Every school has a governing body made up of school governors, which could consist of between 7 and 20 people depending on the size and type of the school.
School governors play a vital part in the success of schools. They are volunteers, who work with senior leaders to push forward the strategic development of the school and raise standards of achievement. Governors bring a huge range of skills and expertise from their professional lives to the governing board and schools benefit greatly from working with skilled volunteers.
Role of the governing body
All Governing boards have three core functions, whether in maintained school or academies, and no matter how many schools they are responsible:
- 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 effective and efficient performance management of staff, and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
Types of governor
Each school's governing body includes:
- Parent governors who have a child at the school and are elected by other parents
- Staff governors who are members of the non-teaching/support staff at the school and are elected by their colleagues
- Local education authority governors
- Co-opted governors who are appointed by other governors as representatives of the wider local community, as business representatives, or because of particular skills that they can bring to the governing body
- Foundation governors who are appointed by the Church or Trust which supports the school
Heads can choose whether or not to be a governor at their school.
What is involved
Being a school governor is a commitment to attending governing body meetings which consider issues such as setting the school vision, mitigating financial risk and scrutinising educational outcomes. Governors are also involved in the school community, acting as critical friends to the headteacher and senior leaders. Being a governor is a valuable way of serving the local community and gives an opportunity for people to influence the future of education in their area.
Governing bodies have to meet at least once each term, but much of the work of governing bodies is delegated to committees. All governors are expected to participate in the work of at least one or two committees. Most termly meetings are held during the evening, but committees may meet either in the evening or daytime.
It is important to get to know the school by visiting it and supporting events. It is equally important to support training sessions, which may be arranged for either individual governors or whole governing bodies.
Most governors serve for four years, and many continue for a second or even third term by being re-appointed or re-elected.
Our School Governor website provides information for new governors, as well as reports, briefings and advice on good practice and procedures.