What is a School Governor?
School governors are people who want to make a positive contribution to children’s education.
Governors are one of the largest volunteer forces in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. The role of the governing body is absolutely key to the effectiveness of a school. Time and time again Ofsted (the national inspection body for schools) has noted that the most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management – including by the governing body.
What do Governors do?
The governors’ role is not about fundraising, neither it is about cheerleading for the school – though governors might do both those things. School governors provide strategic leadership and accountability in schools. Governors appoint the head teacher and are involved in the appointment of other staff. In some schools the site is owned by the governing body. It is governors who hold the main responsibility for finance in schools, and it is governors who work with the head teacher to make the tough decisions about balancing resources.
Each individual governor is a member of a governing body, which is established in law as a corporate body. Individual governors may not act independently of the rest of the governing body. Decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing body.
The role of the governing body is a strategic one, its key functions are to:
- set the aims and objectives for the school
- set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
- set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
- monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making towards achievement of its aims and objectives
- be a source of challenge and support to the headteacher (a critical friend)
The headteacher is responsible for the internal organisation, management and control of the school and the implementation of the strategic framework established by the governing body.
Who can become a Governor?
Almost anyone over 18 years of age can become a governor. There are no particular qualifications or requirements, other than a willingness to give time to the role and a capacity for working with other people. There are different types of school with different categories of governor.
The types of state schools in England are:
- Voluntary Controlled
- Voluntary Aided
- Trust – A type of foundation school
- Academies, Free Schools & City Technology Colleges (CTCs) – independent state funded schools
There are also different categories of governor:
- Local Authority
The type of governor you will become depends on your situation; however all governors have the same roles and responsibilities once part of the governing body.
How do I become a Governor?
If you think you have what it takes to be a school governor there are a number of ways of finding schools that have vacancies:
- You can contact your local school to ask if they need a new governor
- You can contact SGOSS – Governors for Schools, which recruits Governors nationally
- You can contact your local council
- You can use the Inspiring the Future website.