Every school has a governing body of between 7 and 20 members. They are the strategic leaders of schools and have a vital role to play in making sure every child gets the best possible education. The governing body consists of:
Certain schools will also have foundation governors linked with their local church or diocese.
Governors are the largest volunteer force in the country and have an important part to play in raising school standards. They have three core strategic functions:
The decisions made by the governing body help to the shape the future of the children in their schools.
The role of the governing body is a strategic one. The governing body is responsible for the conduct of the school, and must promote high standards of educational achievement. It is the accountable body and as such it:
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 body.
"It's a tough job, but I have received lots of support, and it's worth it"
- Primary School Governor.
Governors do not have to be a particular type of person. You don't have to have particular qualifications, know about education or have children. Though certain skills are required by the governing body.
Volunteers must be over 18 but are then welcome regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or religion. It is, in fact, critical that volunteers represent all age groups and all the diverse communities in the area of the school. Being a governor can also offer you the chance to learn new skills, which may then help you in your careers.
The time needed to be an active school governor can be as little as six to eight hours each school month. This includes preparation time for meetings and visits. The normal term of office for a school governor is four years but governors are volunteers who can leave at any time. They can also be re-appointed or re-elected.
The amount of time will vary depending on how much you are able and willing to give to the role. However you should be prepared to:
The main benefit of being a school governor is the personal satisfaction you will get from being involved in the most important volunteering role in education. You really can make a difference to the future of our children. Other benefits include:
"Governors have a real job to do and it is interesting, challenging and rewarding"
- Governor from the business community.
You will find plenty information about what support is available to governors, including the training programme on our schools information portal.
"I have been a governor for seven years and apart from the diplomacy skills, I have learnt that you really need to make the best use of the skills of the people on the Governing Body. We have a group of diverse individuals all of whom have their own strengths which can be harnessed for the good of the school. I've also learnt that some things take time to change and you can't do everything in one go.
"The role has increased my confidence when dealing with other people and this has had a positive impact on my day job too."
- Jason Coupland, Chair of Governors, Silverhill Primary School.
View the School Governor One Stop Shop - The Volunteers' Perspective Video - You will need the latest version of Flash Player to view the video.
The School Governors' One-Stop Shop (SGOSS) is a small, highly successful charity which recruits volunteers to become governors in schools across England. They have produced a video highlighting the role of governors which features a Derby City governor - Richard Betts, Head of HR, Rolls Royce and Chair of Governors at St. Andrew's Special School.
For more information on SGOSS you can visit their website.
If you are interested in becoming a governor contact the Governor Support Team, complete the online interest form or download the LA Governor Nomination Form (we need a Professional Reference Letter and Form and Personal Reference Letter and Form to support your application).
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