Governing boards are the strategic decision makers and vision setters in every school and academy. They play a vital role in ensuring the best possible education for every child by creating robust accountability for school leaders.
One of the core features of an effective governing board is the importance of having the right people with the necessary skills, time and commitment, and sufficient diversity of perspectives to ensure internal challenge, all actively contributing in line with clearly defined roles and responsibilities under an explicit code of conduct.
Why become a School Governor?
As a school governor, you would have a rewarding role where your contribution could help improve the quality of education within the borough, not to mention the opportunity to improve your skills and experience. Serving your local community and helping the next generation you’ll be joining the largest volunteer group in the country.
Who can become a School Governor?
Anyone aged 18 or over can be a governor and you do not need to be a parent. As stated in the Governor Handbook, however, a sufficient level of literacy in English and Numeracy is necessary to conduct board business. There is plenty of training available to help you learn about education and how to improve as a Governor, including a termly Induction for new Governors.
Duties of a Governor:
The governing board provides strategic leadership and accountability in schools related to:
- overseeing the financial health of the school
- holding the senior leadership to account for educational performance
- clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
Governors set the aims and objectives for the school and set policies and targets for achieving them. Through challenge and support, they then monitor and evaluate progress.
What Will be Expected of Me?
The average time commitment is five to eight hours per month, although it will vary depending on the needs of the school and your designated areas of contribution (eg: at budget setting time, Governors on the Finance Sub-Committee will usually be temporarily busier). This average time commitment includes meetings, background reading and school visits. Governor terms of office are normally for four years, although as a volunteer, you can resign before your term end.
For further information, we recommend you read the Governor Handbook and the Governor Competency Framework as published by the Department for Education (DfE):
Can you answer 'yes' to the following questions? If so, then you may well have what it takes to be a school governor:
- do you believe schools should give children the best possible education?
- do you want to put something back into your local community?
- are you interested in people?
- do you have time to get to know your school, to go to meetings and read papers?
- are you comfortable asking questions?
- are you open to new ideas and ready to learn?
Becoming an LA Governor
If you wish to become a school governor without a specific school in mind, you should complete an LA Governor nomination form and submit this to George.Peradigou@barnet.gov.uk to begin the process of matching you to a school governor vacancy. Once your nomination is approved by the Local Authority, it will be passed to the school’s Governing Board for consideration. You will be asked for information in order that appropriate checks can be carried out to comply with safeguarding requirements. Please be prepared to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) check as well as provide information necessary to complete an annual declaration of interests to declare any conflicts of interest you may have including conflicts of loyalty and financial interests – please note that this information must be published by the school on its website.
Becoming a Co-opted Governor
If you wish to be considered as a potential governor at a specific school in your area, contact the Chair of the governing board or the Headteacher at the school to let them know of your interest. We recommend completing and submitting a Co-opted Governor nomination form in advance. Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing board to represent a wider community perspective. You will be asked for information in order that appropriate checks can be carried out to comply with safeguarding requirements. Please be prepared to undergo an enhanced Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) check as well as provide information necessary to complete an annual declaration of interests to declare any conflicts of interest you may have including conflicts of loyalty and financial interests – please note that this information must be published by the school on its website.
Are you from a BAME community and interested in raising the standards in schools? Attend our free taster session
It is important that the membership of School Governing Boards reflect the school’s community. We are calling on volunteers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, where there is a current shortfall, to join a free training session to give them a taste of what it would be like to be a School Governor. To register, visit www.barnetce.org.uk/ and click on ‘all traded and other training’ and then ‘governor services’, and find the ‘Induction for Newish Governors – Part 1’ to complete the online registration form. When registering, please enter ‘Prospective Governor’ in the fields you are unable to complete. Ensure you provide an active email address so you receive the virtual training link to the course (usually a day or so before the course date). Please only register for Part 1. Part 2 is reserved for those who have already been appointed as Governors and would not be relevant to you yet. If you have any trouble with registration, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for existing governors
As an existing governor, there is a range of support available to you provided by Governor Services and other agencies.