – explaining the decisions and actions of the governing body to anyone who has a legitimate interest
Governors bring a wide range of skills and expertise from their professional lives to the governing body and schools benefit greatly from working with skilled volunteers. A governor with business know-how can transform the running of a school.
What is expected of a Governor?
Education is all about continually changing things for the better and as governors you play a very important part in bringing about those changes. You don’t need any formal qualifications – schools need volunteers with a wealth of life experiences.
To be a governor, you must:
- be willing and able to prepare for meetings. If you cannot prepare for, and attend, meetings, you will not be able to help the school effectively
- be able to attend and participate in meetings: the governing body must meet at least once a term, but you will probably be asked to serve on more than one committee. How often this meets will vary, but it is not unusual for one committee to meet each half- term
- be available for meetings which will be held during the early evening mainly or during the day
- take an active part in meetings and question the Headteacher appropriately to ensure the strategic running of the School
- monitor and evaluate the schools performance, providing constructive and supportive challenge to the Headteacher and school leadership/management team
For a full Governor, we advise about 20 hours per term (every 4 months), often in the evenings. For an Associate Governor this will be much less as you will only be involved in certain matters.
Governing bodies have the freedom to organise their own structure but you may be involved in:
- prior reading of paperwork and the preparation of questions before meetings
- attendance at whole governing body and/or committee meetings
- visits in to school
- special projects
- staff recruitment
- reviewing policies and the school’s budget
Term of Office:
All governors serve for a term of four years from the time of their election or appointment, but may resign at any time by giving written notice to the Clerk of the governing body. A governor may be re-elected or re-appointed for a further term. However, parent governors should be aware that they can only stand for re-election or re-appointment if they are a parent of a registered pupil at the school. The Local Authority requests particular Governors to be DBS checked in line with their policy.
Time off from Work:
Under employment law, employers must give employees who are school governors "reasonable time off" to carry out their duties. The employee and employer have to agree on what is reasonable time off.
Don’t worry or be overwhelmed; the support and training provided will give you the understanding and confidence to play your part in ensuing that our schools always strive to provide our children with the best education possible.
If you are interested in becoming a governor, please complete the Expression of Interest Form or contact us for a discussion. Any information you can give about your interests, skills and expertise, will be extremely useful. This should not be restricted to paid employment, and should include voluntary work, hobbies and any clubs and societies to which you belong or have belonged.