What is a school governor?
School governors are volunteers who help to run the school. Most schools work with a group of school governors – together they’re called the ‘governing body’. They’re involved in decisions about all aspects of managing the school – such as running buildings and budgets, supporting staff and setting standards of school discipline.
Governors also help to make big decisions about the school’s long-term goals. They support headteachers, but also ask questions and make sure the headteacher is taking the school in the right direction.
Who can be a school governor?
Anyone over 18 can be a school governor – you don’t have to be a parent with a child at the school. However, every governing body includes parent governors, and it can be a rewarding way to be involved in your child’s school.
The most important qualities for being a governor are enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education. You don’t need teaching experience, but it’s useful to bring skills from other areas of your life.
What does the role involve?
At most schools, you’ll need to attend a governors’ meeting each half term. You’ll also be expected to join one or two sub-committees – these cover different areas, like the curriculum, finance or buildings. You’ll need to be able to work well in a team, as you’ll be making joint decisions on policy.
Demands on your time depend partly on what is going on in the school. Being a governor will be a busy if the school is going through a big change like appointing a new headteacher, or joining with another school.
As a governor, you’ll probably need to work eight to ten hours a month.
Under Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, if you are employed, then you are entitled to ‘reasonable time off’ to undertake public duties; this includes school governance.
How do I become a school governor?
You must be over 18 to become a school governor.
When there’s a vacancy for a parent governor all parents will be informed, and you’ll have a chance to stand for election.
If you are generally interested in becoming a governor, you can talk to our current chair of governors, Tim Cornford.
Before you put yourself forward, talk to your employer. Many employers recognise the role of school governor as useful work experience and may offer paid leave for governor duties.