What do Governors do?

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Every School or Academy has a Governing Board which is made up of Governors, who 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 Board is key to the effectiveness of a school.

The role of a Governor is to contribute to the work of the Governing Board in ensuring high standards of achievement for all children and young people in the school in line with the three core values as identified in the DfE Governance Handbook:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent

Each individual Governor is a member of a Governing Board, which is established in law as a corporate body. Individual Governors may not act independently of the rest of the Governing Board; decisions are the joint responsibility of the governing board.  

The role of the Governing Board 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 Board.

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. 

Before appointment there is a requirement to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and to complete a declaration form.

There are different types of school with different categories of Governor.

The types of state schools in England are:

  • community
  • voluntary controlled
  • voluntary aided
  • foundation
  • trust – a type of foundation school
  • academies, free Schools & City Technology Colleges (CTCs) – independent state-funded schools

There are also different categories of Governor:

  • parent
  • staff
  • foundation
  • partnership
  • local authority
  • co-opted

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 Board.

Time commitments of Governors

Most Governing Boards meet three times a year as a minimum and in addition they may have committees that meet at least once a term. Governor meetings can take place during the working day but, more often, during the evening. You would also be encouraged to take time to visit the school and undertake training opportunities.

Further information from the National Governance Association (NGA)

The National Governance Association (NGA) has recently published ‘Getting the right people around the table’ to support Governing Boards in recruiting and retaining skilled Governors or Trustees.

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:

Governor Support Service

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street

Telephone: 024 7697 2095