Who can become a school governor?
You don't need to have a child at a school to become a governor
All types of people can become school governors. No special qualifications are required, but you must be 18 or over on the date when you are elected or appointed.
Enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education are the most important qualities. You don't need to have a child at the school.
Many schools would particularly welcome new governors who have transferable skills developed at work, or who have a particularly good understanding of the community served by the school.
What do school governors do?
The governing body of a school is responsible for ensuring that it is run to promote pupil achievement. Its duties include:
- setting strategic direction, policies and objectives
- approving the school budget
- reviewing progress against the school's budget and objectives
- appointing, challenging and supporting the headteacher
- The governing body is made up of:
- parent governors (elected by parents)
- staff representatives (elected by school staff)
- local authority governors (appointed by the local authority)
- community governors (members of the local community appointed by the governing body)
- for some schools, people appointed by the relevant religious body or foundation
- up to two sponsor governors, or four if the school is a secondary school (appointed by the governing body)
What would be involved?
Governing bodies make their decisions based on the advice of committees that deal with specific issues like the school's curriculum, premises or finances. If you become a governor, you will probably be asked to serve on a committee where you have an interest or can make a contribution.
The amount of time involved for each governor varies between schools. However, in a typical month in a typical school you can expect to spend at least six to eight hours on your duties.
Being a governor is a serious commitment, but it can be rewarding. Find out more about the benefits of becoming a school governor on the School Governors' One Stop Shop (SGOSS) website.
Training and support
Schools are being encouraged to participate in the National Training Programme for New Governors - view the training materials on the GovernorNet website. GovernorNet also provides information and guidance for governors.
The GovernorLine support service can provide advice on legal and other issues by telephone or email.
Governorline: 0800 0722 181
How employers can help
If you are working you may be entitled to "reasonable" time off work to carry out your duties as a governor. You will qualify if you are technically an "employee" and do not work in one of the exempted occupations.
Your employer does not have to pay you for your time off, but may do.
Your employer could benefit as a result of you becoming a school governor. Details of potential benefits for employers are available on the SGOSS website. SGOSS can also provide support for companies who want to encourage their employees to get involved.
Apply to become a school governor
You can apply to be a governor:
- directly to your school
- through your local authority
- through SGOSS
- Governor Information courtesy of DirectGov.uk
For further information contact
L. Edwards (Light Hall School. Clerk to the Governors) 0121 744 3835
or visit these Governor resource sites
Office for Standards in Education
National Governors' Association